- By Maribel Molina American-Statesman Staff
Just take a scroll through Instagram and in between mirror selfies, plant collection photos are springing up.
More than 10 million posts are hashtagged plants.
So why would “entitled” and “lazy” (as older generations have described us) millennials want to start working on their green thumbs?
Time and money are two simple explanations. Having children means forking over around a quarter of a million bucks on average. And while cheaper, people spend increasingly more money on their pets.
“Lack of time and limited space can also explain millennials growing interest in houseplants. This segment of the population is working longer hours and a higher proportion are living in condos that often regulate pet ownership, making plants a cheaper, easier alternative,” according to The Toronto Star.
House plants also can help spruce up a space as modern, clean and simple home design becomes trendier. Green life can also promote healthy living and an appreciation for the environment.
This perfectly explains why the Pantone Color Institute recently named “Greenery” the “Color of the Year” for 2017. The color authority writes, “the more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.”
For others like myself, gardening runs in the family.
My mom has always loved planting, probably because her name is Rose. For Mother’s Day one year I bought her a bunch of seeds and plants so she could go to town on our yard. Visiting my parents usually involves a quick peek at what’s growing in the front yard (currently, there are rose bushes, tomatoes, jalapeños and Serrano peppers). And if asked to describe my grandmother’s house, the first thing I’d point out would be all the greenery on the front porch.
About half a year or so ago, I began the process of buying stuff to liven up my desk at work. The first thing I got was a total impulse buy from H-E-B: A succulent in a small brown planter. I watered it even though a couple of my co-workers joked that it wasn’t a real plant. It’s since grown to just under 5 inches in height. During the holiday season, one of my bosses gifted me with another succulent, this time in a magnetic orb planter. This one hasn’t grown as much, but I’m staying optimistic about it.
My boyfriend came home last week with a plant that his graduate professor had left him in his cubicle. It’s found a home on a table on the balcony of our apartment. I thought it looked lonely, so I made yet another impulse buy and added a miniature rose plant to our collection. See, once you start collecting plants, you notice them everywhere. A college acquaintance recently posted an Instagram of her more than 20 house plants. Three of my colleagues that sit in my vicinity have plants on their desks too.
Young people also use plants as a form of expression. Two years ago, I joined a Facebook group called “UT Plants” for Longhorn plant enthusiasts. Members get to share photos of their collections and tips for growing and buying plants. While succulents and cacti are “in,” I’ve seen my fellow millennials branching out and building gardens for herbs and vertical planters. The planters can also be the focal point, with toy dinosaurs and Pokemon figures serving as the base for growing a plant.
The millennial population now exceeds that of the baby boomers. Next time you’re in a plant nursery, don’t be surprised to see young people. “Plant parents” know no age limit.