The desire to live in a beautiful, well designed, and functional home is becoming commonplace in our society; and many would argue that it is a necessity if we are to succeed at living a harmonious and balanced life. As our interest in the harmonious environment increases, so too does our interest in the healthy environment; true health is not only about the body’s physical state of being but our emotional, mental and spiritual state of being as well.
There is one design trend that tells me we are taking the overall health of our environment more seriously; and that trend is the resurgence of the indoor plant. Plants improve our health and state of mind. Their physical presence removes toxins and improves the air we breathe. The colour of most plants is green. Colour guru Leatrice Eiseman informs us that “green [ ] is simply good for you, enhancing your life, making you more vital and alleviating stress. Physiologically, green affects the nervous system, causing us to breathe slowly and deeply, helping the heart to relax by slowing the production of stress hormones.” Even the visual inclusion of plants in our environment, such as an art print or painting can have a calming and restorative effect on our psyche.
Having healthy living plants in your home requires thoughtful placement and a commitment to maintenance. There are numerous things to attend to for successful plant care. If you have a lot of plants in your home and little time to care for them you might consider hiring a plant expert. They will visit your home once a week or once every two weeks, depending on what you can manage on your own.
- Light Conditions – the right light conditions are important. If there is a spot where you would like to showcase some living greenery, figure out the type of light available to that space. Even calculate how many hours of direct sunlight it gets, if that is applicable.
- Temperature – most house plants are tropical so the temperature range is important. Plants that we have in our homes in Canada are on the front lawns of homes in Orlando Florida. If you go away for a week in the winter be careful how far you turn down the heat. You may come home to a house full of dead plants.
- Water – the right amount of water is important. You can drown a plant with too much water as much as you can kill it with too little. I typically will measure the frequency and amount of water I give my plants and keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil (as per plant requirements).
- Food – fertilizing your plants is important if you want them to thrive and maintain healthy growth. There is a lot of information on the internet regarding the type and the amount of food your plant requires. If you position a plant in a spot where there is little room for growth you may wish to cut down on the amount of fertilizer. Instead commit to replacing the plant periodically.
- Potting – plants outgrow their pots, and when they do their roots become pot bound—a term to describe tightly woven strangled roots. Most indoor plants should be repotted every 1-2 years in a new pot that is about 1-2 inches bigger in diameter than the old pot.
- Love – the most important maintenance requirement for indoor plants is regular care and interest. We tend to forget that plants are living breathing organisms. They do in fact thrive on love. Removing dead leaves periodically, cleaning the dust off the leaves (a soft warm wet rag will do), misting them once or twice a week with a fine mist spray bottle, and refreshing the top layer of soil periodically for added nutrients; these are extra maintenance suggestions that will ensure your plants thrive and live a long and healthy life.
Having the foresight to design indoor plants into our homes—considering them for their texture, colour, general shape and pot—will become more and more commonplace as we regain our appreciation of “the green”. At Design for Conscious Living® when we work on a project and plants are being incorporated into the space, the plants are designed into the room right from the beginning of the design process.