Plants are a ‘thing’

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 1, 2021

Snapshot of a Facebook group to buy and sell plants

Someone mentioned the other day that buying (and selling) houseplants was a thing in DC.

“What sort of thing?” I asked.

“A big thing,” my interlocutor replied.

“How do you mean?”

“Well, people buy plants at insane prices,” came the reply.

As proof of Washington, D.C.’s propensity to buy houseplants at high prices, I received a picture on my phone. It was a snapshot of a Facebook group dedicated to buying and selling plants. At extraordinary prices. An Albo Monstera Borsigiana for $380. A “fully rooted” Philodendron Rio for $45. A “M.Adansonii Albo Var – 6 leaves” for $1215.

It seemed bizarre. Why would America’s capital be so desperate to buy plants? What was this mania for greenery about?

Turns out it’s a thing that goes beyond D.C. Turns out that other people have noticed and written about it.

In February, ‘Fast Company’ did a big piece on the hottest new business opportunity: “the delight of growing things, delivered to your door”. The piece was headlined “The hottest new wellness startups are selling houseplants”.

The article was about New York but the ideas it discussed could be about anywhere. It quoted Rebecca Bullene, “the founder of Greenery NYC, which creates plant installations for companies, sells plants to New Yorkers online, and just opened a retail store in Brooklyn”. She said, “I believe plants and nature are the antidote to the stress we feel from being so connected to screens”.

And Eliza Blank, the founder of The Sill, which has been selling plants online since 2012, told the magazine that millennials were particularly interested in plants because of the stresses of their lives as city-dwellers saddled by debt. “They call us Generation Stress for a reason,” she said. “We position plants and our brand as the break in all this. It’s the antidote to this unfortunate thing that our entire generation suffers from: anxiety. And plants really can be part of the cure.”

So it’s true. Plants are a thing. And for good reason too.