Why Millennials Are Adopting Plants Instead of Babies

Houseplants are cheaper, easier to maintain, and far better for a young person’s mental health

Millennials are showing an increased interest in collecting houseplants for the psychological and health benefits. (Braden Klassen)

Diamonds, golf, homeownership, and yogurt make-up only a fraction of the long list of businesses millenials are said to be destroying. There is, however, at least one industry that they seem to be giving life to: the budding market for houseplants.

Young people are more interested in becoming plant parents than ever before. According to the National Gardening Association, U.S. house plant sales have increased by 50 per cent in the last three years, with Canada seeing an eight per cent increase in overall plant sales. Instead of baby pictures, expect your newsfeeds to be filled with spider, jade, and rubber plants.

A survey from The New York Times concluded that the biggest reason American fertility rates have been at record lows is due to financial instability, and this is also true for homeownership. Plants have become the substitute for raising children or pets because we can’t afford to take care of the little critters, and even if we could, we don’t have the space.

Houseplants are cheaper and easier to take care of, so even the busiest people can become plant parents. Air plants don’t require any soil, and often only need a misting once every week or two. Succulents need fertilizer, but they don’t grow very tall, and they sport diverse colors that help brighten any room they’re in.

For those who are ready for a challenge, the monstera or fiddle-leaf fig plant climbs tall and requires support to hold on to, as it can scale quite high when properly cared for. In return, the plant provides foliage in a gorgeous array of green and yellow colors that can beautify any space.

Millenials have become part of a new wellness movement through their purchases of organic food, gym memberships, and weekend retreats. Filling their apartments with plants is a big part of that. There’s a certain kind of serenity to be had from relaxing in your own personal forest, and research has found that being around plant life is good for human health overall.

For students, plants may be helpful during the study crunch for midterms and finals. Texas A&M University found that keeping plants around you when studying can help with memory and concentration due to their calming influence. It also found that you’re more likely to accomplish higher quality work, so be sure to spend your all-nighters and essay-writing sessions surrounded with some peace lilies and African violets.

Anybody can enjoy the health benefits from having indoor plants. NASA did a study on indoor houseplants and discovered that all 12 of the species they tested efficiently decreased the organic chemicals benzene and formaldehyde in the air. All plants are capable of this, as the cleaning systems within them stem from the physical plant itself instead of its soil.

Almost any household would benefit from having some green in it, and the fact that there are thousands of available options means that there is a plant for everyone. There’s something to be said for the meaning behind millennials caring for plants instead of children or a home, but their commitment to healthier lifestyles in comparison to past generations means that they’re headed in the right direction.

Many indoor plants, including the ones discussed in this article, can be toxic to children and animals if consumed. Please check if a plant is safe for your home before purchasing it.

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