The urban jungle: how millennials are driving a houseplant revival

Brookes & Co

It seems like every week there’s a news story on how millennials are shaking up yet another industry, but for once, this might be a good thing for the garden sector.

In 2016, millennials were responsible for 31 percent of houseplant sales, and that trend shows no sign of stopping. Millennials bought more houseplants than any other generation last year, and when you search the hashtag ‘plants’ on Instagram (the millennial social media platform of choice), you’ll find over 18 million posts.

Even the Love Island villa is filled with pot plants and walls of lush green foliage! What are millennials buying? From cacti and succulents to pot plants and trees, millennials are buying houseplants in all shapes and sizes.

Even our resident millennial, Alice, has been adding spider plants and succulents to her bedroom (and has managed to keep them alive so far!).

As millennials are filling their homes with mid-century modern furniture, there currently seems to be a real trend towards the large, dark leafy greens and interesting foliage popular in the 1970s, to create an indoor urban jungle.

To display their houseplants, millennials are looking to rattan style baskets and hanging planters to fill every inch of spare indoor space with greenery.

What’s driving the indoor gardening obsession? It’s fair to say that houseplants are the ‘in’ thing for the millennial generation, but what is driving their indoor gardening obsession?

It turns out it’s not just a fleeting home décor trend. Millennials are still keen to take up gardening, but because many live in rental properties or urban locations, they just don’t have the outdoor space to do it.

Instead they are turning to houseplants and indoor gardens for their fix of the great outdoors.

Alongside this, with the nation working hard on improving mental health, more of us are recognising the physical and mental health benefits of gardening, with 88 percent of people finding that mental wellbeing is a key benefit for spending time in the garden (Mintel).

In a recent survey, 65 percent of gardeners said gardening helped them to relax, while 43 percent said houseplants make them feel calm (Wyevale Garden Centre Garden Trends Report 2018). So the millennial penchant for all things ‘wellness’ also comes into play.

Good news for the garden sector For many industries, millennials have been difficult to pin down, and for a long time, the garden sector has also struggled to get the younger generations interested in gardening, with the typical UK gardener classified as a middle class, white female, aged 55+ (Love The Garden).

There have been plenty of initiatives to keep the older generations engaged in gardening, including National Allotments Week and the RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign.

But now, millennials are the fastest growing group of garden consumers in the country and we are already seeing many retailers making the most of this. From IKEA offering a new indoor growing and urban cultivator range to local supermarkets stocking succulents, more retailers are jumping on board this trend.

Next steps for garden retailers

As predicted by Scarlet Opus at last year’s Exclusively Housewares show, the ‘Botanical Oasis’ trend – bringing the outdoors into the home – is going strong for 2018, and the millennial houseplant obsession shows no sign of slowing.

To make the most of this new and growing market, garden retailers need to make sure they’re thinking indoors as well as outdoors, and offer easy, low maintenance indoor growing solutions.

Not only that, as the internet generation, millennials are looking online for their gardening advice (Wyevale Garden Centre Garden Trends Report 2018), and using social media as a source of inspiration.

Many are using the internet to purchase their plants, so retailers should be looking to focus their sales efforts online, as well as in store. So it’s time to get indoors, get online and get social, as the houseplant trend is here to stay!