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The 2021 Plant & Flower Of The Year Signal Brighter Days Ahead

Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Florist Holding a Bouquet of Flowers In Front Of Her Face
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The greenery trend just kept on growing through the pandemic, with Google Trend data showing that interest in indoor plants soared to new heights this spring.

It makes sense: During a time when so much feels daunting and out of control, tending to plants and flowers serves as a low-stakes way to nurse something beautiful to life. Plus, living greenery makes otherwise stale and steady days at home feel more dynamic.

The two plants that'll (hopefully) define 2021.

Safe to say that the plant frenzy isn't fizzling anytime soon. In 2021, longtime arrangement authority 1-800-FLOWERS predicts it'll only be getting brighter.

For their annual Flower & Plant of the Year predictions, they're signaling brighter days ahead with sunflowers and the Red Maranta Prayer Plant snagging the top slots of their houseplant hierarchy.

"Chosen for their symbolism of happiness and gratitude, the sunflower, which stands tall and radiates joy, and the Red Maranta Prayer Plant, with leaves that fold like hands in thankfulness, encourage us to connect with others and make the most of life's special moments," Alfred Palomares, the company's VP of merchandising said in a statement. "Bright and spirited, both the flower and plant can bring these traits into the home as well."

There are plenty of lessons to be learned from nature. While these colorful plants won't save the world, they can serve as daily reminders that time is passing, things are growing, and—with any luck—we're all in for some new leaves soon. If you're inspired to bring these bright beauties into your space, here are some care tips to keep them around for longer.

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Depending on where you purchased them from, cut sunflowers can last for over a week with proper care. When mbg asked florist LaParis Phillips of Brooklyn Blooms for her top tips for keeping fresh flowers alive, she said that it starts with the snip: Cut stems diagonally to expose more surface area for water intake and give them a fresh supply of water every two days, wiping down the inside of your vase as you do.

When its petals do start to wilt, pressing your sunflower into paper using the Japanese tradition of oshibana can eternalize its cheery character.

Red Maranta Prayer Plant

This tropical houseplant variety is a trip to watch grow. Its unique striped red leaves do a funky dance in the sun and moonlight to optimize light levels.

It's native to Brazil, and like most jungle varieties, its soil needs to completely dry out between waterings. When leaves begin to curl into little cylinders (the florist I bought mine from likened the shape to a taquito), it's time for some more liquid. Mine can take a fair amount of light and is very happy in my western-facing window, continuing to unfurl new leaves that feel like little presents as we head into winter's dormancy.

In 2021, we'll take joy wherever we can find it—and a plant shop seems like a great place to start.

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