By Conal Morrison

As a member of Gen Z, I was raised on anything electronic. The outside world during my childhood consisted entirely of school, the supermarket and my friends’ houses. Green was a colour I saw on tv more often than in any other part of my life. So plants and the concept of being a parent to one were pretty foreign to me. 

A little while ago, I decided I wanted to attempt plant parenthood. So I did a little bit of googling to find something easy enough to look after but would still grow into something I could look at and enjoy.

I decided on a Peace Lily, which, if you know anything about house plants, you’ll know should be pretty easy even for a novice like me. It just needs regular watering and a reasonable amount of sun. That’s all. 

Now, it turns out my idea of regular watering and a reasonable amount of sun was not the same as the Peace Lilies’. Within a few weeks, I had something that looked more like withered bok choy than a beautiful flower, and honestly, I’ve been afraid to touch a plant since, for fear of killing it!

So What Is Plant Parenting?

Plant Parenting is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. To be one is to own and take care of a multitude of house plants as part of your daily routine. But for a lot of people, it’s come to mean much more than that. For some, it’s a form of stress relief, a zen moment in their otherwise full-on days. For others, it’s about raising and nurturing new life, and for others still, it’s about brightening up their apartments and bringing some colour into their home. 

Of course, Plant Parenting is not for everyone, and that’s totally okay! Everybody has their own routines, wants and desires. So if you’re looking to bring more variety to your home or trying to find some zen in your day to day life, there are plenty of other ways to do so! Below I’ve put together a shortlist of alternatives that don’t require you to look after a living plant or creature.

Create A Rock Garden

The great thing about a rock garden is that rocks don’t actually need watering, unlike plants! Depending on your living situation, you can scale a rock garden up or down to fit whatever size area you have. You could even build one inside of a little pot plant and use pebbles if you want! 

You can decorate your rock garden any way you like, add miniature gnomes and create a village for them, arrange your rocks to form a pattern or a picture if you have enough space. You can create anything you want with it, go wild. And when it’s done, you’ll have a cool, bespoke little or big piece of art in your home that you really enjoy!

Take Up Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking can be a great stress reliever, and it can help you create something that you will be able to look back through and enjoy as time goes on. Unlike a rock garden, it doesn’t have any space requirements, so you can do it anywhere you like! 

A scrapbook can be about anything; it could consist of your favourite photos and memories. Or maybe it’s a compilation of famous news headlines during your lifetime—almost like a time capsule. The possibilities are endless. There are even scrapbooking clubs, forums and classes you can attend if you want a more social aspect of the hobby in your life.

Learn To Play An Instrument

Everyone loves music, right? Whether you’re a pop fan, a rocker or a country listener, we can all agree that music is epic. So what better way to relax than making your own?

As a guitar and bass player, I’m a little biased, and of course, I want to tell you why you should learn these specifically. But if you really want to learn an instrument, it’s worth taking the time to try out a few different ones before deciding. Playing music and learning to play my favourite songs has been a fantastic source of stress relief and a very fun hobby for me, especially during lockdowns.

While Plant Parenting is cool, it’s most definitely not for everyone. Myself included. If the fear of killing some greenery puts you off, I encourage you to try an alternative. We all need a little something in our lives to help us express ourselves and to wipe away stress. 
So whether you decide to try scrapbooking, make a zen garden out of pebbles or learn to play Sweet Home Alabama on the guitar, I hope you find your alternative to plant parenting!