By: Ranann Blatter, MS, HTR

Winter in the PNW can be viewed as a wonderland for some, but for others it means limited time outdoors, holiday stress, and seasonal depression. For gardeners it’s a pause until the ground warms enough to begin planting again. Plant enthusiasts who live in apartments or condos without an outdoor space know the importance of their indoor jungle. With the additional challenges this year has bestowed, we all may find ourselves focusing on our indoor space, evaluating how it serves our mental health, and seeing how we can add life to it. 

Besides the fact that indoor plants remove harmful toxins from our homes, they also serve a myriad of other mental and physical benefits. Having houseplants has been shown to improve mood, lower stress and anxiety, reduce fatigue, and boost healing.  Taking care of a plant also provides responsibility and increases self-confidence. Plants show us the cycles of life, hope for the future, resilience, and teach us lessons about our own self-care (don’t forget to drink water and get an adequate amount of sunlight).

Spending more time at home, whether quarantining or hibernating, provides an opportunity to get to know our indoor gardens better. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t had the best luck with plants in the past. With so many types of houseplants, all with varying light and water requirements, there is bound to be a compatible plant for your situation. Ask a houseplant expert for guidance. They just might have tried, failed, and tried again enough times to figure out what conditions work well for your houseplant.

Now is the time to surround ourselves with plants. Need something to take care of? Try a fern. Looking for something more low maintenance? Get a ZZ plant. Want to improve your mental health this winter? Bring any houseplant home. 

Ranann is a registered Horticultural Therapist and graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

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