Office plants and houseplants may be having a fashion moment, but once you let them into your lives, the relationship can last a lifetime.
Over the past few years now plants have been regularly popping up in lifestyle and fashion images and articles.
Instagram continues to be bursting with beautifully-shot planting, interiors magazines and blogs can barely seem to do a shoot without some well-positioned greenery in a handmade pot.
Meanwhile in the commercial world, there are reams of business articles charting the evolution of the office plant into ever more interesting territories, excitedly exploring, for example, Amazon’s horticultural wonderland in its new HQ, or Microsoft’s treehouse workspaces as new frontiers of the modern workplace.
Moreover, any new office or commercial building worth its salt should have an interior landscaping consultant on board from the moment the blueprints are drawn, advising on where, not if, a living wall should appear in the entrance and where other essential office plants should be placed for optimum effect.
Now, the visual impact of office plants and indoor houseplants cannot be denied. These days, there are plant schemes and containers to suit all tastes and spaces, and the presence of even a tiny bit of greenery brings instant life to a room.
Lifestyle and fashion stylists have been quick to realise how planting can evoke a certain feel to a place even creating a vintage feel, with the mid-century terrariums, seventies spider plants and nineties terracotta pots instantly evoking those eras and bringing with them a fresh appreciation for the style they heralded.
For a more contemporary feel, Scandinavian style has brought with it simple chic, hand-hewn ceramic and concrete containers, while industrial containers integrate metal frames and oxidised steel planters, to cite just two examples.
Above all this, though, is simply that the presence of a thriving plant can instantly transform a home or workplace. At Urban Planters, we have created an app which uses a photo of your plant-devoid room and adds images of planting around the picture to show you what a difference they will make to your space. Even in app form, it is clear how even just one house or office plant can totally change the look and feel of a space for the better.
However, there is much more to the sheer good looks of house and office plants, and this is why our renewed love of indoor plants should be here to stay.
The Telegraph is one of the many media outlets to recently publish a piece on the growing fashion for plants among millennials.
In it they accept that plants are definitely having a fashion moment but it also looks beyond the notion that people are simply using plants to enhance their Instagram flatlays and considers that it might actual be, for many new plant lovers, the start of a lasting habit of nurturing nature.
Once we start looking after plants, we begin to learn more about them: what makes them thrive, how they like to be cared for. Then, when the nurturing starts to pay off with a growing or blossoming plant, we feel rewarded, and so the relationship begins.
It’s not really a great revelation to say that having plants about the place is good for us, but it is something we often forget until they come back into our lives. As well as the obvious rewards of discovering that you can care for a plant and watch it grow thanks to you, there are also unseen ways that plants can make us feel good.
Simply being able to see nature around the home or from our desk, especially if we are city-dwellers, can give us a huge energy boost.
For starters, it has been proven over and over again that live indoor office plants can considerably increase our productivity, fact-retention and creativity. Studies held in schools, universities and workplaces pay testament to this.
Marry with this the fact that plants can reduce stress levels and you can already see how someone who bought a plant simply for its on-trend appeal might soon see it as a permanent and essential part of the furniture.
What’s more, plants can clean our air of some of the many toxins which blight our indoor atmosphere.
Chemicals in paints and furniture, CO2 levels from sealed modern offices and emissions from technology can affect our indoor air quality considerably, but plants are brilliant ‘scrubbers’, removing toxins from our air and giving back much healthier oxygen.
If plants are literally breathing fresh air into our stale home and office atmosphere, then why would we ever want to be without them?
In fact, research shows that live indoor office plants:
- Improve air quality and humidity levels
- Reduce stress
- Make people calmer and happier
- Reduce workplace negativity
- Reduce symptoms of discomfort and minor ailments
- Reduce absenteeism
- Speed up recovery from illness
- Improve concentration, productivity and creativity
- Save energy
- Absorb noise
As we spend more time indoors and away from nature, we need even more desperately to find a way to reconnect with our natural roots. This instinctive need for nature has been termed ‘biophilia’, and biophilic design is fast becoming an essential part of building design.
As the Telegraph points out, while buying a plant may for some have been a style choice, it can be the start of an interest in growing and gardening which lasts a lifetime.
As soon as that first house or office plant needs a bit of care, we start to take an interest in how to nurture them, and there starts a very rewarding relationship.
If looking at a plant can make us feel better, then looking after plants can have an even more profound effect on our wellbeing and, if we are alert to this, we may start on a lifelong, mutually-beneficial relationship with horticulture that far outlives the whims of fashion.
We have a wealth of information on how plants are good for you. Find out more here.