woman and plants

Teresa Meloni works with her seedlings in front of a window.

Experts say people benefit from proximity to plants.

According to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interactions with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress. A study done by Texas A & M shows that plants not only help with concentration and memory but also promote healing.

Jennifer Perez, the owner of Growing Roots, preaches that approach — she's even made it her business.

Growing Roots is a Long Beach-based interior plant care company, and Perez is part of a nationwide group of interiorscapers promoting biophilia (defined by dictionary.com as “a love of life and the living world”). During the coronavirus crisis, the group is promoting #StayPlanted as a way to keep people inside and safe. The #StayPlanted initiative encourages people to photograph and post pictures of their indoor plants on social media, along with the StayPlanted hashtag.

“We have always expressed the health benefits that only live plants can bring to an interior space,” Perez said. “And now, with the Stay at Home order, we believe sharing these benefits are even more important.”

Before the pandemic, Money Magazine noted millennials’ penchant to purchase houseplants as a way to support their physical and emotional well-being. Perez said that with the current shelter-at-home conditions, people of all ages are now adding greenery to their interior spaces.

The #StayPlanted movement, and a fondness for indoor plants, can be found in the community at large. Here are three examples.

Teresa Meloni worked as a server before the coronavirus caused the restaurant she worked at to close. Unexpectedly unemployed, the 21-year-old Long Beach resident decided to plant seeds to help ease her quarantine-induced anxiety. She purchased potting soil and packets of lavender, rosemary, thyme, chives, and spinach and consulted the Farmer’s Almanac for growing tips. Meloni said the project has helped her relieve stress and connect with the Earth.

Long Beach Unified School District school nurse Linda King said she loves doing crafts with her granddaughters. Recently, she has enjoyed placing clippings in creative containers to give to family and friends. King said she likes planting succulents, which are low maintenance and hearty. Since Easter gatherings were forbidden this year, King opted to lift spirits with doorstep deliveries of “Somebunny Loves You” planters.

An active community volunteer, Debby Phillips is good at getting things done. Her hands-on diligence is also evident at home, where she carefully tends to numerous plants in the house and outdoors. Phillips said she especially likes indoor plants because of their ability to provide peace and soften a room.

COVID-19 prevented Phillips and her husband from visiting their friends’ new home in Naples, so she decided to give them a plant as a housewarming present. Using shells she had previously collected, Phillips decorated a clay pot and placed a large ZZ (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) plant inside. She said her friends loved the gift.

Perez said many plants, including ZZ, are easy to care for. She added that fresh soil, fertilizer, and a consistent watering schedule (generally once every two weeks) are helpful factors in keeping plants healthy.

“Many people tend to over water and ‘kill them with kindness’,” Perez noted.

Although Growing Roots is primarily a service company, Perez is willing to offer consultation, sales, and contact-less delivery of plants while people shelter at home. To learn more about the company and the #StayPlanted challenge, go to www.growingroots.com.

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