Uni High All School Green Program connects students with plants over break

The “All School Green” program is an initiative that hopes to bring Uni students and faculty indoor plants during the winter months.

Through a Google Spreadsheet, students and faculty have a chance at participating in both donating and adopting plants. Many different plants are available, including options that are plant-friendly and require minimal care.

The plan evolved from an idea made by Tree Club last year that wanted to bring an indoor plant to every Uni classroom in an attempt to help boost mental health and reduce stress. According to a study done in Japan, workers were found to be less stressed when in the presence of a plant that they could take care of.

“Once we’ve connected students with plants we’re hoping students will stay involved by sharing photos of their plants as they grow through a Google Photo album,” says Valerie O’Brien, University Laboratory High School Coordinator of Equity and Public Engagement.

“I also am a gardener so I grow plants from seeds for my outdoor garden starting in the winter months and I know that I always just find it fun to just go down to my basement and pot everything and watch the plants grow.” says O’Brien.

“Students are also welcome to go out to places like Plantmode or Plantify and pick up a plant as well” O’ Brien adds. These places in Champaign sell plants that students can buy and pick up. It’s important to remember that some plants can be poisonous to pets, so it’s important to research a plan before bringing it into your home. Architectural Digest, as well as many other sites, have compiled a list of plants that are pet-friendly.

To start my own indoor garden, I have decided to plant paperwhite narcissus bulbs in stones. Please note that these are not pet friendly.

The required tools needed are:

  • A container that is at least 3-4 inches deep .
  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Water
  • Pebbles or crushed rocks

Step 1) Add your choice of stones to your container. Make sure that you fill at least 2-3 inches of the container.

Step 2) Gently place your bulbs in, making sure that the pointier side is facing up.

Step 3) Slowly add water until it just touches the base of the bulbs. If you completely submerge the base of your bulb, it can cause the bulbs to rot.

Step 4) *Place in direct sunlight and water every few days, depending on the water level of the pot. It’s important to make sure you don’t overwater, especially if you’re using a container without drainage holes.

Step 5) In just a few weeks, they will begin to bloom and you can enjoy your fresh flowers.

*Note: While it is often recommended that you chill your bulbs before exposing them to direct sunlight, paperwhites fall into a special category don’t need to be chilled into order to produce blooms.