Language of Plants

Plant awareness disparity, previously referred to as “plant blindness”, is the inability to appreciate the fundamental importance of plants in our biosphere and society. Research shows that plant awareness disparity is often caused by a lack of hands-on experience with plants, particularly at a young age. While plant literacy is more necessary than ever, involved hands-on experience with plants is increasingly harder to come by–– especially for those living in urban areas.

Developing plant awareness and literacy is requisite for the survival of our global eco-system—and it’s possible.

The booming house plant industry has opened a door to make this more accessible— but at a cost. While the environmental impact of the ornamental horticulture industry is significant, news of this impact is not common knowledge. The house plant industry as a potential access point for mitigating plant awareness disparity. Plants in the hands of people works against the plant blindness that the industry itself was built on.

The house plant industry is growing more than ever due to the aesthetic visual obsession highlighted on platforms like Instagram. Meaning, people are purchasing house plants but may be increasingly ill equipped to care for them. This project aims to create a tool that acts as a communication device—allowing people to engage with their plants, learning to care for them in an intuitive way (rather than perpetuating plant illiteracy by outsourcing the problem to Google.) This device is a way for people to learn the language of plants. House plants don’t inherently reduce plant blindness. In fact, people casually discuss killing their house plants, but are unaware of the carbon intensive journey their plant went on at the start of life.

One of the leading causes of house plant death is over-watering. This is often caused by a desire to “take care” of a plant without the proper knowledge of how to do so. People tend to water their plants before the soil has fully drained. This perforated pot aims to solve both problems; allowing the soil to fully drain while each hole represents a single day on a seasonal calendar. Each day the plant’s human moves the pin over one hole and observes the nature of the plant that day, documenting the plant’s state in the calendar.

This process creates a seasonal plant footprint as the plant’s human marks its journey through spring-summer or fall-winter. The plant and the human co-collaborate to make art. Through this process, the human becomes more in-tune with the rhythms and patterns of the plant, beginning to empathize with it, developing a greater curiosity about the power and importance of plants in general (both indoor and outdoor). They start to see plants rather than just a sea of green. On the other hand, the plant develops its own unique voice in the form of a codex—as if the map it makes is its first word ever spoken.

October, 2020