Dakota Gardener: Gabbing with the greenery

Carrie Knutson
NDSU Extension
Carrie Knutson, NDSU Extension agent, Grand Forks County

Do you talk to your plants? I read an interesting article last year on this topic and filed it away for later use. It turns out the dark foggy days of January are the perfect time to explore the benefits of plants in our lives.

In 2022, surveyed 1,250 people to see how chatty they are with their plants.

Forty-eight percent of the people surveyed reported talking to their trees and/or plants. One in five of those people talk to their plants every day. Houseplants were the most talked to at 80%, outdoor plants at 62% and trees at 37%. Most importantly, 62% said talking with plants helps with their mental health.

According to the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture, having indoor plants at work boosts creativity and productivity, and increases job satisfaction.

On the reverse side, 34% of the people surveyed have never talked to their plants and 18% don’t have any plants to talk to. They are missing out if you ask me. If you have never talked to a plant, even it is just to yell at a pigweed that missed a weeding, are you really living your fullest life?

The above survey results may be slightly or very humorous to you depending on how you would respond to the questions. However, there is no denying the benefits we get from including plants in our lives.

According to the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH), indoor plants at home stimulate both a physiological and psychological relaxation response. At work, they boost creativity and productivity and increase job satisfaction. Don’t forget that indoor plants link us to nature, especially important during our long winters.

So, how many plants do you have in your home or at your office? I will admit my office is a bit of a jungle at 21 plants! They earn their keep by helping me write my article for this column!

The NICH lists the many benefits of outdoor plants too. As little as five minutes of “green” exercise (including gardening), improves both our self-esteem and mood. Gardening is good exercise. Moderate intensity garden activity counts towards our Centers for Disease Control’s recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate exercise. Most importantly, gardeners tend to eat healthier food.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your seed catalogues and start talking with your indoor greenery while you make your outdoor greenery plans. Happy gardening!