What's a low-cost air filter and natural mood enhancer that can brighten just about any space? Nope, it's not some sleek new high-tech device — it's the common houseplant.
And it's having a moment.
Just ask Nadia Suzanna. As the owner of an eponymous floral studio in Queens, NY, Suzanna has found that plants have the marvelous ability to transform both body and mind. "There are wonderful ways we can share emotions we don't always express through flowers and nature," she says. "And plants, like artwork, have the ability to transport you. You're creating a space that is reminiscent of places, times or people that give you energy and power."
A multi-degreed professional with a resume that reads like a who's who of financial powerhouses, Suzanna pivoted five years ago from finance to florals. Not entirely new to this pursuit, Suzanna had practiced floral arranging as a stress-relieving hobby throughout her high-powered career.
But, as exciting as this professional reinvention was, it also arrived during a time of personal loss. "I had recently lost my stepmom to cancer," she explains. "As you get older and have these turning points in your life that are sadly punctuated by pain or loss or hurt, it brings a lot of things into focus."
Suzanna realized that plants could be a form of therapy — not just for herself but for others as well.
One way to bring more green into your life is to think of plants as an interior design element, like artwork or a comfortable chair. When Victoria Smith, founder of the lifestyle blog SF Girl By Bay, moved from her San Francisco, CA, apartment to a single-family home in Los Angeles, she immediately took advantage of her newfound space to create several vignettes with plants — both useful and decorative.
"I now have herbs growing on my window sill like rosemary, basil, sage and thyme," she says. Suzanna agrees that herb gardens are an easy way to harness the benefits of houseplants. She points out that they add to the design of your home, and provide a triple plant therapy package that touches on the environmental, psychological and dietary.
"I also have a huge fiddle-leaf fig in my bathroom that stretches across the tub, framing a window that looks out over the trees in the yard. I can lie in the tub and literally feel like I'm outside," Smith says.
A statement plant like Smith's fig can add vibrancy to a vacant space like a blank wall. Other plants (such as orchids, rubber trees or nasturtium) can soften edges and lead the eye, creating a focal point compared to parts of your house that you're not as aesthetically in love with. Ultimately, the right plant choices can result in an area that feels more inviting or provides a burst of creativity and inspiration to a work space.
Smith also has myriad potted plants adorning her porch that add a natural and welcoming pop of color to the exterior of her home. Of course, trying to mimic the look created by a professional photographer and photo stylist might feel daunting, but don't worry — just lean on the pros at your local garden center for help. "Find a nursery nearby that you trust — a small one if possible," she recommends. "They're not like the big box stores. I can ask them if one of my plants isn't doing well. They'll show you how to do things."
Over the centuries, humans have learned to build modern nests inside four walls, surrounded by sheetrock and a bit of paint. The need to touch dirt and the things that grow in it, however, is real and instinctual. It's part of slowing down, logging off, and reconnecting with nature and where we come from.
When Suzanna takes a moment to consider the reasons behind her business' blossoming success, she comes to two conclusions: First, customers use the arrangements as a way to communicate complicated feelings to friends or family. And, second, those recipients, in turn, boost their emotional well-being by caring for them. "It's a powerful thing to realize that you're being thought of — that someone is holding you in their heart," she explains. "It really does something for a person's mood and spirit."
Ready to brighten up your home or work space? Consider these four pointers on plants from floral designer Nadia Suzanna.
The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article.