Finding happiness one bloom at a time

Stuck at home? Bring a little bit of happiness to your life with flowers this winter.

Amaryllis flowers
Amaryllis are a great addition to any holiday décor.

Many of us have been safe at home for many months. One way to make your homestay a little cheerier is to add flowers. A recent study published by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, PhD, reports that research now proves flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. A professor of psychology at Rutgers University, Haviland’s study reported participants felt less depressed, anxious and agitated around flowers. This confirms a long–held belief about flowers, as Haviland noted, “Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy.” In other studies, it is also noted that workspace is positively affected when flowers are present, to which Haviland commented, “Flowers bring about positive feelings in those who enter a room.”

So how can you bring a little bit of happiness to your life with flowers this winter? Cut flowers are always great, but there are also many flowering plant options available for gardeners as well. Flowering plants tend to be a better value as they last longer, some for many years.

During winter months, forcing bulbs indoors is a great way to do some cold weather gardening. Easy winter favorites that are readily available now include are Paperwhites (narcissus sp.) and Amaryllis. Paperwhites and Amaryllis are tropical bulbs and do not require a cold period. Both types are a great addition to any holiday décor.

African violets are another all-time favorite that does well indoors and can be easily propagated by leaf cuttings. The stem of the violet can be placed in water or in soil for easy rooting and many violets can be started from just one stem cutting. Start several at a time and pass the happiness around by sharing with friends and family!

African violet
African violet

Orchids are another great indoor plant that has become very popular in recent years. Orchids are a very affordable option, these flowers last weeks at a time, re-flower, require little care and come in a variety of interesting colors, shapes and sizes. As a result, orchids have become an all-around “go to” plant for all occasions.

These recommendations are not the only plants that will flourish inside this winter. Potted miniature roses, holiday cactus, kalanchoes, periwinkles and primroses are also good options and can be transplanted to a semi-shady outdoor location this spring. In addition, there are always interesting options at local grocery stores and box stores. Head to a retail location near you to see what new plants and varieties are available, as well as old favorites.

Michigan State University Extension encourages you to let the inner gardener in you nurture a plant during these winter months. It will lift your spirits and bring happiness to those you live and work with!

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