Confessions of a Lifelong Plant Lover: I May Be a Millennial After All

Confessions of a Lifelong Plant Lover: I May Be a Millennial After All

Millennials are not as plant-reluctant as some would have us think. I thought I was imagining things at the January meeting of MANTS, but others also commented that there seemed to be more young people walking the aisles and manning booths. I saw the same trend at the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA). I chatted with a number of these young people; they were there to learn and share just like the rest of us, but I was more interested in their friends back home.

I asked, “Are your friends interested in ornamentals?” The responses were all over the map, but one group of plants came out ahead: “We are all buying more houseplants.” These youngsters are largely responsible for the new resurgence in the sales of indoor plants.

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The more I chatted with these people, the more they reminded me that the biggest influencers of their friends’ buying habits were Pinterest and Instagram, and that buying was done online more than in-person. I was pleased to see such interest exploding among the younger set.

Millennials Love Houseplants
And exploding it is. Perhaps I see fewer African violets than back in my day, but who knew orchids would be on every shelf in America. And oh my, the online passion for indoor plants is real, if not a little bit over the top. For example, take these comments from Millennial Taylor Davis (nbcnews.com): “Mister Swiss was dropped off in the foyer of my building on a Thursday in early spring,” Taylor says. “He traveled in a huge box, at least 3 feet tall and weighing about 35 pounds. I carried him, still inside the box, up the four flights of stairs to my apartment. I guess you could say this was my first act of love for him.”

Mister Swiss was/is Monstera deliciosa, also known as Swiss cheese plant. Taylor also lovingly cared for Calathea Freddie.

The reasons for young people embracing houseplants are all over the Internet. They are the same reasons every apartment dweller, condo, or homeowner gives for embracing them, but perhaps social media has allowed for more reverence.

“Tending to Mister Swiss — watering him every week, dusting his leaves, rotating his pot so that one side doesn’t get too much sun — makes me happy,” Taylor says. “I talk to him. And in return, I get healthier air and a living, growing subject for my Instagram feed. Over text and in person, I trade stories with friends about their own adventures in houseplant care. It seems we’re all slightly obsessed.”

Don’t Take My Word For It
Laurie Beytes, a houseplant guru on my App, also sees increased interest, even though she is not plugged into social media. She notes the high prices being paid for some of the more popular plants, and the increased popularity of Philodendron and Pilea. My colleague, Judy Laushman, simply wrote “Are you serious?” when I asked if the houseplant revolution was real.

I cannot help but be impressed with the frenzy around succulents. These crazy things were earning as much booth space as mainstream plants.

I realized succulents were not just the younger set’s playthings when I visited the DeVroomen Flower Bulbs and Perennials booth at GGIA. I ignored the bulbs and perennials to ogle the mixed succulent containers. I asked Roland Van den Bergh if he would put aside one of these containers so I could purchase it later. Good grief, I had become a Millennial.

When I returned to Roland Van den Bergh’s booth to see if he had put aside the container, I found that he had sold it to someone else. Geez. I shuffled away, tossing aside my Millennial cloak and muttering like the crotchety Baby Boomer I am.