Plant therapy: 11 ways getting green-fingered can help lift a low mood

Undated Handout Photo of Gardening tools and flowers. See PA Feature TOPICAL Growing Plants. Picture

It's official: gardening is good for you. - Credit: Press Association Images

Whether you've got a vast garden or a handful of house plants, watching your green shoots grow can bring so much joy - something we're all in need of at the moment. 

Here are 11 ways growing greenery can soothe your soul during turbulent times.

1. New growth is so exciting

There’s something undeniably magical about watching tiny shoots poke out from the surface of the soil, or new leaves beginning to unfurl. You’ll find yourself rushing each morning to check on the progress of your verdant brood.

2. Flowers are even better

Foliage is one thing, but the appearance of a budding flower is even more exciting. As the days go by and that waxy red lily, bright yellow daffodil or smattering of bluebells come into full bloom, your heart will soar.

3. You can enhance your cooking

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Want to know what tastes even better than a batch of pesto whizzed up with freshly cut basil? A batch of pesto whizzed up with freshly cut basil that you grew yourself.

Those who are lucky enough to have an allotment get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of their labour all year round.

4. Looking at plants is calming

Gazing at plants can have a calming effect.

Gazing at plants can have a calming effect. - Credit: PA Photo/Handout

If you’ve found yourself standing at the window staring out at your balcony, garden or window box in an almost meditative state, you may be under the influence of something called ‘fractals’.

These intricate patterns – often found in nature with things like tree branches and leaf shapes – have been shown to reduce human stress levels, which is why just gazing at plants can have a calming effect.

5. Plants attract wildlife

From bees buzzing around purple lavender flowers to squirrels scuttling along tree branches and burrowing in the soil, plants attract a whole host of wildlife, so you can feel like David Attenborough narrating the goings-on of your very own ‘green planet’.

6. You can observe them throughout the day

If you’re working from home during the pandemic, you’ll get to glimpse plant activity that would usually be going on while you’re at the office.

For instance, the way light-sensitive petals open and close at dawn and dusk, or the beautiful dappled light that filters through the trees at golden hour.

7. Plants make your home look better

All it takes is a couple of plants to liven up an otherwise boring living room or bedroom and, provided you take care of them, they’ll get better with age.

8. A garden feels like an extra room

For those lucky enough to have a garden, terrace, balcony or other leafy outdoor space, it’s a wonderful escape, perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee on a bright morning, or al fresco dining in summer.

9. Not killing them is an achievement

Keeping your plants alive will bring a sense of achievement. 

Keeping your plants alive will bring a sense of achievement. - Credit: Press Association Images

As any self-confessed serial plant murderer will tell you, when you manage not to drown, starve or otherwise neglect a house plant and it actually thrives, you’ll feel incredibly proud of yourself.

10. Repotting is so satisfying

When a plant gets to a certain size, it’s time to transfer the little darling into a bigger pot, so it’s got enough room to spread its roots.

An afternoon spent repotting is not only very relaxing, but you then get the satisfaction of watching your fledgling greenery grow bigger in its new home.

11. Plants give you something to talk about

Whether it’s comparing notes on your herb selections with your besties or asking your green-fingered granny for advice, growing plants is a great excuse to strike up a chat at a time when, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot to talk about.

You might even want to share some cuttings or gift some newly-sprouted seedlings to a friend, so together, you can track the progress of their burgeoning plant babies.