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Green is the New Black

September 13, 2018

Written By: Kate Dolan

Let’s talk about plants, baby.

If you have been anywhere on social media lately, whether that be on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, you have probably seen the current trend that everyone seems to be gravitating towards – indoor plant care. Regardless of if the reasoning behind the trend is solely for appearances or if it is truly a genuine love for all things foliage, no one can deny the draw to become the proud owner of a small cactus or aloe plant. I recently purchased eight plants at once on a whim, and I am quickly learning it is not all fun and games when it comes to plant care and maintenance.

Though owning and keeping something alive can be hard if you have never had much experience prior, the benefits are numerous and widespread. Dr. Jonathan S. Kaplan with Psychology Today states, “Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster could produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration.”* If you are anything like me, increased concentration and reduced stress do not seem like bad ideas in the midst of the hectic and demanding life of the average American college student. If you are not completely ready for the responsibility of a plant life resting on your shoulders, even pictures of plants in your living areas will suffice to change your outlook on school and life in general. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of plants.

There are numerous additional benefits to having plants in your general vicinity, according to Dr. Kaplan, that include but are not limited to:

  • Increased attentiveness
  • Improved attendance
  • Raised productivity (by up to 15% according to Sophie Lee with NBC News*)
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • More restful sleep
  • Lower levels of anxiety 
  • Raised job satisfaction

I don’t know about you, but after looking at these benefits I’m left wondering why this indoor plant trend is just now becoming popular among young people. In a society where dissatisfaction, anxiety and lack of motivation run rampant, giving plants a try doesn’t seem all that crazy. And when it comes to sleeping, plants also play a positive role. More specifically, succulents, orchids, and snake plants emit oxygen while you sleep, leading to more restful and better sleep in general (according to Sophie Lee).

As an active college student, you may be thinking, “Kate, I can barely remember the assignments I have due every day, let alone keep track of watering and caring for something!” Well, I am here to tell you not to worry and that you are in luck. There is a vast amount of beautiful plants that take little to no maintenance yet still yield all the benefits. Being a generally forgetful person myself, my plants mostly consist of mini cacti and succulents, which I leave on my windowsill and forget about most of the time.

I do have a few plants that require a bit more TLC, and learning that has been a fun but also a humbling experience. If you want to spice up a room visually, Ferns, The String of Pearls, The Golden Pathos, and the Split-leaf Philodendron are among the best plants that are worth a bit more of your efforts.

I don’t pretend to be under the impression that plants are miracle workers that will help you win the lottery or get a date with that guy or gal you’ve been crushing on since freshman year, but they have proven to better the time spent indoors exponentially. Not to mention, plants also teach the responsibility that can only be learned from having to keep something alive, or in my case, from keeping eight things alive.

We all know the benefits of time in nature, but for those days when the only option is to stay inside and hit the books, why not try your hand at plant care and bring the great outdoors inside?