How Flowers Can Brighten Your Home During Winter
Posted by: amra January 15th, 2016
Christmastime is the season of cheer, but for many, the winter blues still persist. Although it may seem a little crazy, science has shown that the decrease in sunlight beginning in the late fall and lasting through the winter can have a drastic effect on your mood. For some people, the lack of sunlight causes the brain to produce less serotonin, which is the chemical most often associated with mood, energy, and weight stability. In extreme cases, this is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
However, even if you don’t suffer from this disorder, it’s not uncommon to feel a little under the weather during the winter months. The combination of cold weather and fewer hours of sunlight in a day is enough to give almost anyone a case of the blues. But, how can we combat these symptoms?
Well, studies have shown that flowers have a positive effect on people’s moods, which is why winter is the perfect season to give the gift of a cheery floral arrangement – or to purchase flowers to display in your own home.
How Flowers Boost Your Mood
Combating the winter blues can be difficult, and doctors will usually recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week. If you suffer from SAD, they may also prescribe light therapy, which involves shining an indoor UV light to mimic the natural effects of the sun. These relatively simple lifestyle changes are usually integral to helping lift someone out of a slump.
Also, according to a 2005 study conducted at Rutgers University, flowers can also have an amazing impact on our emotional health. Over the course of 10 months, researchers explored the connections between flowers and overall satisfaction with life. Here’s a brief roundup of the findings:
- Flowers immediately impact happiness. Study participants expressed happiness upon receiving flowers. They communicated that they were delighted and grateful. This response didn’t fluctuate among age groups: overall, all people experienced the same levels of excitement.
- Flowers affect moods in the long term, as well. After they received flowers, study participants said that they felt less depressed and anxious. They also appeared to feel more satisfied with life, experiencing a higher level of enjoyment in day-to-day activities. Recipients continued to display positive moods several days after receiving flowers.
- Flowers inspire connections. When flowers were present, study participants found themselves engaging in higher levels of contact with loved ones. Additionally, respondents who had flowers in their homes displayed them in open areas where they entertained guests. This suggests that flowers could symbolize sharing itself.
These results may seem like common sense. After all, humans have been cultivating flowers for more than 5,000 years, despite the lack of tangible “reward.” According to this study, the reward is emotional. Flowers have evolved to produce positive emotions in humans, and we have evolved alongside them to enjoy them for their beauty, fragrance, and presence in our lives.
Choosing Uplifting Winter Flowers
It can sometimes be a little hard to find the right flowers for wintertime, especially because so little seems to be in season. However, trust your instincts; there’s a reason why we yearn after fresh, colorful flowers when the weather is at its harshest. Consider the following favorite flowers for shaking the winter blues this holiday season:
- Poinsettias. A classic holiday favorite, the poinsettia is a popular decoration. Americans buy and sell around 50 million poinsettias every year – a record for any kind of potted plant during the holiday season. Here’s a fun fact: did you know that the famous red blooms aren’t flower petals, but a kind of leaf? They’re called “bracts,” and the flowers themselves are the small yellow buds at the center of the plant.
- Christmas cactus. Don’t be fooled; even though it’s a succulent, Christmas cactus needs plenty of water to keep its buds from dropping off. As implied by its name, keep watch for Christmas cactus flowers toward the end of December. They generally “wake up” soon before the winter solstice, as daylight hours decrease.
- African violets. These pretty little flowers are even more widespread; in fact, the African violet is the world’s most popular flowering houseplant. The reason? They can be easily cultivated indoors at any time of year. The most common African violet is the rich purple that we all know and love, but there are countless varieties in pink, purple, red, and white, with some that also come in multiple colors.
- Wax plants. The wax plant is another indoor flower and is easy to cultivate – even if you don’t have a green thumb. With plenty of light and a tiny bit of water, you’ll enjoy a smattering of shiny pinkish-white blossoms with a fragrance reminiscent of your favorite mocha latte.
- Orchids. Live orchids are a classic winter gift for indoor gardeners, and the variety is nearly endless. For example, moth orchids can bloom for as long as four months, with beautiful white, pink, and purple shades. Similarly, dendrobium orchids keep their foliage throughout the year and bloom for a month or more at a time. Both make great bouquet flowers.
- Spring bulbs. Even though it’s not quite time for them to bloom outdoors, spring bulbs can start growing indoors at any point in time. When choosing varieties, you have a bevy of options, including hyacinths, irises, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. For most bulbs, part of their growth cycle involves chilling in the ground for up to 14 weeks before they germinate, so they can be a little difficult to force indoors. Consult an expert if you need any guidance.
Flowers from Scent and Violet
If you or a loved one could use a pick-me-up, consider one of our beautiful Christmastime flower arrangements. We have a number of online and in-store options for you to peruse, with a multitude of colors and feels. You’re sure to feel the winter doldrums lift from your shoulders, replaced – we hope – with relief and enjoyment.
If you don’t immediately see something that grabs your attention, feel free to stop by our store to chat with one of our florists. Alternatively, contact us online or by phone if you have any questions or ideas. We specialize in creating gorgeous custom arrangements for any occasion.