Plantitos and plantitas alert: How you can avoid plant poaching in indoor gardening

December 31, 2020 - 2:55 PM
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LEGO Botanical Collection
Lego Botanical Collection's flower bouquet and bonsai tree. (Lego/Released)

There are many trends that took Filipinos by storm as they spent much of their time in their houses due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of these is indoor gardening.

Terms such as “plantito/plantita” and “halamom” became the norm as a means to describe people who took interest in taking care of plants, especially during quarantine when the activity appeared to have increased among housebound Filipinos.

Among those who have taken the liberty to spruce up their homes while lockdowns were in place include actresses Kathryn Bernardo, Bea Alonzo, Gabbi Garcia, artist-socialite Heart Evangelista and television host Pauleen Luna.

Psychologist Renz Argao said taking care of plants is a means of engaging in positive activities that benefit our well-being to cope with the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Taking care of plants is also a way to practice mindfulness and can be a positive distraction from your stressors. It is also a good mental and physical exercise,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

Argao added that while the activity may have the same benefits as other coping mechanisms, taking care of plants can improve one’s physical and mental well-being.

“[The] benefit is similar to other positive or adaptive coping. You can get the same effects from practicing other forms of mindfulness, breathing exercises, or engaging in other activities that you enjoy or like, such as baking or cooking or engaging in sports,” he said.

“Plants also improve the quality of air which can help physical and mental well-being,” Argao added.

The popularity of indoor gardening among Filipinos has prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue a warning against purchasing exotic plants from poachers last September.

An official from DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau has reported the rise of traders scouring plants from mountains, forests and protected parks due to the demand in the cities, where majority of “plantitos” and “plantitas” appeared to live.

RELATED: ‘Plant thieves on the loose,’ DENR says amid growing interest in indoor gardening

“While we appreciate the growing interest of the people in maintaining plants in their homes and we understand the need of some to earn, let us be reminded (of respecting) the natural habitat of these plants,” Rhenan Diwas, Assistance City Environment and Parks Management Officer in Baguio, said before.

“Allow them to multiply in the forest rather than constricted in a pot. Let them grow and bloom in public places for everyone to appreciate. We should learn from this pandemic: it is dangerous to encroach on the habitat of wildlife,” he added.

To avoid further incidents of plant poaching, some people can opt for easier yet still creative means of decorating their homes through LEGO‘s decorative Botanical Collection.

The popular Danish toy production company on Thursday revealed a new range of mindful models for the green-fingered which includes a flower bouquet and bonsai tree, all made from colorful lego blocks.

The bouquet, which comes in a 756-piece set, can brighten homes while the bonsai tree can be purchased by those who are looking forward to being more zen in the upcoming year.

Lego flower bouquet (Lego/Released)

Older builders can customize their blooms by adjusting the flower stems to tailor the arrangement for any vase.

“A combination of snapdragons, roses, poppies, asters, daisies, and different grasses can be arranged in the bouquet in a number of ways to suit the mood of the builder and the design of the room,” LEGO said in a release.

Meanwhile, the bonsai tree can be shaped with the traditional green leaves or pink cherry blossoms, prevalent in Japan.

Lego bonsai tree (Lego/Released)
Lego bonsai tree (Lego/Released)

“When you’re ready for a change or when the season starts to turn, it’s easy to swap the coloured crowns to create a totally new look,” the toy production firm said.

Both sets of the botanical collection will be available from January 4, 2021 across its official stores and major retailers in the country.

“As adults look for new ways to switch off and relax, we’re delighted to be able to help them seek solace from their busy everyday lives as they immerse themselves in creating these beautiful botanical builds,” LEGO Group design lead Jamie Berard explained.

“The customisable elements and mindful building experience will hopefully help them express their personality as their creativity blossoms,” he added.