Bodie Pennisi, a professor at UGA’s Griffin campus, was recently quoted in The Washington Post about houseplants in modern society.
Houseplants have been an indoor decor mainstay for generations, but their selection and use has changed over time, particularly with urbanization. Now people are choosing less demanding houseplants, like succulents and cacti, or those offering utility, like herbs and strawberries. Young folks new to independent living often lack the means or time to raise pets or children, so they find substitutes like houseplants. Houseplants do require care, but they are inexpensive and calming.
“Back in the ’70s, the Green Revolution was a time when a huge push was made to grow things indoors. The more plants in planters the better,” said Pennisi, who studies commercial landscape. “But times change. Growers are selecting different plants. They’re going for smaller plants. Mobile plants. Succulents, orchids and cacti are being used to accessorize table settings and entries. Herbs, for example, are nutritious. They can go directly from planter to plate. The mental health benefits of plants are obvious. We’re linked with nature. Plants are part of us, whether we notice it or not. They give us something to nurture.”