Updated: Nov 7
Plants are not the first choice as pets for most people. Plants can't whimper for food like our adorable dogs nor do they cuddle with you silently like cats. Plants are wonderful self-sufficient beings that can be wonderful contenders for pets. The sad part is that even though we are surrounded by plants, we don't know much about them. Most of us learn about them in school mainly through a forced curriculum. But, what primary education fails to teach us is the joy of growing plants and the wonderful creatures they are.
Calling them creatures may be scientifically wrong but it helps accentuate them as living beings whom we have a parasitic relationship with. Living in an urban setting, in densely populated areas where it's an insurmountable task to get fresh vegetables, let alone start gardening in constricted places, it can be hard to realize that. Gardening in an urban setting is still akin to sailing in uncharted territories. Supplies are hard to find, hawkers often sell overpriced leaf plants that die after a few days, and online stores charge dirt like gold and it's not even the gold that gardeners like. Stick around and we can laugh at the joke together. But, it doesn't have to be as difficult as it is currently. People have been farming for centuries with minimal help, and you can do it too. You can also start with our 5-point guide to urban gardening. But you still prefer your fluffy friends over a cold unmoving plant, you say? Read on.
It's alright to kill your plants There's no easy way to say this but it IS alright to kill your plants. Pushing aside the impossible scene of forgetting to feed your cute little puppy and having to bury its body in your background in a sequel of pet cemetery, you have the chance to learn by trial & error as you ease into getting used to taking care of another living being. You may end up losing a few of your wonderful plants but then they are almost impossible to kill off if kept under the right conditions. As an added point, your neighbours won't try to call the police if you are seen burning or burying a dead plant. The author vouches for this as a serial plant murderer. Think of this scenario: You are stretched for time throughout the day or you are away at your office leaving your pet all alone & sad. You have the responsibility to feed them, clean after them & give them company as a responsible parent and everyone should be able to do that so why not start with a few plants that will only need to be watered once every few days and will beautify your space? Always remember: A dried-up plant will bounce back fairly easily even if you water it a day late, not a puppy. Ok, that's enough darkness for now. Let's look at the positives.
The food. Free food to be precise. Flowers are beautiful & that's what we gravitate towards when we first get into gardening. While there's no denying the aesthetic that they contribute to your house, there's no harm in mixing it along with a few herbs. Easy-to-grow herbs like parsley, spinach & mustard greens can easily thrive in small constraint spaces will little to no care. Your pomeranian may be cute but they are not a sustainable food source that can regenerate. Although, I would advise you to not start with a fruiting plant like pepper or tomato. They generally require more care & special conditions like full sun & good fertilization. For safe gardening, read our guide on easy-to-grow herbs on your balcony.
Mental health advantages Numerous research studies have found that gardening positively impacts mental health. People have discovered that we crave our connection to nature, especially in the concrete jungle that we live in. Like having a furry friend by your side, the act of taking care of a plant every day and reaping the fruit after a while does wonders for the anxiety & stress that we often find ourselves in.
Personal growth & patience While this may be considered a subset of mental health, gardening really cements the point of patience & steady efforts across to you. If you start gardening from scratch which is growing plants from seeds, you will really start to appreciate the process of sowing a small seed into the soil, watching it grow into a big plant & start giving you food & company as you steadily water it & take care of it. In a world of hustle & competition, growing plants can just be a hobby to take your mind off things while growing your character. Read our easy guide to being a successful plant parent.
It's easy to grow plants. We have mentioned this already before. Well, we needed to do it again. Gardening isn't an old person's hobby anymore that you take up after you retire into the countryside. Plants are self-sufficient being unlike animals & they can survive with little to no human interference. In fact, most of the time human interference is the only thing that ends up killing them off. Local plants that have adapted to your environment can easily survive any harsh conditions of little water to heavy rainfall with proper soil & sun. We agree that plants aren't as interesting or lively as an animal can be. But, they can be the just right thing to start with if you are not ready to commit to taking care of a living animal. P.S. The author has been an owner of many wonderful pet animals that have lived long past their natural age and has nothing against them. He still loves his plants more though.