On International Plant Appreciation Day on April 13, plant lovers throughout the world get together to express their appreciation for these green oxygen machines. To properly honor this natural gift, the event also discusses the myriad benefits plants provide to the environment, such as improving air quality, creating small wildlife habitats, and making dwellings more visually appealing. Furthermore, this day occurs in spring, which is the prime tree and plant growing season. With 66% of U.S. houses already having at least one houseplant and an increasing number of worldwide families following suit, we are well on our way to a plant-e-full existence of greenery and clean(er) living.
History of International Plant Appreciation Day
While we don’t know the history of this day just yet, we are all caught up in how plants became an integral part of our lives — and our homes. Ever since the emergence of the ancient civilizations, people have been enamored with plants. Multiple archaeological sites show evidence of plants grown in pots, and Egyptian tomb paintings from the 16th century contain some of the earliest evidence of ornamental horticulture and landscape design.
With the 17th century came colonization, and thus increased exposure to different species of plants. Explorers would carry exotic plants back to their land for cultivation, and the idea to grow plants inside buildings became popular. Britain’s introduction of various tropical plants from nations like North America, Asia, Australia, and Africa enhanced the popularity of indoor plants and perhaps influenced the invention of various gardening contraptions. The invention that had the earliest — and, at that time, highest — the greatest impact was the ‘Wardian case,’ a sealed glass case perfect for growing and transporting plants, which was created by London doctor Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward in the 1930s. Ward’s invention allowed the Britains to import plants easily and forever changed how they were cultivated throughout the world.
Whereas plants were formerly only used to cover surfaces in upper-class homes, by the 19th and 20th centuries, everyone was on board. Gardening and planting became ubiquitous, and people around the world grew both exotic and native plants in their homes and gardens. The humble plant has likewise risen in the world. Where once it adorned the corners of homes, parks, and gardens, it now holds a position of honor wherever it is cultivated. The broad love of the environment and green living means that more and more people are embracing plants, which can only be healthy for the earth.
International Plant Appreciation Day timeline
Early humans enclose their outdoor spaces, initially to build a barrier against animals and other marauders, but later, to be used as 'garden' areas for various plants.
Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius writes what will become one of the earliest design manuals in the world — “De architectura (On Architecture)”— which focuses on landscape design, and designs of parks and squares, among others.
A cult-favorite Italian movie series called “Fantozzi” shows how important an employee is by the number of ficus plants in their office — seventh-levels had one tree, fifth-levels had two, and the director had five ficus plants.
A National Gardening Survey from the previous year shows that of the six million people who took up gardening — five million of these are Millennials.
International Plant Appreciation Day FAQs
What are the benefits of houseplants?
According to various psychological studies, indoor plants keep you healthy and happy. They can reduce fatigue, lower stress, and anxiety, improve work performance, enhance focus, and even boost healing.
How do plants improve your mood?
One study conducted in 2007 found that a bacterium in plant soil — called ‘Mycobacterium vaccae’ — can trigger serotonin in humans, thus lifting our mood as we interact with the outdoors and plants.
What’s the most popular flower in gardens?
The rose — all shades and types — is one of the most common flowers in the world, and is found in gardens, parks, and people’s homes.
International Plant Appreciation Day Activities
Create a green space for yourself
International Plant Appreciation Day is the perfect time to gain more exposure to plants and what better way to start than to plant a few plants in and around your home. Plant them outside in your backyard/front yard, or get a little indoor plant to spruce up your interior.
Encourage others to embrace plants too
Involve others in your planting and gardening activities, so they learn to appreciate nature more. You can even entice them into creating their own green spaces by gifting them produce and plant cuttings from your garden.
Switch bouquets for plants
Going to a birthday party? Visiting your folks? Gift plants instead of bouquets and flower baskets. It's a better, healthier, greener, and longer-lasting option.
5 Facts About Plants And Gardens
Garden means 'enclosure'
Specifically, the words 'garden' and 'yard' have been derived from the old English word 'geard,' which means 'fence' or 'enclosure' — a boundary created by the earliest humans way back in 10,000 B.C.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
This garden — one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — is described as an engineering feat that looked like a large green mountain and boasted a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines.
Plants can hear
Some studies suggest plants thrive in environments where music — mostly jazz and classical music — plays at 115 Hz and 250 Hz, for about one to three hours a day.
Plants love when you speak to them
Research by the Royal Horticultural Society showed plants grew faster when their plant parents spoke to them, but only if spoken to nicely — yelling had the opposite effect.
The oldest living tree
The Ginkgo Biloba — native to China — is the last living tree species of the Ginkgoales species, which first appeared on the earth some 290 million years ago.
Why We Love International Plant Appreciation Day
Because we love plants
They make our surroundings more beautiful. They make our living spaces greener. Plus, they look absolutely wonderful!
Plants are also healthy
They quite literally give us life. Looking at plants is known to be a mood booster, and many therapies advocate spending time among plants for better mental health.
We're forced to care
If we're taking care of a plant, we'd need to shower it with attention and love. If we're simply appreciating them from afar, we're still caring for something more than just yourself. Our sense of community and kinship with nature gets stronger.
International Plant Appreciation Day dates