Houseplants can be beneficial in a range of ways – improving the air quality in your home, and helping you feel calmer. But they might not always be quite as sustainable or eco-friendly as you might think.
Those who are interested in living in a more sustainable way often begin by thinking about re-greening their living spaces. This involves not only switching out certain products for more sustainable ones, but also generally living in a way that makes you feel more a part of the natural world. For many, especially those who are not lucky enough to have a garden, houseplants play a crucial role in making a greener, healthier home and also providing that sense of connection.
When people rush out to buy plants for your home, however, they do not always take the time to consider where exactly those plants came from, and how eco-friendly they really are.
Unfortunately, many houseplant providers import plants from far and wide, without necessarily considering the carbon costs. They often grow non-organically, and there is often no transparency about what fertilizers, pesticides etc. may have been used. And there can often be high costs embodied in heating large greenhouses in the industry.
Houseplants are also often grown in peat-based composts. Finding providers who do not grow in peat can be a real challenge. In fact, Harriet’s Plants is the only peat-free option I know of in the UK. As I have mentioned before, peat bogs are precious ecosystems – carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots. We are doing immense harm when we make options which involve not keeping that peat in the ground.
And, of course, the plants those selling houseplants offer often come in plastic pots. And I am sure that most people are by now aware of the problematic nature of this use of plastic.
I really don’t wish to put people off having houseplants in their homes. But being more aware of the sustainability and environmental issues surrounding houseplants can help us make the right choices – and to pressure businesses we buy from so that they make the right choices too.
Remember, looking for the most sustainable houseplants you can, keeping your plants alive for as long as possible, and propagating as many plants as you can at home, can help make you a more sustainable houseplant grower.