why do people own decorative plants?

Is it just a cultural thing?

Because, they’re decorative.

There is something pleasing to my psyche about having something green and growing in the house. Our houseplants seem to live a long time, too (probably just luck, and the ones that didn’t make it ended up in the compost pile). I like seeing them grow over the years, and they are always changing with the growth. I have some notion that they are good for the “indoor air”. I like snipping off bits of them, plopping them in water until they sprout roots, and making more plants. I like popping some seeds from produce into soil and seeing if I can make a plant. And yep, I find them attractive, so they add to the decor.

Edited to add–also make a handy recepticle for the last third of my beverage. :slight_smile: Our plants seem to thrive on being watered occasionally with cold tea, coffee, etc.

right, but why are plants considered decorative?

Why are paintings considered decorative? Why is sculpture considered decorative? Mirrors?
I like having house plants. I can’t explain “why” any more than someone who doesn’t appreciate green plants in their house can explain “why not”. I just like them.

Yes, in that some cultures do this and other cultures do not. It’s worth considering that the natural environment of Homo sapiens includes plants, and that office buildings are a relatively recent phenomenon in human history. They may be considered aesthetically pleasing because the invoke a pleasant part of the environment we’ve spent the last couple of hundred thousand years in.

An interesting factoid is that humans can differentiate between shades of green better than any other color–likely because green is what our natural environment mostly was.

This is probably better suited for IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

well, I figured it had something to do with the fact that people would want to be in a place that seemed fertile enough to provide food or something, but why some plants and not others? I was hoping for some data, but I guess there is no accounting for taste.

Sensitive Plants (Mimosa pudica) have pretty leaves which wiggle when you touch them, and beautiful pink puffball flowers, but the plant also is a thorny annual which gets gangly as it grows larger. These later attributes make it not a good candidate for decorating your living space.

It’s actually more likely that we needed to be able to identify fruits that were turning from green to whatever color indicated that they were ripe - yellows, oranges, reds - so that we could easily find the ones that were tasty and delicious. Yum.

Odd. I was just thinking the other day about how green was the hardest color for me to differentiate.

Because they are used for decoration.

Are we talking real plants or artificial? I noticed a strong correlation between people who have “fancy” things in their environment (decorative soaps and towels in the bathroom, Rococo-styled furniture, tacky knickknacks, etc) and ownership of artificial plants.

Related question: Why does my daughter-in-law have certain towels in her guest bathroom tied in place with lacy ribbons? She could just put up a sign that said DON’T USE THESE and it would be equally effective.

But not as attractive.

With the lacy ribbon, at least you can think that maybe somebody rates highly enough to untie those ribbons and actually use the towels, although in reality, nobody gets to do that.

I cannot STAND artificial plants. My house is filled with real houseplants; I even have an enclosed patio that I use as a year-round greenhouse. For me, I love the feeling of sharing my space with other living things. And even more so, it’s the reason why I have cats. And yes, the kitties love the patio.

That’s a tough one; I’ll let you know right after I figure out why food is considered tasty.

Some are decorative and some aren’t. And some decorative plants are not suitable for cultivation, as when they are invasive and can cause severe skin irritation, scarring and blindness. Others are highly decorative but may be considered illegal to grow.

It’s a complicated world.

Even more puzzling - why don’t people have ribbons tied around fancy toilet paper that you’re not supposed to use? Think of the lovely decorative patterns that could be off-limits.

Many of the most popular varieties of houseplants are used simply because they grow well in pots in ordinary houses and don’t have characteristics that would make them unpleasant to have around. Many of them are native to the tropics.

Most people enjoy plants in their environment. I think we might even be hard-wired to, as has been suggested. Personally, I find them relaxing, both the color and shape/motion, and have several inside and more outside on the balcony.

Also, lest we forget that plants clean and refresh the air, some better than others. Some of the most popular houseplants are very effective in this regard (ficus, difenbacia/dumb-cane, to name 2).

Mine, of course, make a handy receptacle and disposal for my unwanted guests. :slight_smile: