You've probably experienced the emotional uplift of being in nature, whether that's climbing a mountain, hiking in woodland, or just visiting your local park. Switching up your surroundings, having a break and stepping away from technology all bring their own benefits, but there's much to be said for the properties of nature itself.
The importance of nature to our mental wellbeing is gaining traction on both a social and institutional level. Last year the NHS announced plans for mental health treatment programmes involving wildlife (though whether these programmes will be rolled out post-pandemic remains to be seen). And the Japanese government has long-championed the benefits of forest bathing, putting a good deal of money into research on the benefits of being amongst nature.
Nature as a whole is known to reduce stress-levels, speed up recovery times, improve focus and boost mood, but there are certain forms which do this best.
Backed by empirical research, evolutionary psychologists have deduced that top-heavy plants, large plants and trees with a broad overhanging canopy, inspire an evolutionary response that induces feelings of calm and safety.
Why do top-heavy plants make us feel safe?
No one knows for sure WHY plants positively effect our mental state, but most researchers say it's an evolved response.
For our nomadic ancestors on the Savannah, gaging whether an environment was habitable was a matter of instinct as well as deduction. Areas rich with diversity, and trees with broad overhanging canopies would trigger physiological mechanisms in the brain, indicating the place was hospitable.
Echoes of this remain, thousands of years later, so when in environments with top-heavy plants and trees, we feel relaxed and protected.
You can replicate this feeling of warmth and security in your own environment with houseplants that have these formal properties. View our Large Plants collection to see our selection of top-heavy plants and trees!
Some of our favourite top-heavy plants
Consider a Philodendron cordatum with expansive overhanging foliage and tall rhizomatic stems.
Or a Dracaena Song of Jamaica, a tree with gorgeous stems which bow out at odd angles, rarely found in European plant shops.
Or even an Extra Large Calathea, which gain a top-heavy, abundant appearance, in pot sizes of 24cm and above.