Why the Houseplant Industry is On The Grow

By McKenzie Schwark
Feature Writer
Houseplants in small Fargo apartment.

Photo by Liv Propeck

If it seems like everyone you know has sprouted a green thumb over the last few years, it isn’t just you. Houseplants are majorly on the grow, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

Humans have lived among plants since the beginning of time, and bringing plants inside is not a trend but rather an ages old practice. The last big houseplant “boom” of the 1970’s was thanks to baby boomers; in 2021, it’s millennials and Gen Z reviving the trend and in some cases, making it a lifestyle and a career. In the last several years U.S. sales on houseplants have skyrocketed. The home-gardening and houseplant industry brought in nearly $4.7 billion in 2018, and as Instagram “plantfluencers”  and straight-to-consumer online shops have emerged, the industry has steadily grown. 

There are major benefits to adding some green to your home. Having plants around can reduce anxiety and stress, and improve one’s mood. Interacting with houseplants has been shown to lower blood pressure, calm the nervous system, and even improve air quality and reduce respiratory illness. And plants don’t just offer mental and physical health benefits. Filling your space with them may also help fill a void. As more young people are choosing to not become parents, some hypothesize that plants help fill a more financially accessible desire to nurture. 

“People need to get into plants now more than ever,” The Sill founder Eliza Banks told Moneyish. “This is a tough time. And plants are something that you can nurture and have a mutually beneficial relationship with outside of the day-to-day grind. There’s comfort in that.”

Plants require care, attention, and problem solving. In a chaotic and tech-obsessed world, taking care of a houseplant can feel like an exercise in mindfulness. Anyone with a fiddle leaf fig will tell you caring for a houseplant is no joke. It takes patience, attention, and diligence. It makes total sense that after a tumultuous last few years, that people would lean into houseplants. 

If you’re considering adding some plants to your place we recommend starting at local nurseries or shops, before considering a larger retailer or home improvement store. Some great beginner-friendly houseplants are ZZ plants, pothos, and snake plants, all of which are typically pretty easy to come by. Consider following a few local plantfluencers as well, like @potheadsally and @theplantsupply.