Metzger: Go buy a plant

Pictured here are some of the plants in columnist Logan Metzger’s collection.

Logan Metzger

This week, I am taking a different turn in my weekly columns. I’m not advocating for social change or some “radical” idea. I am, however, advocating for purchasing house plants.

I personally have had plants in my apartment for over a semester now. My roommates and I started out with just four plants: two succulents and two pothos. One of my roommates’ mom was actually the one who got them for us.

Now, a semester later, we have almost 30 plants spread across the living room of our apartment. We have five cacti, three pothos, six jade plants, a string of pearls, a string of bananas, two ivy, a sansevieria, a spider plant, a turtle vine, an American rubber plant, a compact dragon tree, a “donkey tail” succulent, two echeveria succulents and a “many fingers” succulent. I am immensely proud of my collection so far and I am hoping to continue expanding as the weather warms up.

Even though one of my roommates said I have gone a little overboard with the whole plant thing, I do think I have found myself a good hobby, something I am proud of. You see, I stay at home for most of the week because both my classes and my job are virtual, meaning I have no reason to leave the house, nor would I want to with the pandemic still raging across Iowa. 

So having these plants give me something to focus on, something to care about other than classwork and my never-ending job here at the Iowa State Daily. They give me a reason to go out into the daylight and not stay huddled over my laptop. They give me a reason to get out of bed when I don’t have the energy to do so. They give me a reason to generally care about my well-being so that I know I can continue to care for them. 

They’re like my children. I get upset when they get hurt or are not feeling well. I get excited when I see them perking up to reach out toward the sun. Just looking at them can change my mood in an instant for better or worse depending on their health. 

It’s honestly a weird relationship that I didn’t think about until writing this column. I provide them with water and positions in sunlight and they provide me with oxygen and emotion triggers, something I need to break up the monotony of the days.

The Sill states on their website that “indoor plants don’t just look good – they can make us feel good, too.” 

And I completely agree. Various studies have shown that indoor plants can do multiple things for us:

  • Boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity

  • Reduce your stress and fatigue

  • Help clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen

  • Are therapeutic to care for, meaning that it can improve your mood just to water them

So what is not to love about having plants? They can make you happy, reduce your stress and help reduce toxins in your home all at the same time!

Plants are not always expensive either. Succulents are especially cheap due to their popularity right now. If you are seeking rare or particularly large plants then they will obviously tend to be in the higher end of the price range, however if you are just seeking something common and easy to care for, then those plants tend to definitely be in the affordable price range.

One thing I do want to point out is that, like everything else in life, it is better to buy local or from small businesses. Ames has plenty of places to buy plants from. Now of course you can go to Walmart, Lowe’s or Earl May — and I have done so many times, however, plants from those locations may either be low-quality plants or pricy plants (in the case of Earl May), reducing the chance that you can find anything you can actually afford or are even interested in.

Ames does also have small businesses that sell plants, a couple that I know of are Back Alley House Plants, located at 111 Main St., and Ames Antiques, located at 3011 S Duff Ave. These two locations are not corporations seeking to sell things as quickly as possible, they are small businesses seeking to serve their community and customers and part of that service is great plants. I also want to give a shout out to Tammys Happy Plants who sold me some of my newest plants, the store is not located in Ames, but is located in Bondurant.

If I missed any other local plant businesses that you think should be included or that I should shop at (or if you would just like to talk about plants) please contact me at [email protected]. I am always excited to shop at small businesses and buy new plants!

So if you have the money and the space, go buy a plant today. You may be surprised at how happy it will make you.