Someone with a keen eye might have noticed the increase in plant and flower shops popping up over the past few years, This is due to an increased demand not only for common houseplant species, but also hybrid and exotic species not previously seen in most people’s homes.
Do not be fooled as to who is behind this trend. It’s not the senior crowds usually associated with this slow-paced pastime. Instead, it is millennials who are the enthusiasts, turning their small urban living spaces into plant paradises.
It is not uncommon to see flats filled with hundreds of different species accumulated in a relatively short time, each requiring specific care which has to be incorporated into the owner’s daily routine. In some cases, taking care of a plethora of plants requires giving up multiple hours a day.
You’d be wrong to think of this as out of the ordinary. The houseplant hobbyist community has formed a large network on social media, where thousands of younger gardeners share tips and advice on how to care for their indoor jungles.
Trading groups, workshops, and conferences are just some of the events organised by collectors, who send saplings by mail to “friends” across the globe, all in search of the newest and rarest plant species.
Are houseplants just more hype?
The houseplant hobby might seem like the latest ploy to increase Instagram popularity with screen-obsessed young adults, but experts think that the new trend might stick around a little longer than people might think.
“In our current social-economic climate, younger adults are delaying major milestones by years or even decades, yet try to find the need for human connection and nurture in some way,” said Seattle-based counsellor Lily Ewing in a Huffington Post article last year. Less needy than pets or children, plants still give people a sense of purpose and fulfillment through their slow but clearly visible growth process. There’s also the obvious benefit of not having the same restrictions laid down by landlords when moving apartments, and there is no need to find a trusted and expensive sitter if you want to go on holiday.
It seems easy to mock the younger generations for their funny obsession, but psychological studies have shown that caring for houseplants is an effective stress reducer and has a generally positive effect on people’s mood. Not to mention that plants are natural air cleansers, as proven by a NASA experiment conducted in 1989.
So far the mental and health benefits of horticulture seem pretty good. And let’s not forget that the practice teaches us a skill that until recently was left underappreciated by younger generations more in touch with new technologies than the land that feeds them.
Seeing that the world housing crisis is not going away anytime soon, it’s likely that the next few generations (at least) will also find comfort and interest in greening up their homes. Some may keep their hobby to a few plants while others look to turn their homes into greenhouses or indoor forests!