Spring flowers and plants are great for your mental health


Purple lilacs, a pink tulip and light pink carnations in a glass vase against a floral tile backsplash. Photo by Brittany Cinderella

Brittany Cinderella, Columnist

As the snow has finally melted, pops of color begin to sprout out of the grass. Spring is here. I’ve always thought I was a winter person until spring came around. My mom and I planted a ton of flower bulbs last year, so tulips, daffodils and peonies are beginning to show their colors. 

The absolute best part about my house are the eight lilac bushes that were in my backyard when I moved in. They make the entire yard smell sweet and fresh, whilst also adding a pop of purple to an otherwise green yard. Alongside the purple, we have a beautiful cherry blossom tree that drops petals all over to add dashes of pink.

The idea of spring finally being here and going to the farmers market reminded me how much I loved flowers. Every time I go to Safeway, I will look for carnations to put in my monarch butterfly vase. Although they don’t last forever (unlike my succulent plants), I get a weird sense of relaxation from having bright and beautiful flowers that nature created. In a way, flowers have really helped my mental health lately. 

A study done by the State University of New Jersey looked at how flowers might improve emotional health. According to an analysis done by the Society of American Florists site aboutflowers.com, those who received flowers felt less depressed, anxious and agitated when given flowers. 

When I think about flowers, the first things that come to mind are gifts for others, celebrations and Mother’s Day. This past Mother’s Day, I got my mom African Violets from Ellensburg Floral, and was able to snag a succulent for myself. While flowers are full of colors, I have found a lot of comfort in the “easy plants,” such as succulents and bamboo. With a succulent-themed kitchen, I find a lot of joy in putting succulents of many types in the window sill and bamboo plants in spots that can’t get as much light.

If you are looking for easy plants, I recommend bamboo plants. At most, you have to make sure there is water in the glass that’s holding it, and that it has some sort of support so it won’t fall over. 

In Ellensburg, I’ve realized there are two natural colors we mostly see, green and white. In the winter and cold months, we see snow and gray skies with rain, but once spring and summer roll around, we see green grass, trees and plants. A study published in the Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment had 29 participants react to different colors of a leaf, measuring participants’ eye movements and brain activity. 

“The dark green colored plants can be used to make a place more relaxing and calming… green-yellow and bright green colored plants can be used to make a place more pleasant, exciting and… can increase a sense of strength,” according to the team’s findings. Even red plants were found to have significance in creating a luxurious environment. 

Whether you’re a plant enthusiast, have a green thumb or have no knowledge about plants, it’s worth getting started. The CWU Greenhouse and Vivarium has events every Friday from 1-3 p.m. where you can visit and pick up a free plant! Don’t want to commit? Fake plants count too! I had fake plants for a few years before committing to my first real plant. I encourage you to explore the world of plants, they might also improve your mental health.