Business & Investment

The plant parent community grows in captivity

In May 2020, Fernanda Meyer set foot in the nursery to buy some plants that were difficult to kill. A Dallas social worker wanted to start a pandemic with just one lonely plant and buy new friends.

She left the nursery that day with succulents and snakes. Two weeks later she went back and bought more. She then returned again and again until her botanical collection swelled to nearly 80 plants.

“My apartment is now in the jungle,” she says.

Meyer and many others prosper to proud plant parents during a pandemic, take care of them when human contact is restricted, and employ plant babies to spend time with them. did. Nursery and gardening centers are growing sales of foliage plants, as those that are primarily home-only are trying to add greenery in the immediate vicinity.

Pandemics usually started at the beginning of the busy season of gardening centers, and many have successfully created online stores. At that time, there were no customers to bring in, but many people continued to buy plants. The houseplant industry has been booming in recent years, but gardening center owners say things really started during the pandemic.

“”When people started working from home, their desire to green their spaces became important to them, “says Gina Perino, manager of the Chelsea Garden Center in Brooklyn, New York. “I hear from many customers that instead of traveling, they stayed cheerful and money was spent to make their homes a more oasis.”

Past studies have shown that gardening, plants, and generally closeness to nature are beneficial to mental health. And the foliage plants were especially good for those who were trapped in their homes during the pandemic. Recent research I will propose. This international study found that ownership of foliage plants during a pandemic correlates with positive emotional well-being for foliage plant parents. Researchers sent a questionnaire about plants and received responses from more than 4,200 people worldwide. Approximately 74% of respondents agreed that the presence of some vegetation in the house contributed to their mental state in a positive way during the pandemic. One of the authors of the study, Luis Perez Urestaraz, says the big problem for many people living in cities during a pandemic is that they were more difficult to connect with nature. He points out not only the psychological consequences of owning a plant, but also the more quantifiable benefits, such as the fact that it can improve the air quality of the room.

Pérez-Urrestarazu says that there aren’t too many plants, but the opposite is true. But in his opinion there is a warning that he owns many plants. “I am one of them [people] There is a jungle in my house. Perez Urestaraz, a professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Seville, said:

For Meyer, who worked as a contact tracer during the pandemic, witnessing the growth of foliage plants not only makes her happy, but also gives her something productive and positive to focus on. Even on days when you don’t want to get out of bed, you need to water the plants. She says they provided everyday life, purpose, and structure after being lethargic and lost in the early weeks of the pandemic. Meyer says he feels about his plants as well as the dog that died in early March. She takes care of them, and in a sense they take care of her.

“They all have their own little quirks, grow at different speeds, and all offer something different,” she says. “But each captivates me from this ridiculous situation in which we live. So I thank them.”

Meyer lost power in her home earlier this month when she lived in Dallas, but only five of her houseplants died in the cold. On the second day of the power outage, she used a garbage bag and mailing tape to create a temporary greenhouse in her bedroom. She covered all windows with blankets and sheets and sacked tall plants to bring them closer to the inside of a warm place.

Fernanda Meyer collected about 80 plants during the pandemic.Photo by Fernanda Meyer

It is common for plant parents to talk to their green babies and give them names. Pérez-Urrestarazu says more people, like pets and other humans, have begun to interact with their plants. For Meyer, reading aloud to her plants in the morning became a bit ritual, and she properly put a couple of her ZZ plants with ZZ Top (in honor of the legendary rock band) and ZZ Bottom. I named it.

Every time Jay Williams brings a new plant home, she holds a naming ceremony. She sits on a yoga mat surrounded by her plants and introduces her new potted friends to her old friends. To determine the name, Williams examines new plant species and regions. Then she goes online and finds the name of the area. “Then pick a few names and call on the group, choose it as the name, whatever they respond to, and everyone will be happy and applaud,” said Williams, a Mississippi Delta-based photographer. Is called. “We also choose the gender they want to be. I know it sounds so strange, but women, men [or] No gender. “

Williams purchased the first pandemic houseplant in July 2020 and eventually collected dozens more as it prospered. She is now over 35 and begins to devote herself to plant care every Sunday.

Chicago-based actor Sarah Costello says she often talks to her plants. She’s been a botanical mom since 2017, but during the pandemic her collection was “a little out of control,” she says. She currently owns about 35 plants and she talks to them while circling around to check them out. She talks gently to small plants, most often “motivational stories.”

Before and after the vacation, Costello says he was jealous of all the beautiful Christmas cards he received from couples, dogs and people with families. So one day she decided to make her own Christmas card. “I thought I had a collection of beautiful plants. I would jump on this counter and bring this Christmas card,” she says. “I’m very proud of what it was like. They are very photogenic.”

This year’s Sarah Costello’s Christmas card was green.Photo courtesy of Sara Costello

Plant parents can enjoy great joy when they take care of the plant and see it grow and grow. But it also gave them new ways to connect with people in their lives, not just strangers. Meyer says his parents were unaware that he was such a plant lover until he began sending pictures of his houseplants during the pandemic. But not the whole family is impressed with her botanical collection. She says her sister tried several plant interventions and persuaded her to stop buying plants, but all were unsuccessful.

The parent-child relationship of plants also gave people a sense of community with strangers online. Parents of many new plants connect through social media, where they share tips, questions, and photos of their plants. According to Meyer, this experience introduced her to non-traditional plant parents who would not even have considered owning a plant before the pandemic, as well as 80 plant parents.

“It’s like finding a whole new world of plants,” says Meyer. “It’s great to be a parent of plants, but there are various ways that have allowed me to expose me to others and to develop a sense of community, completely away from everyone in the world. “

The plant parent community grows in captivity The plant parent community grows in captivity

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