Ahhhh parenthood – early morning wakeup calls, remembering to give them food, making sure they drink enough water, and encouraging them to get outside for some Vitamin D. We aren’t talking about just humans here, introducing the parental duties of pets and plants.
Many people claim that they cannot keep a plant alive to save their life or that their green thumb must have been forgotten from their fingers. Well, if you are the parent of a child or of a pet, we are here to tell you: you’ve got this.
To all of the parents of actual children out there, if you have a child, growing and caring for a plant is night and day comparatively. Plants do not require constant attention or whine about what snacks are in the pantry.
You do not have to take plants shopping for school supplies or new shoes.
You do not have to make plants dinner or make sure that they get to bed on time.
This laundry list of items is not required for the growth and health of a plant. So, you are well equipped to nurture a plant to grow up for success.
Now, for all of the pet parents out there. Allow me to explain to you how the simple act of owning a pet can translate into a healthy parenthood for your plant. Here are three reasons why pet parents make amazing plant parents:
1. It is important to make sure your pets and plants are properly hydrated.
Plants and pets need water throughout the day, however, a great time to remember to give them the water they need is during the morning or in the evening.
As a parent of a pet, generally, one of the first things you do in the morning is let your dog out, get them their food, and fill up their water. You can treat your journey as a plant parent in the same way – get up and care for them right when you wake up, as well as check on them throughout the day.
Watering your garden in the morning will allow “water [to be] available to the plants throughout the day” resulting in plants being better equipped to handle the heat of the day.
2. Your fur babies, as well as your plant babies need proper sunlight or time spent outdoors in order to thrive.
Every pet needs time spent outdoors, playing, and enjoying the sunshine to live a happy, healthy life. This is why we take our dogs on walks, bring our pets to the park, and let them play outside for hours upon hours.
The same is needed for plant babies.
You can take them on a walk in a red wagon if you wish, or if that isn’t your style, you can simply move them to a location where they get the proper amount of sunlight – not too much, not too little.
The sweet spot for sun exposure of a plant differs depending on the type of plant, but generally, a garden needs around three to six hours of sunlight per day.
Give those kids that Vitamin B!
3. Spending time with your pet or outside with plants can bring you a sense of calm and happiness.
You know the sudden burst of joy that comes to fruition when you see a cat doing something silly, a cute dog playing at a park, or a parrot talking to you. You cannot help but smile. When I was in college, there were several instances where different classes and organizations would bring in a litter of puppies for students and faculty to play with in an effort to relieve anxieties and stressors.
This feeling is real – scientists have found that “people who have pets tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rate, and heart-disease risk than those who don’t”. Due to these findings, pets are being incorporated into therapy at many hospitals and schools. Plants, nature, and being outside can have a similar effect.
Spending time gardening and in nature has been shown to increase “generosity, cooperation, kindness, creativity, social connection, and resilience—not to mention less nervousness, anxiety and fear” (Keltner). Get outside and play, folks!
Read more on plants and nature contributing to your mental health on our blog, The Sage.