On a whim, I googled the two words, and, as expected, houseplants are included in the lifestyle instructions issued by the hygge movement. I wouldn’t be insulting readers by assuming they don’t know what this Danish word means because there is no good English translation, but I am sure you’ve at least seen it in print. Hygge—loosely—means coziness. Important elements include good lighting, comfy chairs, good food and drink, and—very important—conversation. It’s about creating a comfortable, stress-reducing atmosphere, and it’s not actually as easy as it may sound. But plants make the long list, especially sturdy varieties that won’t make you worry (stress: bad) about their survival in central heating. So, think aloe, sensevieria, the dracaena family, and other stalwarts.
Plants definitely make me feel cozy, but only if they’re healthy, and even more if they’re flowering. It’s cozy enough in my house now, where the Osmanthus fragrans has been blooming nonstop for months, and the hippeastrum and narcissus ‘erlicheer’ are finally opening. We string LED lights on a couple bigger plants; this definitely adds to a feeling of warmth. Add cut flowers in short containers and candles: very hygge.
I ignore most trends (have never tried to “spark joy”—otherwise known as unnecessary cleaning), but I do get hygge and its ilk. In colder climates, you need to create an ambiance that hugs you without being too messy.
As you may have heard, there’s a new Danish lifestyle buzzword: lykke, which aims for a more ambitious, but related, goal: happiness.