There are two things in this life that make me really happy: Spending time with people I care about and plants. (Also food, but that’s the topic for another piece.) And while my plant obsession is a usually a solo activity — minus the times I force my boyfriend to look at a new leaf springing up or a flower I didn’t notice before — I’ve come to realize that plant-related activities can be a great way to spend time with established friends and cement new friendships.
I don’t think anyone questions the fact that people are spending more time indoors, away from the natural world and isolated from other humans, than ever in human history. We’re all freaking out in our houses and offices with our various devices and, I don’t think coincidentally, we’re also in the midst of a major houseplant craze.
Studies have shown that plants significantly boost mood, attention, creativity, and even productivity. A 2012 study from University of Munich researchers found, for example, that just the color green boosted the creativity of the responses of 69 study participants to a series of questions. Another study, from Japanese and Indonesian researchers in 2016, found that the more plants were in a room, the better the mood of the study subjects.
So, plants are awesome. But so are real human interactions with real human beings, which is another thing a lot of us are missing in our lives. Plant-related group activities are an excellent remedy for both the lack of nature and the lack of human connection in many of our lives. Sharing your love of living green things can bring you closer to friends you’ve lost touch with or help you establish new friendships, so here are seven plant-related activities you can do with friends.