Roommate wanted: plants

Departments - Outlook

July 20, 2022

Plants are often treated like people, which continues to be a win for our industry.

Earlier this year, Gardens Alive! surveyed consumers to find out what they really think of their houseplants. Turns out, a lot of folks love plants like family. While I could relate to some of the data, a few stats were head-scratchers.

The generational analysis shows that younger generations are going for intimate bonds with fewer plants. Gen Z is most likely to name their plants, while baby boomers are least likely to do the same.

I’m a Gen X-er and I name some of my houseplants.

Do people name their plants?

Gen Z – Yes: 36.9% | No: 63.1%
Millennial – Yes: 32.1% | No: 67.9%
Gen X – Yes: 25.4% | No: 74.6%
Baby boomer – Yes: 14.9% | No: 85.1%

Plant names is probably my favorite part of the survey. Leaf Erikson and Fernie Sanders really made me snicker.

Top 10 favorite plant names

Walter the Watermelon
Chris Stemsworth
Fernie Sanders
George Bush
Leaf Erickson
Connor the Cactus
Rhubert
Abogado the Avocado Plant
Mr. Fiddlesticks
Chlora Phil

I have a Monstera deliciosa named Phil, a nod to the old common name of split-leaf philodendron. Not only do I talk to Phil, I sing to him. The 5th Dimension had a 1969 hit called “Wedding Bell Blues.” In it, Marilyn McCoo sings, “Bill, I love you so, I always will.” I change “Bill” to “Phil,” and my houseplant gets a personal concert from me at least once a week.

The survey also found when split by generation, each generation owns and cares for fewer plants on average than the preceding generation.

Owns more than 15 plants:

Baby boomers: 28%

Gen X: 24.2%
Millennials: 13.5%
Gen Z: 6%

And in the things that make you go, hmmmm department:

Would Americans rather give up alcohol or all of their plants?

54.5% of Americans would rather give up alcohol
45.5% of Americans would rather give up their plants

Netflix and chill or planting and watering?

43.9% of Americans would rather give up Netflix
56.1% of Americans would rather give up their plants

Houseplants are still a strong category with growers and retailers continuing to cash in on them. Check out our cover story (page 22) on Thorsen’s and how they capitalize on houseplants, and flip over to page 26 to see how independent garden centers responded to houseplant market research. Make sure your production plans and their needs match up for a profitable partnership.

Kelli Rodda | krodda@gie.net