Can houseplants improve your health and wellbeing during lockdown?

  • Report from ITV Granada journalist Lucille Brobbey

University students who developed green fingers at the beginning of the pandemic have spoken of how looking after house plants has dramatically improved their wellbeing.

Jordan Pacho and Uthman Hamid decided to grow and care for plants leaving university for their hometowns during the first lockdown.

The pair only realised they had taken up the same hobby when they returned to the University of Manchester in September 2020.

Since then, they have continued to expand their man-made jungle.

Jordan hanging a plant in his man-made jungle. Credit: Uthman Hamid

Jordan said: "During lockdown growing and looking after plants has been quite a rewarding experience, especially since we are indoors most of the time, it’s nice to have a bit of nature inside as well."

Uthman added: "Because we are all stuck inside nowadays it’s quite hard to meet people especially in the local community, and finding a hobby like this provides a way for you to meet other people with similar passions as you.

"You can organise social distanced plant swaps and stuff like that and I think it helps to keep you quite busy."

The two university students also trade plants in their local community in Manchester. Credit: Jordan Pacho

In September, the 20-year-olds decided to create an Instagram page.

The original plan was to take pictures of the plants and track their growth, but instead they decided to use the page to educate others on how easy it can be to care for plants and help those who did not know where to start. 

Jordan and Uthman will continue to grow their Instagram page throughout university. Credit: Jordan and Uthman

The plant enthusiasts hope to keep growing their Instagram account throughout university and hope to inspire people who are on the fence on whether to buy their first houseplant.

Find out what Jordan and Uthman’s favourite plants are:

Garden centres across the North West have see an increase in plant sales during lockdown.

Hulme Community Garden Centre in Manchester saw a significant rise in the purchasing of houseplants.

Hulme Community Garden Centre Manager Gianetta Grainger said: “As a garden centre that works with lots of community groups, we took an absolute dip on that because obviously with lockdown, but as far as the purchasing for plant sales, that was amazing and our plant sales went up by 50%." 

“We dropped in other aspects of the business, but plants sales were phenomenal and people who had never grown before that wanted to get interested in how they grow with the family and people that maybe dabbled a little bit that wanted to know more. 

"It was good to be able to encourage and also educate people about how they can grow for themselves and their families."

Hulme Garden Centre’s houseplant guru Tim Knight said the main thing they have sold this year has been houseplants, but they have also seen it across the board with their customers.

The garden centre have welcomed a range of age groups from really young people up to middle-aged and older people.

What are the easiest and hardest plant to look after? 

  • Hulme Garden Centre’s Plant Guru Tim Knight

An online plant supplier in Bolton has also seen a spike in the demand for houseplants among younger age groups. 

Director of Oxy-plants John Maree said: "We've seen a lot of repeat customers in their early 20s, essentially stuck in flats all day and tend to be working [from home] and sleeping.

"I guess it’s the companionship that plants can bring along with the psychological benefits." 

What are the benefits of keeping plants in your home?

  • Plants can soak up some of the pollutants and toxins that come from everyday materials including carpets and plastics.

  • Just by having greenery around helps to improve stress levels and helps with your general wellbeing.

  • If you have something to care for the act of caring for something also brings out health and wellbeing benefits.

Uthman's words of wisdom for first-time plant parents: