Life with Pet Plants
The number of people keeping plants in their homes is increasing dramatically. Lately, people often talk of “pet plants,” referring to the way that some view and treat plants as life companions that should be taken care of like pet animals. The recent trend has also seen the emergence of new terms such as sikjipsa, a person who raises plants; pulmeong, the peace felt while absentmindedly gazing at plants; sikdeok, a person obsessively devoted to plants and growing them; and siktech, making money by raising plants. These new words testify to the fact that raising plants, previously considered a pastime for senior citizens, is now spreading among young people—even teens.
The marked increase of sikjipsas seems to be attributable to the positive effects of raising plants. Time spent watering plants, cleaning their leaves, and changing the soil in their pots is considered calming by many. Taking care of plants is also said to be effective in alleviating feelings of depression and loneliness. Additional merits to keeping pet plants include easy access and management, as it costs less than keeping pet animals.
As more and more people turn to the fun and joy of growing plants, new businesses like plant clinics and hotels are also booming. When green leaves turn yellow or wither away, plant keepers consult institutions like the cyber clinic for plants operated by the Gyeonggi-do Agricultural Research & Extension Services or pet plant clinics in their respective neighborhoods. Whenever keepers leave their homes for vacation, traveling, or other reasons, they sometimes take their plants to Garden Earth and other plant hotels. Finally, life spent with pet plants seems to be growing in popularity because it brings people closer to nature.