By Nelsen Elsholtz
Let me tell you a story.
In 2017, after I finished my undergrad program at UBC and returned home to Mississauga, ON, it was my last summer in my family’s old house, where I had grown up since a young age. My parents sold the house that summer and moved to BC, while my brother and I moved into a condo in downtown Toronto for work. The transition from quiet suburban home with a rustic backyard garden in a quaint forested neighbourhood, to the loud, chaotic concrete jungle of downtown was a shock at first. I remember looking down on the traffic from our 12th floor balcony for the first time, unsure what the future in this new living environment would hold, then walking back inside to a completely empty two bedroom apartment before the movers arrived. Soon after, two guys hastily brought in a few familiar furniture pieces from our old house, and gradually the rooms were transformed into a more comfortable, livable state, giving me at least some reminders of my past home. But something was still not right. All the tables, chairs, sofas, desks and lamps were in place, but something was still missing. I could not place my finger on what it was, and the feeling was very unsettling. Then the movers arrived carrying with them our prized house plants. We found the perfect place for them in one of the bedrooms and the main living area, and immediately I breathed a sigh of relief. I suddenly felt calmer and in control. After the plants had returned, I knew I could now call this new place home.
“Once the plants were brought in, I immediately felt at ease”
So what am I getting at with all this?
To illustrate how important plants are to us in our lives at home, for our health and happiness.
I’ve done my research and talked to many people who love indoor gardening, who already know the benefits you may have yet to discover. Here are the top 5 reasons to grow vegetables and other plants indoors, listed in no particular order:
1. BeautyLet’s start with the most obvious – pure aesthetics. I don’t care how pretty your green wind chimes or your green beaded curtains are. I also don’t care how detailed and life-like the nature painting on your wall is. The fact is, nothing can replace the natural living beauty that indoor plants provide. There are no shortcuts to this. People can tell immediately when they walk into a home or work environment that effort has been put into considering its botanical ambience. Studies have shown that an office with plants is preferred to one without, every time. And it is no different in the home. There is no end to the aesthetic possibilities when you give thought to adding the right plants in the right locations of your home. So start beautifying your home with more plants today, and just watch it come to life (literally)!
2. Improves Parenting Skills
No joke. As our friend Darryl Cheng at House Plant Journal would say, when you grow plants indoors you are literally a “plant parent”, and they are your babies. This concept may be scary to some, and for those who don’t identify as having a green thumb, this level of responsibility can put them off wanting to grow their own plants, especially if they’ve ever accidentally killed one in the past.
The good thing is, gardening skills can be learned, like any hobby. And when you do learn them, the benefits are huge. Not only does it improve your discipline and attentiveness, but you are also exercising your empathy and compassion as you consider the needs of your plants to keep them healthy and happy. And just like any parent, the happier your child is, the happier they will make you in return.
3. Good for Mental Health
Which brings us to the next point. Plants will make you a happier person.
When was the last time you went out for a nature hike and didn’t come back feeling more positive?
Okay, except for that one time a bear almost ate you!
But the point still stands, humans have had an innate connection with plants since the dawn of mankind. The very fact that we breathe in the oxygen they produce, and then breathe out the carbon dioxide they use seems like the most perfect natural partnership ever designed. And during the winter months it can be harder to feel this connection to nature in the way that we want.
When you grow plants indoors you are connecting with nature no matter the season, and you will reap the positive psychological benefits that come with it. Research shows that the scents and chemicals released into the air by plants help reduce stress and put us in a more positive mood.
4. Good for the Planet
As per the previous point, every plant in the world produces oxygen. This is a fact.
Climate change? Also a fact.
Therefore, the more plants we can grow the more oxygen we will have and the more carbon dioxide will be absorbed back from the atmosphere into the plants, thereby combating the effects of climate change.
Of course, there is more to fighting climate change than simply planting trees, but just know that every time you grow and nurture a plant, you are helping to make a difference. And this applies to plants grown indoors as well, but the benefits don’t stop there!
Plants also add humidity to the environment, relieving dry skin, and remove many of the most common indoor air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, benzene, and formaldehydes. So show your plants a little love and they could just save your respiratory system, or your life, in return.
5. Cooking and Nutrition
We saved this one for last, because the traditional philosophy on growing house plants is that they are purely aesthetic. But what if you grew your plants for the purpose of consumption?
I mean, you already value buying fresh produce for your meals, and you’ve heard from your friend a million times already about the environmental damage that goes with the traditional food supply chain. This is the perfect opportunity to get all the benefits of indoor plants that I’ve already mentioned, while also adding the huge benefit of consuming them, completely confident that there are no pesticides, GMOs or other bad stuff going into your body.
It has never been easier (or looked better) than with our AEVA home garden system. Designed as a furniture piece and backed by hydroponic science, you can start growing your own plants vertically, saving you tons of space, and allowing for a large variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs to be grown at one time. The system is completely automated, so unlike potted plants, it takes care of all the watering and lighting for you.
Cooking with produce that you grow yourself is so much more convenient! Next time you need some cilantro for your salsa, you have the freshest batch growing just an arms length away, rather than the one you bought from the store which is now rotting away in the back of your fridge. Freshly grown fruits, vegetables and herbs are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The benefits of incorporating more of them into your diet is another topic too extensive for this blog, but just know that they are essential both to how you look on the outside and how you feel on the inside.
Why not start growing your own food today with the AEVA and reap all the many benefits that indoor gardening has to offer?
Burchett, Margaret, et al. “Greening the Great Indoors for Human Health and Wellbeing.” Milestone Report, University of Technology Sydney Australia, 2008.
Lee, Min-sun, et al. “Interaction with Indoor Plants May Reduce Psychological and Physiological Stress by Suppressing Autonomic Nervous System Activity in Young Adults: a Randomized Crossover Study.” Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 2015.
Park, Seong-Hyun, and Richard H. Mattson. “Ornamental Indoor Plants in Hospital Rooms Enhanced Health Outcomes of Patients Recovering from Surgery.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 15, no. 9, 2009, pp. 975–980., doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0075.