Lonely Plants Club
Keep your houseplants happy and healthy
Here at Hayes Garden World we see plants as much more than some greenery in the garden or around the house. Plants bring life to otherwise dull corners and in the last year have given us a focus and something to do. Plants are just as alive as you or I and are receptive to their environment and all sorts of stimulus. So after the pandemic had us all locked down, your plants will have gotten used to you being around more often. With life returning to normal, your plants may suddenly start to experience withdrawal symptoms now you aren’t around as much anymore.
Horticultural expert, Angela Slater explains, ‘“Studies have shown that plants can sense water, light and gravity. They can even defend themselves and send signals to other plants near them to warn that danger is near. They’ve much more aware than people may think, so it’s very likely that they’ll be able to sense when their owner isn’t at home.”
Even just the sound of your voice on a Zoom call could have made your plant feel cared for. Angela goes on to explain how plants often thrive through human interaction; “Talking to your plants is extremely beneficial for their health and wellbeing. It is unclear exactly what proportion of people who keep plants do communicate with them, but committed vegetable growers have long spoken words of encouragement to their prized specimens.” “There are numerous studies which demonstrate the phenomenon. In 2009, the RHS ran trials on tomato plants, discovering that those that were spoken to grew taller than the ones left in silence. They also found female voices to be more effective than males”.
“The fact that houseplants thrive by our presence shows that they also have needs which go beyond just needing food, water and a nice ambient temperature. It’s safe to say that plants will not fare as well in the silence when their owner isn’t home.”
What’s more, even just being in the house will affect things you may not think about. Our body heat will increase the temperature of a plant’s surroundings and if things do get chilly, we aren’t there to put the heating on. Angela details why plants are happier in warmer places, “The ideal temperature for indoor plants to grow is around 23 degrees in the daytime (source). This is similar to Britain's average ideal room temperature, which a recent study discovered is 21 degrees (source)”.
“However, despite Brits’ preferences, the average room temperature in the UK is 18 degrees. Brits will not be around to adjust heating as they did when working from home, meaning plants will start to get chilly.”
You may remember from your high school science lessons that plants need Co2 for photosynthesis. Humans give out Co2 and so if they aren’t around, there will be less of it for plants to thrive on. Angela tells us more, “Studies have shown that carbon dioxide increases photosynthesis, therefore spurring plant growth. (source). With humans around less, there will be lower Co2 levels in the air which may stunt your houseplants growth.” Perhaps one of the most obvious ways us not being around will affect our house plants is simply that we won’t be there to spot how healthy our plants are and act accordingly. “Naturally, being around your houseplant more, means that they get more attention” says Angela.
With a full year of being able to respond to our plants’ needs, it’s not surprising that when busy lives resume, plants can become less of a priority. Angela goes on to say, “owners have more time to water their plants, adjust their positioning for different levels of light and can be more intuitive with what they need when they’re looking a little thirsty or overwatered. When you’re gone, your plant will notice the difference in care and routine.”
So there you go; plants are sensitive to their surroundings and can sense when we aren’t there to look after them. Don’t let your plants feel the effect of you not being around, read more about how to stop them feeling so lonely when you’re back at work.