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BEYOND BODY

Plant Care 101

By: Clarisse VirginoPlant Care 101

“Houseplants”—you might notice this has been trending lately. Some people, even if they do not have a backyard or front yard, opt for plants inside their homes. This idea might worry some because we all know that plants need sunlight and air; how are they supposed to survive under a roof?

Having plants at home makes one’s place look more natural and breathable, but maintaining them can also be quite tedious. Still, there are some plants that can survive even indoors. The most usual of all is the Bromeliad. Most Filipino homes have this since Bromeliad is abundant in the country. Despite being a tropical plant, it does not require too much water; but keeping it moist is still key to its survival.

Succulents, having also boomed recently, is usually opted for by people who live in condominiums. Some offices also maintain succulents on their balcony or their work desks. Echeveria, a type of succulent, does not require too much sun; a light shade will do, which makes it perfect to stare at when you are at work. You know what they say: when you are feeling tired, staring at greeneries refreshes your eyes and also your mind.

Mother-in-law’s tongue aka Snake Plant, with the scientific name sansevieria trifasciata, is also another tropical plant which can be seen in most Filipino homes. It does not require much water and prefers to be dry. Not only that, but mother-in-law’s tongue is also a starter houseplant. It is a safe option as a home décor; one cannot go wrong with a mother-in-law, figuratively and literally!

Some people who like to cook can also maintain herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Instead of buying the dried ones in the supermarket, freshly-plucked herbs tend to give a juicier taste which makes it perfect for those home-cooked meals. If you are fond of using herbs in cooking, it is actually more practical to maintain them at home. You also get to save more money in the long run.

The list of houseplants one can choose from is long. The tricky part is how to take care of these plants. As we all know, each plant is different and would require different ways to take care of them. Before even thinking of taking care of one, you have to determine first your plant compatibility. A busy bee won’t be able to give ample time to his or her plant—hence, would be better off with a succulent.

After knowing your plant compatibility, it’s important to choose a plant based on the light that goes in your space—whether it’s your home or your office, one must consider if the plant will actually survive. After all, getting a plant is not only for décor or easy access to herbs but also teaches responsibility. Think of it as something like getting a pet – you’ll have something to take care of or something to look forward to. Seeing for yourself if your green thumb is working could actually be exhilarating in the long run.

Speaking of something to look forward to, plants not only make the place look friendly but it actually makes a healthier you. Also known as horticulture therapy, plants do have some contribution to one’s sense of well-being. The color green is a relaxed color which can instantly improve one’s mood. Research suggests that people who are more exposed to plants, flowers, and nature, in general, feel happier and optimistic.

Along with that, plants are also known to relieve stress and anxiety. A bacterium in soil called mycobacterium vaccae can easily trigger a release of serotonin, also known as the happy hormone, which helps in reducing anxiety.

Aside from these, taking responsibility for a plant can boost one’s self-esteem. When one starts to take care of something and watch it grow, it makes one feel proud of him or herself—in a good way. This then leads to a sense of self-worth, knowing that you had contributed to the growth of something beautiful… That is, not just the plant, but you, yourself.

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