Our obsession with houseplants shows no signs of stopping according to new statistics from John Lewis, and we’re 100% okay with that.
The people who called houseplants a “moment” or “fad” have certainly been proved wrong.
According to new statistics from John Lewis, sales of botanical houseplants were up 43% in the last year, proving that our obsession with our leafy friends is here to stay. From swiss cheese plants to the classic succulent, we’re head over heels for a bit of greenery in our homes.
Why? Because of millennials, of course. Besides the fact that the oldest millennials are now in their late 30s, it’s still the favourite sport of many writers and TV presenters alike to present the age group as a bunch of “lazy, spoilt and self-obsessed” immature slackers who also happened to cause the death of mayonnaise. And now millennials have got another entry to add to their clearly crowded resume: they’re fuelling a surge in the houseplants industry.
In the US, a quarter of the $52.3 billion spent on lawn and garden sales last year can be attributed to 18-to-34-year olds, whose spending on plants has grown at a higher rate than any other generational group since 2014, according to the 2019 National Gardening Survey. And in the UK, Wyevale Garden Centres’ 2018 Garden Trends Report identified ‘The Millennial Gardener’ as one of the new breeds of British gardener, calling them a “trend-led, demanding crowd” who enjoy plants and gardening because they provide “a wealth of opportunities to show off online”.
And, as the new stats show, that trend hasn’t showed any signs of stopping. Plants are taking over our lives (in a good way): they’ve got some amazing aesthetic properties, can provide us with some surprising health benefits and looking after them can boost our wellbeing. On top of all that, they also look pretty damn great on Instagram – the #houseplants tag on the social media platform now has over two million posts.
However, if you’re looking to get started on your journey to plant enlightenment, it’s hard to know where to begin. From considering the care each species needs to finding the perfect plant for your (often limited) space, it’s not as if plant ownership is always a particularly easy endeavour – especially if you’re looking to take advantage of their social media appeal and rake in those sweet leafy likes.
To give you a good indicator of what plants you might want to consider, a new piece of analysis from Internet Gardener has revealed the top 10 plants on Instagram according to how often they appear on the site, and how many likes they receive on average. A plant may be for life (not just for insta) but let this list be the inspiration you need to get started on your plant collection – welcome to the dark (green) side.
1. Swiss Cheese Plant
The humble Swiss Cheese plant appeared in 7.8% of all indoor plant posts on Instagram, making it the most popular. Raking in an average of 745 likes, this leafy giant is a favourite of plant-lovers and beginners alike.
Botanical name: Monstera Deliciosa
Likes: Shade, warmth and moisture
Water: About once a week, when top of the soil is dry to the touch
2. Princess Blue
The beautiful pastel colours of these plants makes them perfect for Instagram – and is probably why they came in as the second most popular plant on the platform, with 7% of all indoor plant posts featuring one. They received an impressive 1395 likes on average, and because they’re super easy to care for, they make the perfect first plant.
Botanical name: Echeveria
Likes: Warmth and full sun
Water: When soil becomes completely dry
3. Chinese Money Plant
Although they only appeared in 4.48% of all plant posts on Instagram, Chinese Money Plants were the most liked plants on the whole platform, receiving just over 2000 likes on average. These unique looking plants look great just about anywhere in the house, from a shelf to a plain-looking corner.
Botanical name: Pilea Peperomioides
Likes: Bright light (but not direct sunlight) and well-drained soil.
Water: When the soil has dried out.
4. Devil’s Ivy
Apparently called Devil’s Ivy because it’s so hard to kill, this trailing houseplant comes in at 4th with its appearance in 4.2% of posts and average 220 likes. According to research by NASA this plant (also called a Golden Pothos) is great at purifying the air around it – what’s not love?
Botanical name: Epipremnum Aureum
Likes: Some light (but can thrive in darker spots), hanging or climbing and being misted.
Water: Keep the soil moist (but not soaked).
5. Boston Fern
The Boston Fern is one of the most popular indoor ferns, and for good reason. Apart from the fact that it does pretty well on Instagram (appearing in 3.64% of all plant posts and attracting an average of 164 likes) they look good anywhere around the house, and will thrive in your bathroom.
Botanical name: Nephrolepis Exaltata
Likes: Cool places, high humidity and indirect light.
Water: Keep the soil damp at all times (check soil daily for best results and water straight away if it feels dry).
6. Hedge Cactus
The Hedge Cactus, or Giant Club Cactus as it is also known, is a simple looking but potentially massive cactus which flowers under the right conditions. The analysis revealed that it features in 2.82% of plant posts on Instagram, but gets a respectable 180 likes on average.
Botanical name: Cereus Repandus
Likes: Hot, sunny conditions and well-drained soil.
Water: Established cacti generally only need watering once or twice every month.
7. False Shamrock
The False Shamrock’s Instagram popularity probably has something to do with it’s unusual purple leaves and delicate flowers. The plant appeared in 2.52% of posts analysed, and managed to bring in an average of over 1000 likes for each post.
Botanical name: Oxalis Triangularis
Likes: Shade, and potting mixes which aerate and drain well.
Water: Important not to over-water as the False Shamrock is a bulb which will rot if sat in too much moisture - wait until the soil is dry until you water again.
8. String of Hearts
Named for their romantically-shaped trailing leaves, a String of Hearts is the perfect plant for trailing off the top of a shelf or down a plain looking wall. It’s also (not surprisingly) popular on Instagram – it received an impressive average of 1243 likes despite appearing in only 2.52% of all the plant posts analysed.
Botanical name: Ceropegia Woodii
Likes: Heat, but not direct sun.
Water: Let it dry out between waterings.
9. String of Pearls
The String of Pearls looks like it could have arrived from another planet, but it’s found its home on Instagram. The trailing plant with it’s unique, sphere-shaped leaves appeared in 2.24% of plant posts and attracted an average of 256 likes.
Botanical name: Senecio Rowleyanus
Likes: Bright light (including sunlight), average indoor temperatures and soil with good drainage.
Water: Let the soil dry out by at least half an inch depth between waterings.
10. Rubber Plant
The Rubber Plant may look relatively plain, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t attracted some significant attention on Instagram. It appeared in 2.24% of the plant posts analysed and achieved a respectable 475 average likes per post – it’s also super easy to look after, making it a great first plant.
Botanical name: Ficus Elastica
Likes: Bright light (but no direct sunlight) and having their leaves wiped to remove dust.
Water: Let the top of the soil dry out between waterings.