National Houseplant Appreciation Day provides an excellent opportunity for plant lovers to celebrate their leafy companions and for those with any interest at all in plants to learn about the benefits they provide. It’s a day that, in many ways, can be both fun and educational.
Each year, National Houseplant Appreciation Day falls on January 10th. It takes place in early January, right after the major holidays have ended, and the holiday season has essentially come to a close. Thus, Houseplant Appreciation Day is a chance to extend the spirit and cheer of the holiday season. It can be a time to exchange gifts, get together with friends and family, and perhaps even introduce a new plant into the home.
What are the origins of National Houseplant Appreciation Day? The Gardener’s Network first established the holiday to bring awareness to the many positive benefits of owning houseplants. But the history of houseplants goes much deeper than that. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits that houseplants provide, go over the history of National Houseplant Day, and give you some ideas for how you can celebrate this holiday come January.
What Health Benefits Do Houseplants Provide?
Besides bringing a splash of color and wonderful fragrance to any room, keeping a houseplant in your living space can provide you with an array of important health benefits. The presence of a live, indoor plant in your home can:
- Improve your mood
- Lower stress and anxiety levels
- Improve focus and productivity
Houseplants can also improve a room’s air quality in various ways. For instance, they are great at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, and they release water vapor into the air. Increased oxygenation can help boost your energy levels and mood, while higher levels of moisture can offset the harsh effects of home heating systems and soothe conditions such as headaches, allergies, and respiratory issues.
In addition to oxygenating a room, many houseplants can remove toxic substances like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. A study done by researchers at Virginia Tech showed that houseplants can reduce indoor dust by up to 20%.
NASA has even conducted studies on houseplants and their positive qualities. They found that houseplants do an extraordinary job of cleaning the air and recommended that each 1,800 square foot house contain 15-18 houseplants. That’s a lot of plants, and you certainly don’t have to go that far, especially if you’re just getting started with houseplants. However, just adding even a few plants to your living space can end up making a difference and provide you with some of the benefits discussed here.
If you’re interested in reaping some tangible benefits when it comes to houseplants, then bring some Aloe Vera into your home, which can act as a natural moisturizer and soothe cuts, bruises, and burns. Or, if you love to cook, you might get some plants of the edible variety. Plant a little herb garden by the window, so you can add fresh, homegrown herbs to any dish you make.
National Houseplant Day History
Humans have been bringing plants into their homes for thousands of years, from as far back as the times of the ancient Egyptians. For a long time, bright, beautiful flowers and decorative plants were placed in the homes of the elite as a show of wealth and status. And, not only were they beautiful to look at, but fragrant flowers acted as natural air fresheners for centuries before the invention of chemical and plug-in air fresheners.
According to the National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity, in the 17th century, powerful and wealthy families saw citrus trees as a status symbol. They treasured these trees enough to build greenhouses and orangeries to protect them during the winter months and grow other beautiful flowers. To get an idea of the different plants and flowers people prized at that time, we can look at the Duke of Lauderdale’s inventory list from 1682, which includes:
- 8 large orange trees and lemon trees
- 22 smaller orange and lemon trees in tubs
- 32 orange and lemon trees in pots
- 11 great tubs with myrtles
- Several pots with greens
As this list demonstrates, citrus trees really were a big deal for the time. And, considering the amount of time, attention, and space needed to grow these trees, it makes sense that only the elite owned them. Gardening and plant cultivation continued to be reserved almost solely for the upper class throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, at least in the West. Aristocrats and members of royal families would bring back rare plants from their travels abroad and import tropical and subtropical plants from all over the world, creating decadent floral displays that they would often place in decorative ceramic bowls.
The end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century saw houseplants go mainstream. As more and more people began to live in apartments in England in the 19th century—rather than sprawling estates or homes with gardens—they began to introduce plants into the home as a way of making it through the long, harsh winters. Across the Atlantic, many Americans were becoming fascinated with plants, botany, and nature in general due to the transcendentalist movement led by figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about the profound restorative influence of nature.
With such a rich history, it’s no wonder that National Houseplant Appreciation Day eventually emerged as a day dedicated to celebrating the plants we keep around our homes. Houseplants are more accessible than ever before; in fact, according to the National Gardening Association, more than one-third of American households contain some type of houseplant. Their presence in so many different households, regardless of social or economic status, indicates a positive evolution—live indoor plants are now something that everyone can enjoy.
When is National Houseplant Day?
