The Botanical Naming Debate: Is It Weird to Name Your Plants?

The Covid-19 pandemic opened many possibilities.

Many people started exploring their hobbies more since we spent a lot of time indoors.

One hobby many individuals engaged in was tending to houseplants, and part of this care and maintenance involved naming the plants.

But is it okay to do so?

So, Is It Weird to Name Your Plants?

No, it’s not. Naming your plants is normal as it expresses your love for them. Plus, it’s a chance to demonstrate your punster skills. So, if you have a cute name in mind for your plant, don’t let anyone discourage you.

The Three Benefits of Naming Plants

Most times, we display plants with their common names.

These are usually provincial and can describe a plant’s aspect.

For example, the Snake plant, also called Mother-in-law’s tongue, got the name from its sharp pointed shape.

Although a single plant may have several common names, there is only one scientific name given to plants.

Scientific naming groups the species of a plant with other related ones. Although scientific and common names can tell you about a plant, they aren’t personal names.

The names represent several plants and aren’t specific to your house plant.

1. Identity Assertion

Again, naming your plants can assert your identity.

For instance, if you love music, you can name your plant after a song or a musical instrument, and if you love traveling, you can name them after the places you visited or would like to visit.

This way, whenever you look at or are tender to it, you’ll always be reminded of the destination.

2. Plant Bonding

Again, naming your plant can motivate you to take care of it at all times.

When you give something a name, you build a close relationship with it.

Humans like to anthropomorphize objects, especially when they want to feel close to them. And doing this is said to have positive effects.

So, when your plant has a name, you will take great care of it.

And even when it starts sagging, drooping, or booms less, you’ll still want to care for it.

3. Good For Dealing With Loneliness

Additionally, plant naming can get rid of feelings of loneliness.

Many people suffer from loneliness.

Unfortunately, this condition has severe effects.

The US Department of Health and Human Services states that “loneliness increases one’s risk of coronary heart disease and stroke”.

So if naming a plant helps you fight loneliness even for a while, then do so.

Where Did Plant Naming Trend Originate from?

Houseplants have been around for many years. So it is safe to conclude that the practice of naming plants had existed long before millennials began doing it.

Older generations have named their plants for quite a while now.

However, it is worth noting that while the practice started long ago, it’s only been on the rise these days.

Some people consider their houseplants as part of their family.

Well, it may not be in the traditional sense of a sibling or pet, but rather something they love and treasure that brings positivity to their home or work life. As such, it is worthy of a unique name.

Why Would You NOT Want to Name Your Plant?

Plant owners are divided into two groups;

  1. those who name plants
  2. and those who don’t.

Those who don’t name their plants usually have their reasons.

For instance, it could be that they find scientific and common names fair enough and don’t feel the need to add another name.

Or it could also be that they don’t want to name their plant because they fear it may die and make the sad.

Some people prefer only to name other things like pets, and some have never considered naming their plants.

Four Plant Naming Considerations

1. Decide on a Naming Theme

Nicknaming your plants gives them a personality.

But, as a good start, you need to consider the naming themes.

Some people prefer old fashioned names like

  • Martha
  • Bertha
  • Selma
  • Albert
  • Ernest
  • Edith
  • Clyde
  • etc.

However, these are nowadays outdated.

If you aren’t a fan of such names, consider names from historical figures, movie or book characters, mythology, or famous people.

For instance, you can call your plant

  • Nic Cage
  • Zeus
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Gandalf
  • Bilbo
  • etc.

Alternatively, you can use literal names like a friend, cactus partner, my bamboo, flower, etc.

Or you can give your plant a pet name such as

  • Sparkle
  • Spike
  • Snuggles
  • or Rover.

Sometimes, adjectives like Purple Plant or Love of My Life will also suit your plants.

2. Give Your Plant a First, Middle, and Last Name

According to Botanist’s rule, plants must have first and last names.

The rule was created by Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century and elaborates that one name should represent a plant’s genus and the other its species.

But since the plant is special to you, you may want to take things further by giving it a middle name.

Some names you can consider include Mr. Elon Reeve Musk or Queen Elizabeth Alexandra.

3. Don’t Name the Plant After Yourself

Botanists cannot name the plants after themselves, so don’t do that.

You can’t call it Linda the second or Jared Jr. However, you can name it after someone or soothing you love. For instance, a botanist at Duke University named new fern plants after Lady Gaga in 2012.

You can name the plant after your grandma, favorite pet, or celebrity like the Beyoncé orchid.

4. Think about the Sex

Although the idea of male and female in plants is still mysterious, these genders exist.

The male plants provide pollen that has sperm while female ones have ovaries.

It will be an injustice to name a female plant a manly name and vice versa.

So, it is paramount to think about gender when naming.

But it’s worth noting that only a few plants are only male or female, like Jiwi, Ginkgo, Cannabis, and Willow.

Most others are monoecious, meaning they have both male and female structures.

If that is the case, then gender-specific names will not matter.

Four Plant Naming Suggestions

1. Celebrities and Pop Culture

  • Kitty Purry
  • Snake Gyllenhaal
  • Peace Lily James
  • Rihanna for plants that smell good
  • Cher
  • Taylor Swift
  • Ariana Grande

2. Cute Names

  • Button
  • Sweetie
  • Majesty
  • Noodle
  • Bugsy
  • Dumpling
  • Flora

3. Foods

  • Sandwich
  • Cheesecake
  • Hot Dog
  • Spaghetti
  • Shrimp Cocktail

4. Groups

  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • The Fantastic Four
  • The Golden Girls
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • The Branches
  • Rick and Morty

Final Thoughts

“To name something is to love it”- Liv O’Keeffe, communications and engagement senior director at the California Plant Society.

For this reason, there is nothing weird about naming your plant. Owning a plant is a wealthy possession.

So there is nothing wrong with naming your precious things. Giving it a name brings it closer to your life. Therefore, you will want to care for it even more.