The Gustavian Weekly

Plant Parenthood: Gustie plant enthusiasts - The Gustavian Weekly

By Tori Smith - Opinion Columnist | November 13, 2020 | Opinion

I think it’s fair to say that campus life isn’t what it used to be. Now that this new “Lay Low” period has begun, it’s even stranger. If you didn’t already feel as if your social life was dwindling, you do now that the school has decided to prohibit students from visiting any other person’s dorm room. The reason behind such a drastic measure is understandable, I guess, but it still sucks.
Although we’re all stuck in our rooms until Thanksgiving, many Gusties have found a common hobby to keep themselves busy. According to yet another poll on my Instagram story, 72% of Gustie participants reported that they own and take care of houseplants. At this rate, we might have more plants on campus than students.
Junior Hannah Reckinger is just one of the many proud plant owners at Gustavus.
“I like taking care of plants because they’re pretty to look at, and it’s neat having something that’s a decoration that also changes overtime,” Reckinger said.
Reckinger says she has four plants with her in her campus dorm room and a whopping ten more at home that her parents watch over while she’s gone.
“They have to water them once a week and I text them every time to remind them,” Reckinger said.
Reckinger says her favorite plant is her golden pothos vine named Daryl.
“I’ve had him since he was just a little leaf. He’s very long now and has little ornaments on him. He’s gone through a lot because he doesn’t like moving, but he gets over it pretty well,” Reckinger said.
Reckinger isn’t the only plant parent to have favorites.
“My prized plant is my neanthe bella, or dwarf palm, who I call Jakob,” Senior Assistant Editor-in-Chief of The Gustavian Weekly Ben Wick said.
Like Wick, many Gusties have some very unique names for their leafy friends.
“I have many succulents, but only named my philodendron, Hope, and my jade, Lucille,” Senior Emily Jesmer said.
Just like with real parenting, taking care of plants comes with some drawbacks.
“I dislike the bugs. Sometimes you get like spider mites or little fruit flies,” Reckinger said.
I don’t know what spider mites are, but they don’t sound like the kind of creatures I’d want living with me in my tiny dorm room.
Another drawback to taking care of plants is the disappointment when a plant decides its time is up.
“What I don’t enjoy is feeling like a bad plant mom when I’m not sure what’s wrong with my babies,” Jesmer said.
Taking care of plants and predicting their every need is a challenge. Are they getting enough sun? Did they get too much sun? Did they get enough water? Did they get too much water? It’s like they say, parenting is a hard job. Junior Allison Schulte knows this lesson well.
“Honestly [my plants] might be dead… I haven’t watered them recently,” Schulte said.
With all the challenges and heartache, taking care of plants also brings out a lot of positivity for people.
“Plants are a source of life, and it helps me in the winter when everything is dead and dark,” Junior Anna-Olivia Machado said.
Machado makes an excellent point about the important role plant-life has in our lives. Many studies show that being exposed to greenery increases recovery from stress and attention fatigue, among many other benefits.
With the entire campus on an even stricter lockdown, many students are more stressed than they’ve ever been. Now that winter is officially around the corner (and just outside our windows), students need as much greenery as they can get their hands on before the snow completely turns everything to white.
If you’re planning on becoming a new plant parent this winter, Reckinger suggests a philodendron and/or a pothos plant to start with because they are very easy to take care of. I would also suggest giving them funny little names, because why not? In fact, writing this article has inspired me to try my hand at plant parenting, too. As soon as I forget about those spider mites, find me at the local greenhouse.

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