Why are we so obsessed with houseplants these days? Filling every square inch of free surface area (near bright, indirect lighting, of course), crowding them ever closer so we can fit just one more?

Us houseplant owners can tell you exactly why we need “just one more”, even though it may remain a mystery to our loved ones.

Summer Rayne Oakes, a popular “plant-influencer” and author, told the New Yorker, “It’s this wonderful hobby that we have somewhat of control over, especially because we don’t have back yards or places to call our own, really.”

But there’s so much more to the benefits of being a houseplant owner - or caretaker - beyond a feeling of control over your environment. Plant owners insist there is something curative about it as well.

“The main reason why I really enjoy plants is because they encourage me to slow down,” Jennifer Coates, an avid houseplant collector in Los Angeles tells Huffington Post. “Now I can do something else that’s not work or staring at a screen, and appreciate the little details,” she said. “It’s a running joke in the plant community that plants are a cheaper form of therapy.”

If houseplants are therapy, you could call this a group session!

“Keeping plants around the home or office allows people to bring nature to their immediate surroundings when it can be hard to find time to get away from the day-to-day hustle and escape to the outdoors,” said plant enthusiast and Seattle therapist, Lily Ewing.

This phenomenon is so prevalent that science is backing this up with some recent studies.

Anita Reetz, a Washington State University/Skagit County Master Gardener says scientists have found that bright green foliage - often a sign of healthy plants - has the physiological impacts of calming heart rate and relaxing blood pressure.

A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work.

Many collectors believe that plants can provide a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose. Oakes insists that “Plant care is very much about people care.” and sites the emerging discipline of horticultural therapy as mainstream proof of its real benefits.

Legacy Health includes Horticulture Therapy in their rehabilitation practices, pediatric therapies at Randall Children’s Hospital and for burn center patients, and in their Cancer Institute programs.

More than just a millennial trend, keeping, caring for and growing your houseplant collection is doing more for our health than most of us realize. So let’s show our plants a little extra dose of love this fall.

Show Your Houseplants a Little Love This Fall

Now's the time of year when we can give back a bit of the care our plants give us. Here are a few things to do to keep your plants in good shape as the weather turns colder:

  • It’s a great time to clean the leaves of your plants and check for insects too. Use a paper towel and bowl of water with a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap to make a weak soapy solution. Wipe down leaves and then rinse with fresh water. You can also put the plants in the shower to rinse them off. Be careful not to rinse soil down the drain.
Use this diagram to determine where to place plants in your home so they receive the proper light.
  • For added insect control, use Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control. Read the label for more information.
  • Move plants closer to a south or west facing window. Light levels and length of daylight is much decreased until April. You want to give plants as much light as you can this time of year. They can be moved back once the days get longer and the sunlight is strong once again in spring.
  • Move plants away from heat vents or fireplaces.
  • Adjust the watering of your plants. They are not too active growing this time of year, light levels are reduced, and your home’s temperature may be cooler as well.

Grow your therapy… uh, plant collection by getting to know the houseplants at any of Al’s four locations or shop our houseplant collection online.