After months of resisting, I eventually succumbed to a new order of #quaranthings last week. Like most 20-somethings, I finally adopted a quarantine houseplant. Earlier today, I decided to name it Elbert. As he hasn’t died in my arms yet, I’ve resolved to greet him good morning daily, too.
As to why I resisted: I’m not very good at sustaining life. Back in high school, my peers even nicknamed me “Danielle the Destroyer” — an ode to my clumsiness and curiosity, both traits detrimental to everything I touched.
Easily, I had always acknowledged myself as a black thumb. By college, my friends gave me succulents as a joke, betting on which would first crumble in my hands: my relationships, or the plant. My first succulent died shortly after my friend mistook it as an ashtray, so I guess that’s not on me. I carried the shame for years, anyway.
For many, many years, I was also a self-proclaimed halaman. The cactus is what I identified with the most: I had dry humour, I needed little attention, and I thrived in sunlight. But even the cactus, I managed to kill.
Last week, though, after making up reasons for getting a quarantine houseplant, I decided to give the plantita life another shot. Elbert is a snake plant my mother propagated for me, and I’m determined to keep him alive for at least until the quarantine ends.
If you’re like me, who carries several reasons to be hesitant about getting into the plant parenthood life, then here are some signs to convince yourself (or your mom) that you’re ready to get a quarantine houseplant.
8 signs you should get a quarantine houseplant
1. You’re dying to reconnect with nature
A few things are keeping me sane during this pandemic: my daily quiet time with God, my ridiculous banter with my family, my books, K-drama, work, and our garden. Day in and day out, I make time to practice grounding as I soak in my much-needed amount of sunlight.
I’m blessed enough to have parents who obsess over nature just as much as I do. My dad built our outdoor garden; my mother takes charge of bringing the flora indoors. I know not everyone has space for a lawn, so a quarantine houseplant is definitely a solution for all the nature freaks who live in apartments or condominiums — or with their parents who aren’t keen on the gardening idea.
2. Your space never seems to be ~aesthetic~ enough
Let’s be honest: Plants look nice. That’s why they’re all over Instagram. Arguably, that’s also why many of us digital babies are fond of the idea of being plant parents. They look good on the ‘gram. They’re perfect additions to our flat lays. The #jungalow aesthetic has been on trend for a while now; and while we’re all stuck at home, we at least deserve a place that appeals to our senses.
3. You don’t mind getting free therapy
Healing looks different for everyone. We can’t vouch for gardening as the end-all-be-all solution for mental health issues. But many plant parents testify that gardening is therapeutic, to say the least. Talking to plants is free — and the herbs and flowers never judge you for what you have to say. Studies have shown that even the scents of plants boost happiness and encourage relaxation! What a win, right?
4. You miss your sense of control
Millennials and zillennials, the world is crumbling as we know it. Climate change, the global economic crisis, and now, COVID-19! No wonder many of us are suffering from generational anxieties!
Cynical as it may seem, many of us yuppies are considering adopting quarantine houseplants because we just want our sense of control back. We’re in the midst of a chaotic world, after all — who can blame us? We love that plants respond to our care without demanding too much from us. We love that we can easily purchase a houseplant without worrying about incurring debt.
In other words, being a plantita provides us with the security that we’ve all been craving for — the assurance that we’re doing adulthood correctly. Heaven knows we’ve been running around like headless chickens for years now.
5. You’re looking for a new hobby
We already gained an extra kilo from all the baking. Then, we shed the calories after getting into biking. Our Netflix accounts have gone through every interesting series on the platform. And no, we’re not learning a new language. Not again. We need a new hobby, and we know that new hobby must be urban gardening. Why? Well… Why not?
6. You need a boost in productivity
Aha, this is my favourite excuse of all because I get to convince myself that I’m getting the most bang for the buck. I know you just added a fake brick wallpaper to your online shopping cart. Since you’re already putting in the effort to upgrade your makeshift home office, why not add in a plant as well? Plants boost productivity! And because we’re all spending more time indoors, we should at least take some steps to become more productive — especially if we’re working from home.
7. You want a pet, but you’re also on a tight budget
A plant is a low-maintenance child. I say child, because they’re highly dependent on our love. I say low-maintenance, because they don’t need diapers, don’t need vaccines, don’t bark during our Zoom meetings, and don’t mind being left at home for long periods of time. Sure, they don’t smother us with kisses. But they listen! They acknowledge their names, they thrive when we pay them good attention, and they somehow make us look like fully functional adults!
8. You want a plant
Honestly, if you want a plant, go get a plant. You don’t need me to tell you to do so. You probably didn’t even need a lengthy list to convince yourself. If a quarantine houseplant will make you happy, why stop yourself?
This said, know that the plant may die. What do you do then? Learn from the experience, and go get another one. That’s life, my friend. From time to time, we’ll have to learn to deal with losses, and we’ll have to keep on trying. At least, that’s what I’m doing. Fingers crossed that Elbert will survive!