Feng Shui with Plants
By: Jenel Schaffer
As an herbalist and healer, I often challenge mindsets and thought patterns that hold people back and don’t serve them in a beneficial way. But, I sometimes struggle to see my own negative thought patterns. A recent vacation gave me the opportunity to really challenge my way of seeing and viewing the world. Our vacation was in Maine, where we stayed at an old farmhouse owned by a Master Gardner. Her occupational experience was more than evident in every little detail of the house. After speaking with her, it was clear that we both possess a love of plants. I had the knowledge and know-how in regards to the use of plants as medicine, but she “used” plants in a healing way by planting, placing and enhancing the home environment.
You do not need to be a gardener, an herbalist, or an expert to begin experimenting with plants. I also want to stress that you do not need to have a green thumb either. I use to say that I didn’t have a green thumb, and this was one of my limiting beliefs that kept me from working with live plants. Over time I have learned that working with live plants just takes some practice, experience, and time to learn how to care for.
The plant world is abundant and full of life and energy, and plants provide so many ways to balance and refresh your home. In Feng Shui, which is defined as “the study of how to arrange your environment to enhance the quality of your life,” in Terah Collins book The Western Guide to Feng Shui, plants serve to provide happiness, and even health to your home environment. They can deliver more oxygen to the air, soften sharp angles and transform the entire feel of a room by its presence. There are some things you want to keep in mind when selecting plants for your home. I will give you five steps for plant selection and placement that can get you started on a whole new home and a whole new you.
The Five Steps for Feng Shui Plant Selection
- The first thing you want to do is choose a room to start with. I like to begin by going through my house room by room and making necessary changes to freshen and liven up a room. Remove any objects that are no longer serving you. You may also want to read the book I have listed above, or another book on Feng Shui to help with design, but it is not a requirement before plant placement.
- The next thing you will need to consider is the light source for the room you are energizing. Take a day or two to notice how the sun comes through the window and the length of time, and angle of the light. Make some notes so that when you go shopping you can choose plants that have light requirements that will suit your light source.
- The third step is of course plant selection. Choose plants that are soft and make you feel peaceful. I would stay away from prickly plants, unless you have a designed cactus garden. In that instance, I recommend placing other softer plants in coordination with the prickly spiky. You may also want to consider fragrance, if you have great light sources, and you may want to purchasing plants that bloom. Another thing to remember is that it can be discouraging when a plant dies. It is a living thing, after all. If you are really nervous about that outcome, ask someone at a greenhouse for very hearty plants so you can get comfortable with their various temperaments. Herbs are a great beginner plant, because they thrive wonderfully and are hard to damage.
- After plant selection comes container selection. You will definitely want to buy some containers to place your plants into. Usually plants are set in black plastic sleeves at the greenhouse, but to really bring cheer and life and to follow the Feng Shui suggestions, the container your plants live in are equally important. Ceramic bowls, crocks or pots are perfect. If you do not have the funds for pottery, there are some beautifully colored plastic containers that can be used as well. Keep your eyes open because you never know when you will see something that would be perfect for your plants. You can always change the crocks too, if the plants outgrow them.
- Lastly, do not forget that your plants can be cut flowers. In the blooming months I regularly cut plants, and flowers, even herbs from my garden and display on my kitchen counter, window sill, and even in the bathroom. Flowers are not just reserved for kitchen areas, you can place them in bedrooms as well. For instance, two pink roses are meant to enhance love and marriage in the bedroom area, and purple irises are supposed to help enhance career goals. Just remember that fresh flowers can deplete the energy of a room once they are past their prime and begin wilting. I try to remove old bouquets to the compost bin once they begin wilting. Or, I may just remove a few blooms that look weak and keep the lively ones a few extra days.
There are many ways to find refreshment, wellness and even wholeness with plants beyond drinking them in herbal infusions, or applying on the skin as oils and ointments. Whatever your level of skill, I encourage you to add more green to your home. You will find immediate revitalization and clarity in the simple act of bringing life to the interior living space.
I am a native of Pennsylvania, but my heart is in the mountains of Vermont. I am an Herbalist, Certified Art Educator and hold a B.A. in Anthropology. I have always been drawn to plants and nature. My favorite time of year is Spring when the plants come alive again. I love to revisit my favorite wild herbs. I am also a mother of 5 children, and a homeschool mom, as well as a published writer.