Growing a Houseplant Garden Can Help You Feel Grounded

Written by Alicia R.

It is natural to long for time in the company of greenery. People who don’t have yards or much time to spend outdoors are increasingly turning to indoor gardening to satisfy a need to nurture and feel grounded. Many indoor green thumbs are part of the Millennial Generation roughly defined as being born from 1981 to 1996.

Home Sweet, Green Millennial Home

Houseplants have long been an inexpensive element of home decor and the go-to choice when giving someone a housewarming gift or a get-well greeting. But now, they are also a soothing treat for apartment dwellers who have no yard and little time to spend outdoors.

As Greenhouse Management reported last November, “tech-savvy Millennials” who post pictures of plant purchases on social media are helping houseplants make a “comeback” in the horticultural world.

Similarly, publications such as The Economist, the Los  Angeles TimesMarketWatchThe New York Times, and The Washington Post point to Millennials as increasing demand for indoor greenery.

In particular, The New York Times last March quoted gardening industry advisor Ian Baldwin as stating that Millennials were responsible for a 31 percent rise in houseplant purchases in 2016 alone. Baldwin noted, “Houseplants are a low-cost way to have a green space at home.”

“Millennial-minded companies are also going to great lengths to integrate greenery into their offices,” the newspaper reported. It offered the example of online crafter marketplace Etsy, which includes over 11,000 plants in the decor of its Brooklyn office.

In July, the Los Angeles Times reported that Millennials who don’t have children or houses are becoming “plant addicts” to make their apartments feel homier. It notes, “While houseplants have never gone out of style as low-budget home décor, sales of flowers, seeds and potted plants have increased since 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.” The newspaper relates this “surge” to Millennials putting off home purchases.

Plants as Family

The need to nurture is an important aspect of houseplant ownership. In its January 2019 article about the Millennial houseplant boom, MarketWatch interviewed one indoor gardening devotee who gives her plants names and sometimes glues googly eyes on their pots. Another interviewee told the publication that she also treats her plants like pets, talking to them and regularly checking on their needs.

A headline in The Washington Post about Millennials and their potted families says that greenery fills “the void in their hearts” that longs for land and nurturance. It tells the endearing story of a 37-year-old artist whose Sunday morning routine includes a “four-hour grooming ritual” during which he tidies up his many houseplants. The green family members include a “Great Dane of a fern.”

Most houseplants are outdoor evergreens in their tropical home environments. In temperate climates, many need the babying of indoor temperatures and the humidity control of spray bottles. We’ll leave it to you to decide whether the addition of googly eyes will make you a better houseplant parent. However, if you want to find attractive digs for favorite plants, we have lots of pretty planters as well as the potting soil you need at Green Thumb.

By the way, despite trending now, houseplants have a long history.

Houseplant History

Dig into the topic of houseplants, and you will discover that their appeal has deep roots going back centuries. But as the science-based website Your Wild Life explains, indoor gardening proliferated due to colonization of “the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania,” which resulted in plant hunters delivering botanical species to Europe’s aristocracy. For example, the website notes that the botanic garden term “orangery” (an elegant glass house) developed due to France’s King Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) growing 3,000 orange trees indoors.

As glass and, therefore, access to sunlight indoors became less expensive during the Victorian Era (roughly 1837 – 1901),  “botanical imperialism” increased. The drive to discover new plants was based, in part, on medical research. However, it developed into a love for the beauty of what were once considered exotic species.

The Comeback Kids

The Greenhouse Management houseplant report indicates that tropical species previously popular in the U.S. during the 1970s are especially in vogue. They includes ferns, vining plants, and foliage plants with upright, multi-colored, blade-like leaves, such as Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia).

According to The Economist’s Daily Chart, online searches for indoor succulents have risen dramatically since 2010. This includes cute hanging plants, such as String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), each strand of which looks like tiny green peas attached to a green thread. The Economist also notes steep climbs in searches for Aloe vera, Jade Plant (Crassula ovata), and both cactus and succulents, in general.

At Green Thumb Nursery’s five garden centers, we offer a wide range of easy-care houseplants for indoor gardeners in Southern California, including succulents and varieties of broad leaf plants that require little light, such as vining Pothos (Epipremnum).

Our inventory varies from one center to another and from week to week. While visiting one of our centers, please check with our knowledgeable staff to find specific or general types of houseplants you want. You can also contact us by phone or online with questions. We’ll help you find what you’re looking for or a similar choice to help you green your nest.

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