Congratulations… It’s a Plant!

I am a proud Plant Mom and highly recommend that you become one as well. If not to decorate your room, then to boost your mood or relieve stress (and purify your air).

For just over one year now, I have been growing and caring for a succulent plant which I call “Fleece.” Just like my favorite stuffed animal from childhood (also named “Fleece”), my succulent came in a pot in the form of a sheep. Giving my succulent a name has helped me connect with it and truly feel responsible for its well-being.

Taking care of plants is much like taking care of pets. Although they can’t verbally communicate, you must continue to feed them and check on them. Like a pet, my succulent has often provided physical indications of its health based on its color, the texture of its flowers, and the direction in which it’s growing. Like a pet, Fleece has kept me company through the highs and lows of a UC Berkeley education. 

Girl studying surrounded by plants

Tending to Fleece has been the first step of my weekend routine after I get out of bed for 14 months now. Specifically, I water and rotate Fleece every Saturday, just like I have since I purchased the succulent from my local grocery store. In fact, there is a specific succulent-sized box that is currently sitting in my closet for when I move back to my parents’ home for Christmas.

As the first plant of my own, I joked when I got Fleece that I had become a first-time “Plant Mom.” However, this title is no longer a joking matter. While I learned how to live by myself in college, the succulent simultaneously taught me how to care for another living thing. Not only am I happy to report that Fleece is at least three inches taller than her original height but that I’m now the proud owner of a second succulent — in an elephant pot.

house plants

Ultimately, I never thought that a plant could play such a prominent, health-giving role in my life. Especially amid the pandemic, this relationship has given me a greater sense of purpose from day to day, as well as a reason to smile when I study at my desk next to the window. Especially when the weekend comes around, having to water Fleece motivates me not to waste the day away in bed but appreciate the beautiful and reciprocal nature of plants.

It is so calming to care for plants and so fascinating to see what their growth is able to teach us about our own. Thanks to Fleece and my new elephant friend, I have an established routine to keep me grounded, as well as living proof of my maturation from an anxious wreck of a college freshman to a self-assured sophomore. Now, to return the favor, I’m going to study hard and try to bring home some As. 

Go out and buy a succulent (or two)! They require little water compared to the big smiles they produce.