The pandemic gave rise to a variety of hobbies, and one of them was houseplants. A survey of 1,250 American adults by Trees.com found that 1 in 4 plant owners started collecting houseplants as a pandemic hobby. Among this group, Gen Zers were more likely to be new to plant keeping.
The study also show that Gen Zers have more difficulty maintaining their hobby — 69 percent plant owners aged 18 to 24 said at least one houseplant died during the pandemic, and 10 percent lost 10 or more plants. In comparison, 60 percent of plant enthusiasts aged 25 or older say they lost at least one plant, and 6 percent lost 10 or more plants. Baby boomers had the most success with their houseplants during the pandemic.
“Anyone who has a hobby that involves a living thing can tell you that there is a lot of margin for error,” says Jo Cosgrove, a landscape and gardening professional. “Patience and keen observation are a huge part of keeping houseplants, so it’s key to practice perseverance and forgive your failures in order to grow into being a good plant parent.”
Survey results indicate that half of new plant owners started this hobby to improve their mental health. However, many also reported that owning houseplants is stressful. One-third of new plant owners agree that dead plants are a result of improper water balance. Among respondents who lost plants, 33 percent say that overwatering was the cause, while 32 percent say underwatering was to blame.
Tips for Successful Plant Care
If you’re among those who are stressing over plant care, here are a few tips from John Haryasz, landscape designer and horticulture writer with Trees.com, an online authority for hydroponics, gardening advice, product reviews, DIY and design ideas:
- Understand the plant needs.
As is always the case, you should take time to study the distinct needs of each plant that you intend to grow. Then evaluate those needs against what you can supply in your intended growing area. If you can give your plant the right amount of sun, heat and water, you are well on your way to raising a healthy houseplant.
- Know the humidity requirements.
There are some challenges specific to growing plants indoors. One topic you should address is humidity. Many of the plants we grow indoors enjoy a humid environment. A home with air conditioning or heating may make the air too dry for your plants.
- Consider container size.
Another detail you should attend to is the size of the containers you use. Since the indoor plants don’t grow in natural soil in the ground, you will need to rely on containers to support root development. You will eventually need to transplant your houseplants from one container to another when their roots get too expansive.
Beware of Toxicity
Plants are a tremendous addition to any home, but there are some cases in which you should be wary of bringing a new one home. If you have pets or small children, you should be especially cautious. Numerous common houseplants can be toxic to pets, humans or both. Those toxins can cause a range of maladies, some of which can be deadly.
To eliminate that risk, avoid housing any plants that pose a poisonous threat to kids, cats or dogs. After all, while there are many benefits to indoor plants, none are worth causing a medical emergency.