Plants as a Healer with @terrarihomes
In the second of our blog posts focusing on the impact of houseplants on our mental health, Stella of @terrarihomes, talks openly and honestly about how plants have helped her heal.
I’ve always had a plant or two and I remember my grandma giving me cuttings to propagate when I was younger, but my love of plants really took off in December 2019 when I made my first terrarium. At this point I started having a pretty rough time, this came coincidentally, at a point when my interest in plants was developing and I made my IG page for my plant journey. I was into cacti and succulents then but now it’s all about the foliage. I’m learning so much, every step of the way with plants and I’m less likely to kill the foliage plants so I’m very much into building my aroid collection now. I currently have 62 plants, not including propagations. I need to make room for new ones though!
My job does not involve plants at all so it’s really good coming home to them and having something else to think about. I tend to spend more time with them over the weekends; checking, pruning, watering and re-potting them, and running my IG page @terrarihomes. It is also nice, after a few days away with work, to wind down with them midweek and forget working life for a while. However, during this pandemic I was furloughed from work so I have been spending loads more of my time with them; developing my knowledge and deepening my fascination (hence the ever expanding wish-list).
Being furloughed from work was in addition to the bad time that started in December 2019. I went through a personal, traumatic experience in December, which led to a diagnosis of anxiety induced depression in February (my birthday month). My depression and anxiety was pretty crippling at that time, probably my worst episode of depression that I’ve had (4 now). I was crying in-between appointments at work, crying & screaming in the car and crying alone most of the time feeling pretty incapable, whilst also feeling anxious, isolated and fearful of the future. It was quite sabotaging.
During furlough, throw in: another colposcopy, continuing chronic endometriosis issues, PSOAS syndrome diagnosis and referral, hip dysplasia diagnosis and chronic pain, for which I was dosed up on some pretty strong drugs. This means I’ve been pretty overwhelmed for a long time now with constant anxiety about the future and the pandemic hasn’t helped this. Chronic pain worsens your mental state too so that worsened for a while after I had just started having some good days.
Here’s where the plants come in – this growing collection of mine has been my absolute saviour. It has given me something else to focus on and care for that isn’t myself. Focussing on, caring for and nurturing something that makes you happy and where you can make more of them by propagation (free plants, woo!) is so fulfilling.
I’m learning every day, improving my skills, and connecting with so many wonderful, helpful people in this plant community via my IG page. I am honestly quite sad I hadn’t started all this sooner. This whole experience has made me smile again. Plants have helped me get excited for the future again. Watching and waiting for something to grow and develop is exciting. They get me out of bed (which on furlough can be tough some days) so that I can open the curtains for them. I get out of bed to re-pot them, observe them and take photos of them. Re-potting plants really silences my mind, I love it. You also feel like a top plant parent when they are thriving!
If you’re looking to add houseplants to your life and want a jungle vibe go for foliage – large, lush, green leaves. A good, hardy, trusty Yucca will achieve this, but personally I love a Monstera: I have two Deliciosas, 2 Deliciosa Albovariegatas, 1 Peru, 1 Acuminata and 1 Standleyana and the Deliciosa’s can be fairly forgiving. Make sure you have the space and the correct conditions for your plants before you bring them home, and when you do bring them home accept some of the transitioning changes they go through to adjust to your space. Give them time. Plants teach patience. Oh, and don’t over-water them!
Plants make me feel: excited, calm and grateful.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of my fellow plant people that I have interacted with over the last few months, especially those who have helped me, answered my questions, taken time to chat with me and those who have made me laugh. I am so, so grateful for this and for all my followers. I am excited every day by this community. Get involved!! 😊