In a perfect world, we’d all be able to stare at the perfect pothos on our windowsill for at least 12 hours per day. Unfortunately, that’s not possible: We have to do other things, like “go to work.”
So when you’re sitting at your desk missing your little plant guys — or if your home isn’t suited for growing real plants at all — it’s nice to have a little virtual plant care to fill in the gaps. Enter plant care games, which abound on the indie game community itch and are extremely wholesome, even therapeutic.
There are quite a few options out there, from classic plant-raising simulations to a truly weird experience where you drive a succulent around like a car. The following four are my favorites. Play them on your coffee break and think fondly of your fiddle-leaf fig at home. You’ll be back in its leafy arms soon enough.
You can play all these games for free right in your browser, but it’s still a good idea to help fund their creators’ work if you enjoy your experience. Each of the games below has a pay-what-you-wish button on its page!
This game by Brady Soglin is an exquisitely detailed, truly chill experience. Buy plants, place them on on the windowsill, water them, rotate them, repot them as needed, and wait for them to grow. When you’re pleased with their progress, you can even take a photo. As your plants grow, you’ll earn enough points to buy bigger, more ornate plants — and fashionable home décor if you want. Even if you close the tab, your plants remain, making this a lovely game for those who have scattered moments of downtime or who benefit from morsels of relaxation throughout the day.
My favorite feature: You can open and close the window to control the level of ambient noise, which consists of pleasant bird and cricket chirps.
Ever want to drive a little plant around like a car? Great: It’s time to make your dream come true. This game by uvwar lets you pilot a pot around a landscape that seems to be equal parts beach and desert, where you can zoom up ramps, sail over pillars, or simply drive around circles if that floats your boat. If you position your plant-car under pockets of rainwater, it will grow bigger and leafier, which is (of course) incredibly satisfying. And the music is so calming and serene that you’ll want to leave it on even if you switch tabs.
Should all cars be shaped like potted plants? Probably.