Pandemic Plants Are A Thing

by Elaine Roth
Originally Published: 
Pandemic Plants Are A Thing
Scary Mommy and aldomurillo/Getty

Here’s my confession: I’m a terrible plant mom. The phrase “green thumb” will never be used in a sentence with my name. I forget to water my houseplants for weeks at a time. I’ve gotten splinters that need to be removed by doctors from pulling off the dry, dead leaves of neglected houseplants. I’ve let more orchids die than I’d like to admit—although, in my defense, I did really try to keep those flowers alive.

But during these long days of quarantine, when my world has shrunk to the size of my house, two kids, and dog, my houseplants are getting a sudden burst of attention. In the last two months, I’ve moved my houseplants around to find sunnier spots by the window, trimmed the brown ends, and watered them, almost religiously.

Caring for my houseplants, which, yes, arguably should have been on my to-do list before, has suddenly simply become part of my day. Not because I have nothing to do while staying home. Home school, work from home, and attempting to keep the pile of laundry in the hamper at only a moderate height take up almost all my non-sleeping hours. But because, maybe in this great slow down we’re in, there’s something calming about turning to something so simple.

And the houseplants in my home are not the only ones getting their turn in the spotlight. People across the country are turning to houseplants for a variety of reasons, whether it’s easy companionship, the meditative nature of caring for something that won’t talk back, or the joy of watching something grow and flourish in a way in that is visible and feels definable.

There are physical benefits to the houseplant trend. Studies have shown that plants can eliminate toxins from the air, improve concentration and productivity, reduce stress, and boost your mood.

With few cons, and a whole lot of pros, it might be worth jumping onto the pandemic plant trend with these easy to care for houseplants.

Low Maintenance Plants

Spider Plant

I can personally attest to this plant’s heartiness because it’s the only plant I’ve maintained for ten years—and it’s gone through weeks (months?) of neglect, at times. This plant creates “babies” which can be re-potted. My long-lived spider plant is an offshoot of my mother-in-law’s spider plant, which is an offshoot of spider plant she started caring for when she first got married.

Christmas Cactus

It’s in the cactus family, and as a result doesn’t need much. Which is a good thing, because I frequently forget about this plant. Until around Christmas time, when the world outside my window is gray and brown and dreary, and the Christmas Cactus blooms bright with pink flowers.

Ponytail Palm

It sits in my dining room and just grows and grows, with very little water or attention from me. It adds a brilliant touch of green to the room without demanding much from me. Done and done.

Rubber Plant

To be perfectly honest, I did accidentally kill this plant. But it took the better part of eight years to take down this super resilient plant with bright green leaves that deserved better than the fate it was dealt by me.

If you’re looking for more options, Good Housekeeping compiled this list of 30 houseplants that are almost impossible to kill.

Where To Get Started

Though many storefronts are still shuttered and running out of the house for essentials is stressful enough without adding “perusing the aisles for houseplants” to the list, it’s 2020 and plant stores have taken their businesses online. Rooted, The Sill, The Plantshed, Bloomscape, are just a few of the businesses that are helping pair houseplants with loving homes.

Etsy is another great place to turn to both join the pandemic plant trend and support local businesses. Shops like Plantybish, PlantBoutique, PlantCraftingCo, Plantsandthings are selling and shipping plants nationwide.

Not that we necessarily need another chore to add to our to-do list during the pandemic, but whether you’re a veteran plant parent or a wannabe green thumb jumping onto the plant trend, pandemic plants might be the thing you need right now — to brighten up your space and remind you that sometimes, all you need to flourish is a little light.

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