Looking around my open office space, there is a noticeable green glow from the encroaching living decor that is fed by several co-enthusiasts.
Having plants in the workspace just does something to the overall feel of the room. The way the light filters in through the windows seems softer, more inviting; that pop of lush color is soothing, in a way. Windowsills are the prime real estate for this particular group of basking flora, and we have all varieties and sizes—though succulents reign supreme, due to their low-maintenance care. More and more homes and public spaces seem to be encouraging the concept of bringing the outdoors inside, for everything from aesthetic reasons to improved productivity.
When it comes to decorating an office space with live plants, employers might find some of the attributes beneficial to the company—including cleaner air and the potential for increased productivity and job satisfaction. Some studies even suggest that the right kind of plant collection can help to encourage healthier employees by reducing toxins and certain germs within closed-off spaces.
Beyond the workplace, our fascination with houseplants continues; for example, more and more individuals, specifically Millennials, are becoming “plant parents.” The term suggests that caring for something living, regardless of the species, does something for the individual on an emotional level—there is a degree of responsibility and accomplishment in growing something.
Then there are social media trends, which are now often born out of interest in hard-to-find plants. One of the most recent examples is the Chinese Money Plant, or Pilea peperomioides. The demand for these unique and exotic plants makes shopping for plants a rewarding experience when you can find them. Besides scarcity, however, the other consequence of popularity has been to drive the prices up. Now, even if you can find what you’re looking for, if it’s the new “it” plant you may not be able to afford it. The enthusiasm for searching out and caring for hard-to-find plant varieties is still growing—so much so, that there’s even a poaching problem in places where in-demand species grow in the wild.
There is science behind our need to feel connected to the outdoors, with some suggesting even having plants near us can influence our physical and mental wellbeing. This idea is explored through activities such as shinrin yoku, the Japanese term for “forest bathing.” The concept of forest bathing comes from behavioral studies linking time spent outdoors and around trees to a decreased risk in a wide range of common health concerns. This practice includes other recreational activities such as camping, hiking, rock climbing, and simply walking through a city park.
The concept of using a “natural aesthetic” is being adopted by the hospitality industry as hotels are beginning to incorporate more living plants into guest rooms and public areas to create a more soothing and relaxing atmosphere. New York City is home to 1 Hotel’s Central Park location, which is using live plants as decoration to create a green and luxurious setting for guests.
Retail companies are also picking up the theme of plants by adding living elements to new wellness lines. IKEA’s HJÄRTELIG collection includes earthy tones, textiles, and planters to inspire a calming, natural home environment.
Clothing and home design brand Anthropologie launched an in-store boutique for wellness, providing self-care themed products such as aromatherapy, eco-friendly body care, and crystals. The brand uses live plants as a suggested add-on to the well-rounded line by featuring a variety in each store.
There is a new contender for the next wave of personal gardening for those with extra space: tiny greenhouses. These enclosed spaces allow people to grow species that may not be climate-friendly to where they live, like orchids and palms, in a lush temperature-controlled atmosphere. While the structures themselves are nothing new, individual plant enthusiasts like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Man are sharing their experiences online and providing information for innovation and self-reliance among amateur gardeners.
Whether you decide to decorate your office or living space with all kinds of houseplants, stroll through the nearest park, or simply visit a greenhouse for an eyeful of colors, shapes, and textures, you might be surprised at the effect just being around plants could have on you. With a little research and curiosity, you, too, might become fascinated with plants.
We will be watching as this trend “grows,” and want to share some advice from personal experience: Make sure to wear thick gloves when caring for that new cactus you just had to have. Your hands will thank you!