Man's best friend – a plant

YOU won’t have any problems convincing Ros Higgins of the growing trend to give pet names to household and office plants.

The Clarence Valley gardening guru was interested to hear about a survey conducted by the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) which set out to find Australia’s most popular pet names for plants.

The survey found Fred and Spike were currently the two trendiest pet plant names in the nation.

Also making the top 10 were George (Bush), Anita Watering, Bambi, Colin, Lily, Frank, Fernie and Robert (Plant).

But the creativity didn’t stop there.

Other popular plant names included Audrey Hepfern, Planthony Mundine, Harry Potter-Plant, Forest, Leif, Petal and Joe Dirt.

The names amused, but didn’t surprise, Mrs Higgins who explained why plants were so important to people.

“They’re food, they’re shelter, they provide beauty (and) herbs and spices for food,” she said.

“Everybody wants to make their homes attractive inside and out. It’s just part of civilisation.

“When you exchange plants, you often say ‘oh, that’s grandma’s rose’ or ‘Aunty Mary gave me that’ or ‘that’s Mabel’s rose’.

“It’s a form of recognition, a form of affection.”

NGIA CEO Robert Prince said workers appeared to be bonding with their plants by providing distinctive pet names.

“The plant on the desk is a living, breathing organism and the names being chosen reflect the immediate attachment their caregivers have made,” he said.

Mr Prince said a desk plant could be an office worker’s best friend, with recent studies showing the significant emotional and physical wellbeing benefits associated with workplace greenery.

“Australian researchers have found that indoor air is always more polluted than outdoors, so you’re at risk of suffering from constant headaches, loss of concentration and drowsiness,” he said.

Just one plant made all the difference, with the study proving it could reduce indoor air pollutants by 80% and carbon dioxide by up to 25%.

A Newspoll survey found more than 50% of workers had no plants in their work area, and 45% had no plants in their reception area.

It found 80% of office workers believe plants help make the workplace look better.

More than half of office workers surveyed felt that offices generally didn’t have enough plants in them, and that offices with plants provided cleaner air and made people feel more positive at work.

Around one-third of those surveyed went as far as saying they had more energy at work when they had plants around.

They also said plants made them work more productively, and said they’d like to choose the types of plants they had at work.

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