Biophilia: Houseplants’ connection to nature

Biophilia: What is it?

Edward O. Wilson was an America biologist, naturalist, and writer. His specialty was myrmecology, or the study of ants. In fact, he was considered the world’s leading expert on ants, and he was nicknamed Ant Man.

e. o. wilson

In his book, Biophilia, Wilson hypothesizes that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. In fact, he argues, our natural affinity for life―what he refers to as biophilia―is the very essence of our humanity and binds us to all other living species.

Biophilia is the sensation you feel, absorb and remember when you stare at the golden sun rising over fields on a cloudy morning, shining through the transparency of a leaf and glistening like crystal on the morning dew. It’s the must of moulding leaves in fall, the turpentine scent of a pine forest, the sensuous smell and exquisite phenomena of blossoms on a tree.

Nara, Japan at Koriyama Castle in the spring season

Biophilia is also the fascination you feel watching your houseplant grow: new baby leaves unfurling to greet the world, vines stretching and lengthening, stems reaching for more height. It’s the curiosity that inspires you to get your hands in soil, to watch intently as your plant babies respond to sun and light and air much like a human or animal baby does: with wonder, curiosity and ultimately, joy.

new leaves on houseplant

Since we tend to spend so much time indoors, bringing plants inside bridges the biophilic connection between your daily life and the shapes, colors and sounds of nature.

  • Stress is minimized
  • Focus is renewed
  • Optimism is restored


Ways you can get more biophilic

Incorporate more plants into your daily inside and outside life with a plant display. Here’s How.

Assess your light

There is a houseplant for every space and light condition. All you need to do is choose a space and pay attention to the light sources: are you using a bright, sunny window? Maybe a shelf well back from any sunlight? Something in between? Make sure that if you are planting in a group that all the plants you want to use require similar conditions.

Assess your air flow

Some plants like more humidity, others prefer drier conditions. Some finicky plants don’t like hot or cold air from vents. Again, make sure all the plants you’re working with like the same type of air flow and temperature, otherwise you could end up with diseases and problems that are difficult to diagnose and heal.

shutterstock_1829531144Assess your tools

Make sure you have access to water or can efficiently use watering tools. Also make sure that your plant is set in a place that won’t be ruined by drips of water or drabs of soil.

Get creative

Adding a natural element to your life should be easy and beautiful. Mostly, it should reflect you! Incorporate what inspires you, what you dream of, and what makes you happy. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Plants on your desk
  • Plants on a shelf
  • Plant walls, inside or out

Peace Lily The Spruce Cara Cormack

Plant wall turquoise background

Collection of plants on desk agaloema


shutterstock_624258902Further Thoughts

If you’re thinking about creating a houseplant haven in your bedroom, office, or living room, visit Homestead Gardens in Smyrna, DE,  Davidsonville, MD or Severna Park, MD. Our houseplant department managers and store associates are ready to help you figure out what plant will work best for you! Get directions here.