Why plants are more than just an aesthetic millennial trend

The infiltration of flora into our homes is a millennial trend that I have wholeheartedly embraced, evidenced both by my botanical print bedspread, and the bubble-wrapped Syngonium that stood at my feet on the LNER back to Scotland. The Welcome Week Plant Fair at Teviot and the University’s Plant Society, (formed in March of this year), point to the popularity of this new interior craze.

However, perhaps the increase of greenery in our lives is much more than just a styling fad and runs deeper than an aesthetic addition to one’s home. A NASA Spinoff study proved that plants are beneficial to a person’s physical health, with their ability to improve air quality by removing harmful pollutants – something that can only be a good thing in our poorly ventilated student flats.

The Snake Plant improves air quality by removing pollutants such as Benzene and Formaldehyde. Coincidentally, this is one of the most forgiving houseplants, used to near-drought conditions – perfect for a first-time plant parent who has not yet figured out a watering routine.

Amazingly, as well as improving air quality, studies have shown that the presence of houseplants reduces blood pressure, fatigue and headaches (Journal of Physiological Athropology). As well as the physical health benefits plants can provide, the psychological benefits are arguably more importanct when considering why this trend has arisen. Texas A&M University suggest that plants increase work productivity, improve mood and reduce stress levels – it is clear they are a valuable addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

With increased public awareness of the importance of mental well-being and mindfulness, people have begun to seek a connection to nature that previously they may have shunned. Particularly in cosmopolitan city life, bringing the outside in can be an escape from the busy world around us.

Whilst we are incredibly lucky to be students in a city where green spaces are ubiquitous, as a country girl, I often still crave the peace and tranquillity of a private garden and in some small way houseplants provide the opportunity for this same sense of calm.

At a time when environmental issues are a prominent concern of society, the increase in plant popularity could be linked to people’s need to do their bit to tackle the issues that have become the norm for millennials. Plants could be listed alongside recycling, public transport and shampoo bars as a physical manifestation of people’s concern for the problems faced by our planet.

Rather than having solely aesthetic value, plants give a person a certain responsibility, which as students is somewhat of a rarity. For some, the mere act of watering their Aloe Vera may be the only thing that provides routine in their chaotic lives. Plants allow you the opportunity to care for and look after something other than yourself.

The lives of students are incredibly self-centred, with many of us having very little adult responsibility. It could be suggested that owning houseplants is a valuable life lesson in preparing you to look after something outside of your own private bubble.

To millennials, this passion for plants demonstrates a greater concern for how we live our lives, rather than how we style it. The benefits of natural additions to your home are extremely significant.

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The Student Newspaper 2016