National Houseplant Appreciation Day is celebrated on January 10th every year. The holiday falls on a Sunday this year, meaning you should have plenty of time to celebrate—perhaps you could go out to brunch, visit a nearby farmer’s market, and buy a brand new houseplant from one of the local vendors!
National Houseplant Appreciation Day isn’t the only plant-themed holiday. For example, if you like Houseplant Appreciation Day, then you’ll probably love Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day, celebrated on July 27th. Other holidays centered around plants, flowers, gardening, and nature include:
- Floral Design Day (February 28th)
- Plant Power Day (March 7th)
- Plant a Flower Day (March 12th)
- Iris Day (May 8th)
- Red Rose Day (June 12th)
- Daffodil Day (August 28th)
- World Soil Day (December 5th)
- Poinsettia Day (December 12th)
Mark all of these fun holidays down on your calendar, and you’ll be celebrating plants year-round!
How to Celebrate National Houseplant Day
Of course, the best way to celebrate National Houseplant Appreciation Day is to purchase a live plant and bring it into your home! Whether you’ve never owned a plant before or you’re adding to an already impressive collection, this day is the perfect excuse to go out and get a plant.
If you’re new to houseplants, here are a few things you should try to keep in mind:
- Water your plants. The amount of water you use and the frequency with which you water your houseplants depend on the type of plant you have. Generally, flowering plants require more water, while succulents require less. But do some research online to find the best houseplant for your lifestyle and the watering habits for that particular plant.
- Find an appropriately-sized flower pot. Get a pot that’s large enough to accommodate your houseplant and switch out pots as it grows. Keeping your plant in a pot that’s too small can block the expansion of roots, stunt growth, and increase the amount of water you have to provide to keep it alive.
- Prune your plants. Cutting back excess growth on houseplants doesn’t just make them look better, but it can also fortify their health. If your houseplant is getting too big, pinch away stem tips and trim overgrowth. Also, remember to remove any dead or withering leaves regularly.
- Make sure your plants are getting sunlight. Like with watering, the amount of sunlight a given houseplant should receive depends on the type of plant it is. While virtually all plants need some amount of sunlight to thrive, you can overexpose some plants by keeping them in direct contact with light for too long. So do some research and determine what an ideal amount of sunlight exposure looks like for your particular houseplant.
If you don’t have much of a green thumb, don’t worry—you can still find a houseplant that works for you! Houseplants like pothos plants, Aloe Vera, and other succulents are generally very resilient and self-sustaining, requiring a minimal amount of care on your part.
Other ways you can celebrate National Houseplant Appreciation Day include:
- Assigning a name to each of your plants. If you want to be really creative, you might even take the time to write a little backstory for each of your plants that describes a fictional journey they went on before ending up in your home. This fun, lighthearted exercise can imbue each of your houseplants with some character, giving them a unique personality that makes them all the more precious.
- Playing some music. Plants respond to and are stimulated by music and the vibrations that the sound waves produce. So put together a playlist, crank up the volume, and host a little in-home concert for your prized plants.
- Supplying your plants with top-of-the-line plant food. Similar to eating cake on your birthday or giving your pet a special treat on theirs, you can celebrate your plants by giving them some really high-quality plant food. You have plenty of options as far as food goes—there are all kinds of fertilizers out there, so switch it up for a day and pick up one you wouldn’t normally use.
- Getting some new flower pots. National Houseplant Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to switch out grimy old flower pots for sleek and stylish ones. Picking up a new flower pot or two won’t just benefit your plants, it will also benefit you! It’ll give you a chance to freshen up your living space with something brand new.
- Customizing an existing flower pot. If you’re all about DIY or just looking to get creative, consider painting and customizing your own flower pot. Either pick up some paint and add designs to flower pots you already own, or get a flower pot painting kit online, which comes with all of the supplies you need to create beautiful personalized flower pots!
Whether or not you have a green thumb, National Houseplant Appreciation Day is an occasion for celebration. It’s a time to consider the history of houseplants and all of their positive qualities. In addition to possessing natural beauty and a wonderful fragrance capable of freshening up any room, houseplants offer a host of natural health benefits, both physically and mentally.
If you have any interest in plants, then National Houseplant Appreciation Day is for you. Here at ProFlowers, we can help you celebrate the right way. Order from our vast inventory of flowers and houseplants to start a new houseplant collection or supplement an existing one. Kick-off January 10th by having a live plant delivered to a friend or family member. This National Houseplant Appreciation Day, get your plants, flowers, gifts, and more from ProFlowers.