Science helps industry tout plant benefits to boost sales
By Michael Leach
Instead of being merely muddy and vaguely nerdy, we gardeners will soon appear cool and with-it to our family, friends and perhaps the rest of the world.
In order to sell more flora, the horticultural industry is touting scientific studies showing positive effects of plants. Meanwhile, interior designers are rediscovering gardens and nature and predicting such themes as trendy in 2015. (More on this in an upcoming report.)
Today we’ll look an industry campaign showing ways plants help people, from stress relieve to a better environment. (We recently discovered some of their erotic effects in Teresa’s review of Plants with Benefits.)
The sales approach is a far cry from the traditional song and dance about new varieties and bigger flowers and fruit — stuff only gardens care about. Science is proving what gardeners have always known, plants are good for you and working with them is even better.
Plants Love You — GreenhouseGrower, a horticultural industry trade magazine, reports the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance is promoting a campaign aimed at inspiring people to make plants a part of their life. The theme is Plants Love You.
The goal is “… to educate consumers about the benefits of plants. In addition to pushing plants’ aesthetic benefits, the campaign produces documented health, environmental and economic benefits.”
Plants “pay you” —Trees, for instance, score in environmental and economic ways. “They provide cooling shade that can reduce air conditioning costs, sequester carbon dioxide (the notorious greenhouse gas), while releasing oxygen, and provide windbreaks.” Don’t forget they can be beautiful and fruitful, too.
As for that humble pothos and other potted plants on countless cubicle desks — drum roll please!
Plants improve your memory — “A recent study indicated people received a 20 percent increase in memory and concentration in the presence of ornamental plants at work.” The report adds, “Researchers believe the calming influence of a natural environment increases the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Work performed in the presence of plants was of higher quality and completed more accurately than in an environment without plants.”
One must presume these plants are in a healthy condition. Some of the potted flora we’ve seen over the years would more likely inspire depression, given their withered leaves and scrawny stature. Still, my home office is going to get much greener — before I forget again.
Helpful websites — Along with the Canadian program, a couple of Florida growers were cited for making sales from telling buyers the positives of plants. Both have websites that can help we Midwest types in buying houseplants and summer tropicals.
Check out Costa Farms and Delray Plants. The latter has its own trademarked line of “Plants with Benefits.” Those shopping for houseplants will find easy-to-access information, presented in visually appealing ways.
If you know other nurseries or garden centers with especially useful websites, please send them along.
(Writer’s note: This is another of our now-and-then posts focusing on why you H.A.V.E. to garden — to benefit your health, attitude, property values and environment.)
On Thursday at 1 p.m., Michael will answer gardening questions as part of a Garden Guru panel at the Columbus Home & Garden Show. He’ll also be leading Garden Showcase Tours at noon on several days at the show.