Editor's Blog

Plant Cultivation 5 by 5: Potential Benefits and Plants That Can Support Wellness

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Once again, the scent of spring is in the air! Or is that simply pollen floating its way around, spurring us toward a dramatic sneeze? In either case, though it’s already past the halfway mark, April is still National Garden Month, acting as a springboard to revive or create a unique arrangement of plants and flowers, one that might withstand the medley of weather the coming months bring. 

Like an earnest artiste with their paint and paintbrush, it takes essential gear like a wide-brimmed hat, protective gloves, a shovel, and a pair of sunglasses to build the stunning garden that prompts those driving by to actually follow the speed limit, before safely gazing upon the fruits of your great labor. But there’s a lot more to gardening than meets the proverbial eye. We begin the 5 by 5 series by looking at five potential health benefits of gardening and five plants that can support wellness.

The Potential Benefits

Promotes Learning – When beginning anything new, we’re all a bit green. But gardening presents an opportunity to educate yourself and others about the many intricacies of growing plants and food at home, from the type of soil used to planting and organization. There’s seemingly no end to the fascinating details and minutiae that the subject of gardening possesses.

Encourages Exercise – Whether you’re working to grow plants, vegetables, fruits or all three, you’re likely to burn some calories in the exercise. It may not be the equivalent to a long bike ride around the neighborhood, but it may come awfully close. Satisfying in several respects and directly involved with nature, gardening has its own amount of physical demands so breaking any kind of sweat isn’t out of the question.

May Improve Diet – If you’re growing plants you can consume like spinach or basil, you'll soon appreciate how incredible it is to hold fresh, clean and nutritious food that encourages good health. Because constant gardening lends itself to a stronger understanding of how certain cuisines are produced, it could make it easier to look at alternative diet choices going forward.

Environment Help – Continuing on with that subject, it’s fantastic to know exactly where your plants and food are coming from. With your own garden, you can work to ensure your plants are free of unnecessary chemicals or exposure. You know exactly where and how the plants you made came to be, because you put them there yourself. Additionally, through photosynthesis, having a garden can add oxygen to the environment and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are harm it.

Immediate Access – Which is easier? Hopping in the car and driving to the grocery store or visiting your very local garden and obtaining sustenance for another meal. We’ll say the second option. A thriving plant and food garden can be convenient, quick, and potentially help save money.

Plants to Support Wellness

Succulents – For those of us lacking green thumbs, succulents are ideal. They ask for minimal attention and because their leaves store water, they do fine in a drought. They’re sort of a like a house cat, except without the meowing. Also, certain types of these plants can increase the humidity in a room, while others, such as aloe vera, can aid in healing cuts and other skin ailments.

Peace Lilies – While these should be kept out of reach from small children and pets, peace lilies are a durable, long-lasting plant that doesn’t need much light to survive. Their flowers resemble a white flag of peace, hence the name. According to a 2022 study, they also have air-cleaning properties and aid in removing carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, making for an unassumingly powerful plant indeed.

Ferns – This plant has been known to have air purification properties and may even help in removing formaldehyde from the air. The Boston fern, in particular, has demonstrated the ability to eliminate carbon dioxide from an indoor environment. Additionally, though ferns fare better without abundant direct sunlight, unlike succulents, they do require regular watering.

African Violets – Care to make a garden more visually dynamic? These smaller houseplants grow well with indirect sunlight and don’t demand constant watering. African violets have shown to be non-toxic to humans and pets. Plus, with shades of vivid pink, purple, and even yellow, these flowers can easily liven up the mood of a garden or home and perhaps the people near them.

Bamboo Plants – Forget jetting to the tropics to be surrounded by bamboo. Though different from actual bamboo, bamboo palm plants can fill a plant void superbly, taking up just enough toward the back end of a garden's perimeter. According to a study conducted by NASA, bamboo palm, or Chamaedorea seifrizii, is able to remove benzene and trichloroethylene (TCE) from the air.

As emphasized previously, to do the hobby justice and to avoid wasting precious time or money, gardening requires some significant research and planning up front before its fully embraced. With time, you’ll come to care a lot for your plants, as they’re living organisms and quite in need of adoration. In doing this, you can gradually maximize the amount of potentially rewarding health benefits, while extending them to those at home and in your community.

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