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Give Your Houseplants—And Yourself—A Boost of Light This Winter

A little goes a long way when we add a soft, warm glow to our living spaces.

Houseplants warmed by light

One of the markers of personal growth that I’m proudest of over the past couple of years is the proliferation of living houseplants I’ve managed to sustain around my home. Slowly, gradually, I’ve learned how to improve my ability to water, repot, relocate, prune and even propagate my houseplants. 

I coaxed blooms out of a years-old kalanchoe by moving it outdoors in the summer. I dug my “hens and chicks” succulents into a pot and moved it indoors before the first frost, keeping it nicely nested for the winter. And I’ve even gotten so far as to be able to gift plantings whose ancestor still greens my living room.

All the while, I’ve luxuriated in the benefits of nurturing growing things indoors, particularly in the cold and dark winter months. Each time I give a plant a major haircut to encourage fresh growth, perk it up by moving it to a new spot in the house or watch tender roots wind their way out of a cutting into a clear vase of water, I feel a sense of accomplishment, the joy of caring for a living thing in all its beauty and mystery.

The learning process is never done, though. About a month ago, I noticed my plants were surviving, but not thriving. To be honest, as another pandemic winter set in, I felt the same could be said of my own mood and outlook. 

What was missing, I decided, was a little more light. Not an explosion of artificial sunshine through an expensive grow-light setup, but the simple addition of “a little more” warmth and brightness for all the fragile beings under my care.

A quick jaunt around the internet landed me on a set of small, inexpensive LED lights that get “planted” like little mushrooms in the soil of houseplants. I plugged them in, tucked them in, and set them on a timer to augment my plants’ environment from mid-afternoon through (my) bedtime. 

The plants responded beautifully. Their greenery deepened, they put out new growth, and that kalanchoe even graced me with a generous spray of orange flowers. 

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But it was the change in my own mind and body that stood out the most. Not only did I feel pleased and proud of my greening thumb, I also noticed that my evenings felt more cozy, relaxed and warmer with the overhead lights off and those little plant lights plus some other lamps shining out into my space. A few candles complete the sense of cozy, comforting hibernation that meets me right where I am—not riotously growing and thriving, but wrapped lovingly in just a little more light.

A little goes a long way when it comes to light. And we don’t need to pretend it’s not cold or dark to feel at peace. 

Maybe “just a little more light” is all you need today?

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