The Houseplant Craze

The Houseplant Craze

Happy Friday everyone!

Have you noticed that your local hardware store has expanded their indoor gardening section recently? Or maybe you’ve seen a plethora of exotic houseplants on social media?
If you have, you've noticed the recent increase in indoor gardening.

Although the tradition of keeping plants indoors is nothing new, we are going to discuss the factors that have contributed to the steep increase in interest over the past few years. Below, the graph from Google Trends illustrates the popularity of the search term ‘houseplants’ since December of 2010. Popularity started rising during 2018, with a dramatic jump at the beginning of 2020.

The Plantdemic

Ravishing across the globe, the coronavirus changed our lives; Lockdowns and health guidelines kept us in our houses. Stuck inside, people wanted to find ways to beautify their space, feel healthier and stay sane. Many people adopted dogs or cats.

Others, including myself, brought home more and more plants, creating a décor of colorful foliage. Having plants gave many of us purpose during a time of uncertainty. It gave us a reason to want to stay home. Others brought home plants for the first time during the pandemic. Quarantine allotted time to observe how watering and lighting conditions effected plants. The houseplants provided some much needed companionship during a time when many of us felt isolated. 

A Desire to Nurture

The bulk of interest in indoor gardening is driven by the younger generations, especially millennials. In 2018, millennials accounted for roughly a quarter of all purchases in horticulture (National Gardening Association, 2019) and that spending has only grown.

According to The Education Data Organization, Millennials hold 31.94% of the national debt. They are less likely to own property or have children. Regardless of this, all humans have an innate desire to nurture. When landlords forbid pets, many turned toward plant parenthood. Plants don’t ruin the carpet, they don’t scratch the walls, plus they are easier to get a babysitter for.

For me, caring for plants is therapeutic. Every morning, I pull back my curtains, allowing sunlight to fill my home. My plants require me to be a present parent: somedays they need water, other days I need to trim or treat for pests. I spend discretionary money on humidifiers, distilled water, soil, and new plants.

There is nothing more fulfilling to me than watching a small sproutling become a full lush beauty because I cared for it over the course of several months. The joy when your favorite plant blooms is indescribable.

A Connection to Nature

My collection of houseplants really bloomed when I moved into a condo and lost access to my garden plot. I used to have a beautiful vegetable and flower garden where I spent my weekends pulling weeds and watering. Having an outdoor space of my own was incredibly important for my mental health. Going outside, breathing in fresh air, and listening to the birds brought me closer to nature.

Unfortunately, like many people, I now live in a space without a yard. A majority of young adults live in city flats or rented apartment complexes without the luxury of land to call their own. This demography is also especially vulnerable to feelings of anxiety about climate change. When your world is a concrete metropolis, growing nature inside can help calm the overwhelming fear about the future. Perhaps in a way, people create jungles inside their homes to escape the realities of deforestation and desertification. 

A Flourishing Community

Social media sowed the seeds for the rise in popularity of indoor jungles. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and even Reddit have dedicated communities for houseplant lovers. These social sites caused the uproar of popularity for certain plants such as the variegated monstera. Collectors share photos and care tips for their rare plants which sparked others to search and purchase those plants, often online.  

Social media gave plant owners the tools to connect with
each other, share care regimes, ask questions, and show off their latest plant success.

What started your indoor plant collection? Comment below, I would love to know 😊

Happy gardening,

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