Indoor plants are not only aesthetically-pleasing in a home, adding pops of colour and helping to bring the outside in, but they’ve also been found to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. One study found that a bacterium in plant soil — from both indoor and outdoor plants — triggered the release of serotonin, which lifts mood and reduces anxiety.
But while the addition of indoor plants is a clear win for any home, next comes the question of which foliage to welcome. Because whether you’re a first-time plant parent — or have unfortunately killed every plant you’ve owned — caring for plants can be daunting.
Enter 2022’s plant of the year: the baby rubber plant. Technically called Peperomia obtusifolia, the plant was crowned by the experts at leading American flower and plant delivery company 1-800-Flowers as the plant to own for this year.
Conveniently, and also part of the reason it was chosen as the winner, the baby rubber plant is also one of the easiest to care for. It thrives in indirect sunlight and, because its succulent-like leaves retain moisture, only needs to be watered when the soil is dry — typically ranging from once a week in the summer to up to two weeks in the winter.
It’s also easy to propagate, making it a gift that keeps on giving. It grows multiple ‘pups’, which can be cut and replanted to produce new plants that can be added to other rooms or gifted to someone else.
“It’s something unique and different in terms of the look and feel,” Alfred Palomares, Vice President of Merchandising at 1-800-Flowers.com. “It’s interesting, it’s distinctive, and it’s really easy to care for. All of those things that this plant stands for tie back to the sentiment for 2022.”
Palomares says the baby rubber plant was also chosen as plant of the year because of what it symbolises: good fortune, good luck and happiness. “All those qualities tie back to the idea of 2022 being about joy and happiness,” he says.
Plants, in general, have been in increased demand since the start of the pandemic, as we all spent more time indoors, and wanted to reap their aesthetic and mental health benefits. Palomares says those in lockdown were looking to the plants for comfort, as well as its help clearing the air and uplifting home offices.
“It’s high impact in terms of its beauty that it’s going to give to your home with those rich, glossy leaves,” he says.
And, as more and more of us return to the office this year, giving us less time to complete chores at home, the baby rubber plant’s low maintenance requirement makes it incredibly ideal. All these factors make it easy to see why it was chosen as 2022’s plant of the year.