Just in the past few weeks, the Internet lost its cool over the news of climate change and how it is impending doom that is upon us. The IPCC report underlined the intensifying damage that is being done to the planet and humanity was called to quicken its pace and take action to save ourselves from this ‘Code Red’ situation. It is an anticlimax that in an age where the Internet has emerging personalities in niches of fashion, beauty, tech and more, the climate is barely given the presence it deserves. But there is a trend that is starting which hopefully if it catches on, will be a ray of hope for a planet that is reeling under an insane amount of stress. We caught up with the ‘plantfluencers’ who are advocating how bringing greenery into your home and your life can change you and the world.
What are the plantfluencers doing and how does this help the Earth?
The city of Mumbai, like many other metropolitans around the world, is an urban jungle where plants and greenery are seen as a respite. With a growing population, vehicles, industries, and city culture, there is an ominous disconnect with nature that plagues the city. To reconnect with nature, the city folk are resorting to workations, travel, resorts and the likes as these provide a breath of fresh air to people who are fatigued with the absence of greenery.
Enter plantfluencers, who are trying to bring back the long lost connection with nature. While influencers is a term that is used to define people who have a huge following that is ‘influenced’ by what the person at the helm has to say or do, a plantfluencer is an influencer who advocates greenery, nature and all things natural. So with rooms filled with philodendrons, bonsais, succulents, money plants, ivy, orchids and more, they are taking the Internet by storm and do netizens love it?
The massive following that these plantfluencers have is proof that they certainly do.
How do you speak about gardening on Instagram?
For Kopal Nanda, her understanding of a plantfluencer is one that propagates a life surrounded by plants. “What really pushed me to keep sharing my journey was that the city dwellers of today are losing touch with our unspoken gardening culture. Now that we live in smaller spaces, open areas are a luxury but not a limitation. I keep posting because I want everyone to remember to keep adding greens wherever and whenever possible.”
This plantfluencer selects plants based on the size of the plant, roots coming out of the drainage holes, pests, price, and where in the nursery they are kept. She says, through personal experience, plants under the green net are the ones that do well in indirect light and are likely to thrive inside homes. “The plants that I talk and post about can vary from the ones doing brilliantly to the ones I struggle with or have killed. Showing both sides of gardening is important because sharing mistakes helps bring originality and shows you're living in the real world. The ones that I keep repeating are the ones that thrive in the region I live in (Lucknow).”
She says a plantfluencer is anyone who really knows how beneficial gardening is for the mind, soul, and body. “You know that it's something that needs to be shared. These simple pleasures can help someone. Keep propagating and giving others a chance to experience the magic too.”
How does one become a plantfluencer?
The pandemic and the lockdown proved to be precursors to people adopting different lifestyle habits that they otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Gardening was one such trait that people started to incline towards as they began noticing the calm and peace that comes with being around plants. Likewise with Aswathy Vijayakumar. “Having an abundance of plants is somewhat similar to meditation. A great stress reliever for sure.”
This plantfluencer loves buying from local nurseries, and also finds that this is the best way to support small local businesses.
While advising people who also want to venture into the green space about how to go about it, she says:
- Before purchasing a plant be sure to do your homework. A little planning will give your new plants the best possible chance to thrive
- Every plant has different lighting requirements. Before you go shopping, take a tour of your yard at various times of day to get a sense of how much light different areas receive and choose plants according to that
- It is wise to buy healthy and established plants. Always look for new growth. The plant that you are buying should be suitable for your climate and humidity
- While buying, select plants according to season. It will be unfruitful to buy plants of other seasons
- When you become a plantfluencer, you create a community of like-minded people. All of your followers usually have a common interest in the niche in which you create content. You not only create this community but even engage with it regularly. You can interact and share your knowledge with the community
How do plants help with well being?
Noora D'Mello has had plants since she was a child. “Being surrounded with green led to my love for all things nature, my choice of profession as a florist and people feel comfortable asking me for advice about their plants.”
This plant mom speaks about her array of beauties with so much delight, the energy is contagious. “The plants I have at home are those that will grow happily and live their best lives with the sun my apartment receives. So, I have ferns, Pothos, a few aroids, Hoyas, a few water plants, succulents and orchids and I'm planning on adding edible flowers soon!” If you are planning on having plants around the home, she says the light you receive in your home is one of the best indicators of the plants that will thrive easily. After this, the watering schedule and other maintenance are the next few steps.
Noora emphasises that EVERYONE should have a plant or two to call their own. “Not just because plants are gorgeous, but because being a plant person is a great hobby and is great for your soul too. Several trials have revealed the beneficial effects on mood and mental health of simply observing nature, or even images of natural scenes. So, learn to trust your instincts about light and water, and grow that plant. Psst! you can reach out to me if you need help too :)”