How Millennials Are Bringing Houseplants Back Into Style

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Feb. 8 2021, Updated 7:29 a.m. ET

People filling their homes with houseplants is apparently a trend that comes in waves, according to the Washington Post. Though millennials are frequently accused of killing industries left and right, from diamond mining to Applebee's, they're now being credited for a resurgence in home growing. Houseplants first became popular following the Industrial Revolution, explains author Tovah Martin, who has studied the rise and fall of potted greenery through history. Folks were moving in droves to urban environments, and the psychological benefits of having something growing inside were needed—though they probably didn't see it that way. The popularity of plants in the house often coincides with times of great cultural turmoil.

“It’s very cyclical,” Martin told the Post. “I think the current cycle has a lot to do with people hunkering down. A houseplant is therapeutic. It gives you something to nurture.”

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So, why now? People will have different reasons, of course, but many young people are stressed about the economy, job prospects, the rising cost of living, and student loan debt. Even millennials who are living comfortably and are without financial stress may still feel overwhelmed with social and cultural tensions in the world around them. In a fast-paced world where many young people spend most of their days looking at a screen, taking time to care for a plant can be a welcomed relaxation.

37-year-old Hilton Carter is an artist with 180 potted plants in his home, which means caring for them is a weekly exercise in patience and gentle attention. He says  his obsession has become more mainstream and popular with his compatriots, and businesses are starting to notice.

“This has caught on,” Carter says. “The nurseries have figured this out, the hardware stores have figured this out.”

So, having a  plant is good for your mind, but apparently it's also good for your brand. Instagram influencers and just about everyone else with an account love a good houseplant photo, as can be seen under the many hashtags devoted to the phenomenon:

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Instagram encourages people to groom their plants to perfection, but that doesn't mean everyone has a green thumb. Luckily, some house plants, like succulents, are particularly easy to maintain. And we  like to think that when the cameras are off, all the young people are just enjoying the little green corner in their life.

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