Life @ U of T

Introduction

How Houseplants Transformed the Way I Study and Live at Home

How Houseplants Transformed the Way I Study and Live at Home

I hadn’t grown up with a green thumb, so stocking my home with houseplants was the last imaginable scenario for a very long time. The pandemic had changed many things, among them the way we learn. After seeing the houseplants filling the Zoom backgrounds of my professors and classmates, I found an urgency to decorate my home with plants, too.

Having plants in the home serves three functions: to jazz up my video call background, to purify the air around me, and to serve as an aesthetic element for better living. I use this rationale to scope out local plant shops and Facebook Marketplace for low-maintenance houseplants.

I love adding hanging planters to my meeting backgrounds and to my room! This method saves floor space for furniture.

Along with their newer counterparts, some old plants were also collected from on-campus events before the pandemic. I fondly remember painting a terracotta pot that came with a small succulent in the student lounge of St. Michael’s College. I also have a vague memory of doing the same at the Goldring Student Centre at Victoria College, though it is quite likely that this plant had since passed away. A great part of being a plant parent lies in the memories ensnared in the acquisition of each plant. Like framed photos and souvenirs, each of my plants bears a unique narrative.

Today, my plants live predominantly in my room, where I spend a lot of my time studying. There is a lot of work to be done in the presence of those plants, especially in the midst of so many libraries and campus spaces being closed to student access. As such, I believe now is a time more deserving of new plants than ever before. Being in a comfortable, customized space is extremely important to me when studying from home. As well, plants often make for great conversation starters when stuck in a breakout room or visiting virtual office hours.

I found the Calamondin orange plant on the right from a Facebook Marketplace listing.

What’s not to love! I’d love to hear about the plants you’ve picked for your study and/or living space in the comments below.

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