Well Being

Dear Fellow Twentysomethings: You Need to Start Growing Houseplants

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Twentysomethings, I have a PSA for you: gardening is not just for retired adults and your teacher from middle school. It's a cathartic, life-enhancing activity that ya'll need to start doing ASAP. But here's the twentysomething dilemma when it comes to embracing gardening: nowhere to do it! We get it, you live in a tiny apartment with no lawn space and even less room to live. But guess what? You can grow all kinds of things from your apartment windowsill or a well-lit corner! And it has immeasurable benefits.

Growing things — from flowers to veggies — will make your life so much better. There are health benefits, well-being benefits, and even budgeting benefits to be had from growing your own houseplants! And we get it, another thing to take care of when we can barely take care of ourselves? Well, planting can be a form of self-care so here you are killing two birds with one stone. Way to go, you! But besides filling time and giving you something to do during Riverdale commercials, growing your own plants can do all kinds of amazing things for your life.

A sense of pride

First and foremost, growing things is incredibly satisfying. When you see your first seedling or blooming flower you'll be full of pride. Which is huge for someone in their twenties. We're all overworked, underappreciated, and constantly tired. So why not take some time and effort and put it into something we can see tangible results from? Because don't get me wrong — it is work to grow something from nothing — but it's also quite fulfilling.

Plus, it's a great adult test. Keeping plants alive is surprisingly easy if you give it a little TLC and put in the work. Putting that much work into something to watch it grow and thrive is a great test of responsibility. And parenthood! Because if you can keep a plant alive, you can keep a kid alive, right? Not that you're going to be doing that any time soon, but it's good to know. And besides the mentally satisfying elements of having successful houseplants, they also have numerous health benefits!

Cleaner air in your living space

Growing plants in your home, or just being around houseplants, may result in cleaner air overall. We'll try to glaze over the super science-y aspects of this, but basically photosynthesis naturally removes carbon dioxide from the air and returns oxygen. That might be something you learned in your 3rd-grade science class, but other than the natural things you expect a plant to do, they do a few things you may not see coming. A NASA study (yeah, that NASA), called the NASA Clean Air Study, concluded that plants basically pull toxins from the air to purify it for us. The study says,

Plants emit water vapor that creates a pumping action to pull contaminated air down around a plant’s roots, where it is then converted into food for the plant

The study was done to see how enclosed spaces, like that on a space shuttle (or your musty apartment), could be purified so that long-term space travel spaces were not invaded with volatile organic compounds. What the study really did, though, was set in motion the discovery of the benefits of plants to the air — on a space shuttle or off.

So what are the plants protecting us from? Well, a study from Environmental Health Perspective expands upon the NASA study and confirms the biggies studied were formaldehyde and mercury vapor. And here's a tip: the bigger the leaf, the more air purifying your plant can do. Which is probably why heavy hitters in the air-purifying game are ferns and palms.

Physiological benefits and possible stress reduction

Yeah, you read that right, houseplants can reduce stress. BRB, going to Home Depot. No, but serious, a study conducted for the Journal of Physiological Anthropology showed that interaction with houseplants, as opposed to computers, could be just the thing our bodies need.

The study was conducted with a group of 24 men who did two things. First, they transplanted a common houseplant to a new container in a greenhouse. Next, they were tasked with working on a word document on a computer. The studied had electrodes attached to their chest to measure things like heart rate and blood pressure before, after, and during the tasks.

The results were crazy! Well, okay, not so crazy if you're reading this article: plant work is way less stressful than working with computers. Subjects felt “comfortable, soothed, and natural” after the plant work. In comparison, they felt “uncomfortable, awakened, and artificial” with the computer work. Seeing as how many twentysomethings jobs are incredibly computer-based, it's no wonder we're stressed out all the time. A little therapy with houseplants may be just what we need to unwind and relax a little at the end of a long, hard day!

Money saving strategy!

Houseplants don't have to be flowers or a ficus — they can be fruits and veggies as well! You may think you don't have the space to grow an edible garden in your tiny apartment, but there are plenty of fruits and veggies that thrive indoors. And the best part is that growing them can actually save you money!

There are some rules to have in place for this, though, to maximize your yield while minimizing your spending. A study by a horticulturist at Iowa State University suggests some crucial things for your indoor garden: grow things you like, grow things if possible that are usually expensive to buy, and grow things you can preserve for a long period of time if you grow a lot.

All super easy tips to follow! And starting a garden, in general, is relatively easy. You can even buy affordable seed-starting kits online (Amazon, FTW) to get your little garden growing before you get into the nitty-gritty of gardening. All and all, indoor gardening is fairly cheap. All you need is a few pots, seeds, potting mix, water, and a well-lit window. And voila, you have all the tomatoes you could ever want! The only hard part? Deciding what veggies, fruits, or fresh herbs you want to grow.

Decorative benefits!

This one is a little superficial, but if you're like us, you Pinterest beautiful bookcases adorned with hanging greenery constantly. Plants add some finesse and color to your home along with all the other benefits. A tree in the corner, an ornate pot full of basil, or a big hanging pot of gorgeous flowers can all go a lot way. This is especially nice if you live in a city or an apartment with little yard space. A little touch of natural elements can make a space seem bigger and more layered that one without. Sometimes you need to bring the outdoors indoors and appreciate nature!

Houseplants aren't just your grandma's hobby anymore. Actually, they're a twentysomethings dream! Breathe better, stress less, save money, and feel like a badass successful gardener as you embrace your inner horticulturist!

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