Can Plants Make You Happier and Richer?

October 28, 2013 by

Grow Light Combination Planter Pendant Lamp
LED GrowLight Pendant Lamp, $1250 via Lightopia.

Need a mood and financial boost? There’s an app for that. Or a plant. While browsing today through Frank Mertens’s site Expression That Inspires, I stumbled upon Nursery & Garden Industry Australia’s unusual social media campaign promoting the benefits of plants by suggesting that people are happier and better off physically and even financially when in contact with plants.

Woolly Pocket Brian Island Soft Planter
Brian Island Planter by Woolly Pocket, $96 via Amazon.

Entitled “Improve Your Plant/Life Balance,” a play on the idea of “work/life balance,” the campaign launched in 2011 with a 20,000+ plant give away at major train stations across Australia. Each plant included a special code activated through a Facebook app (no longer available), an interesting mashup of the digital and physical words into an innovative social campaign experience.

Mr. Light Desktop Light with Built-In Planter Tray
Mr. Light Desk Top Light with Built-in Plant Tray, $49. 

They’ were certainly on to something. In addition to the environmental benefits like improved air quality, a scientific review of the psychological benefits of indoor plants published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology reported that plants can indeed boost mood levels, reduce fatigue, improve reaction time, lower stress, and even improve pain tolerance. Biophilia–the hypothesis that human beings share an instinctive bond with nature–would seem to validate that communing with nature, even with a houseplant, is an innate biological need.

Eva Solo Self-Watering Orchid Pot with Absorbing Wick
Eva Solo Self Watering Orchid Pot with nylon wick, $75 via Amazon.

The campaign app taught users how to care for an office container plant. There was a catch though: users who bring their own plants to the experience don’t get the campaign’s customized growing tips. And just in case one needed matchmaking advice, there was a “cool plant matcher” feature for that.

Click and Grow Self-Watering Planter and Herb Pot
Click n’ Grow Self Watering Planter Starter Kit, 69.98 via Amazon.

The app is no longer available, but the campaign website continues to offer ideas for integrating plants into one’s life and shares how doing so offers numerous individual, community, and global benefits. I salute Nursery & Garden Industry Australia’s creativity and resourcefulness. That in itself is engaging.

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