Millennials are driving a houseplant revival, as they swap socialising for secateurs.
COVID-19 has taken the indoor plant trade to new levels with this age group becoming astute collectors, pushing prices as high as several thousand dollars for a single item.
Lauren Camilleri, co-founder of online nursery retail Leaf Supply, said Millennials were quick to introduce plants into their home, connecting to nature when they were forced indoors.
“Indoor plants were a burgeoning trend in the 70s with our parents’ generation and then in the 80s they were quite daggy,” she said.
“It’s a cyclical trend and Millennials have embraced indoor plants again, partly because many are living in the inner-city and don’t readily have access to green open space any more.”
Lisa Day, founder of Root’d Plants said most of her customers are female, young professionals aged between 25-to-34 years old and that the indoor plant trend among Millennials ties into their affinity for wellness and calm after an uncertain year.
“Aroids (including Peace Lily and Dumb Cane) have become the popular family of plants to own and are in high demand due to the beauty of their foliage and exotic appeal,” she said “Rare aroids are consistently fetching prices in the hundreds to thousands of dollars.”
Lena St John, 30, has the front room of her Sunshine Coast home dedicated to her indoor plants for her partner and three children to enjoy.
“It’s like a therapy for me. It’s my happy place. It’s calming. Whenever I’m feeling stressed I go and tend to my plants,” she said.
“It brings life and greenery into the house. I’m often tending to them and it’s exciting watching them grow. And my kids say ‘I really like this room mum’”.
Nielsen Digital Content Ratings data revealed Australians aged 25-39 have spent 139 per cent more time on home and garden websites during the lockdown period than previously: up from 139,987 minutes per week to 334,123 minutes.
While many businesses have suffered through COVID, wholesale plant supplier Keith Wallace Pty Ltd doubled their volume.
Keith Wallace’s niece, Claire Jones, said the family-run business has been selling, at their busiest, 200 to 300 plants a day.
“On paper we had a 100 per cent increase last year in terms of volume,” she said.
“We used to grow ferns only in the 70s and 80s. As indoor plants became more popular and ferns less so we started branching into more varieties and we now do 60-to-70 per cent indoor plants and the rest is ferns.
“Monstera is the most popular family right now and within that species we do Deliciosa (fruit salad plant).
“Everyone wants it in variegated at the moment but it’s very hard to get. Fetching more than $1800 at retail for a 20cm pot.”
Peter Vaughan, CEO of Greenlife Industry Australia said plants were scientifically proven to improve our physical and mental health, adding to their appeal.
“This understanding was realised by many during 2020 and while the benefits are multigenerational, it is encouraging to see Millennials embracing plants for enjoyment and relaxation while also experiencing the benefits to their health and working environments,” he said.