Blue? Try green instead!

snake plant

snake plantEver get a case of the winter blahs? Short days and long nights give you the blues? A little green life will energize your space! You’ll feel better with oxygen and a touch of nature.

During my week off for Thanksgiving, I wrote 5,000 words on my memoir. (I’m so close to finishing!) As I wrote, I realized that one of my characters wasn’t human; it was my first houseplant.

I was 20 when my housemate gave me this plant. Almost 25 years later, this plant still lives with me. It’s survived the zaniness of my 20s, the unintentional neglect of my 30s when I was child-centered and more unintentional neglect during my outwardly focused life of my 40s.

It even survived a trip across the country from California to Missouri in a cardboard box through the mail with no soil on its roots.

This plant cheers me up. It’s been an important part of my path toward wellness. Upright and green, it never tires of stretching for the light. It reminds me that I have to keep growing and stretching for the love of God that nourishes me as sure as the sun sustains my plant.

Consider yourself a true black thumb? Known for your plant-killing reputation? Do you also tend to push yourself too hard, often ignoring your body and running yourself ragged? Taking care of plants is one of the simplest and most satisfying ways of care taking. By nurturing another living thing, you will slow down and take better care of yourself.

Good plants for busy people

Two common problems with plant care are over-watering and incorrect light.

aloeBefore you imagine me as some magical plant-raising fairy who makes vines swirl up with the twist of my glittery green finger, I’ll admit that I have killed many a plant. Many.

Before I was a mom, I could care for the finicky ones. Misting an African violet, or doing daily trimming and fussing, all that used to be possible before motherhood and the demands of life. Now I stick to the ones who can live with the level of care I can give them (read, minimal).

These are my longtime reliable friends. I recommend them as the best place to start if you’re new to plants.

  • Spider plant (extra benefit: this one purifies the air for you!)
  • Pothos (free if you know someone growing this! You can take a cutting and start a new one easily)
  • Snake plant (obviously, a beloved one of mine! This one also purifies the air and removes the formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide produced by fuel-burning appliances)
  • Rubber plant
  • Jade plant (some Asian cultures believe this one will bring you good fortune!)
  • Aloe (nice to keep in the kitchen in case you get a burn! A gift from a friend at church, the one shown in the photo sits on the sill so we can enjoy it while washing dishes)
  • Zebrina (another plant that is easy to start with a cutting)

What do plants need?

  • Light and location
  • Water
  • Soil and nourishment
  • Attention

Sound familiar? Give yourself the equivalent.

Light and location

Make sure you get enough light this winter!

Spiritual meditation on light
For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:6


Plenty of water will keep you healthy, hydrated and better able to fend off viruses.

Spiritual meditation on water
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
You water its furrows abundantly,
you settle its ridges,
you soften it with showers,
you bless its growth
Psalm 65:9a,10

Soil and nourishment

Following nature’s rhythm is healing. Wellness comes from a supportive environment and encouraging people. What are you grounded in? Learn from the plant world. Deepen your spiritual roots in good earth. Lengthen your branches to the sky.

Spiritual meditation on soil
Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!
Joel 2:20-22


What are you paying attention to? Worldly temporary things like technology? Or the inner peace that surpasses understanding? The actions and thoughts you feed will grow stronger. Feed the right things.

Spiritual meditation on attention

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…
Romans 8:6

Remember, connect with nature for wellness this winter. Replace your blues with green!

Bonus: you can enjoy a two-minute meditative slideshow video featuring my office plants:

Please add your thoughts in the comments below and also be sure to share which plants are your favorites!

2 thoughts on “Blue? Try green instead!

  1. I am glad that you included some suggestions for houseplants that are ‘easy keepers’ because I am currently killing my second fern. We had these at our wedding and they loved living in Berkeley but hate Alabama. Houseplants are a lot of work in my opinion. I couldn’t attempt their care when I was mothering young children. I am impressed you have loved one for so many years.

  2. I do love plants, but I don’t have any. I might have to change that. I also love the list of easy keepers. Great post.

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