Houseplant Therapy: Green Thumbs to Fight the Blues

Confined to our rooms and disconnected from nature, we’re more anxious and stressed than ever. As consumers seek an antidote, houseplants are seeing a renaissance.

  • Last year, 30% of all households purchased at least one houseplant; some are spending thousands of dollars to turn their homes into green sanctuaries.
  • #plantsoftiktok has accumulated 3.7B+ views on TikTok, and “plantfluencers” have book deals, sponsorships, and millions of rapt followers.

A return to roots. With rising urbanism and COVID-19 lockdowns, we’re spending more time indoors than ever. To cope, consumers turned to houseplants. But what started as a pandemic hobby has blossomed into a wellness ritual with benefits beyond aesthetic appeal:

  • Studies show that plants and greenery boost our well-being, from reducing stress to increasing productivity.
  • Providing a sense of purpose, attending to plants can help people regain feelings of control; doctors now prescribe houseplants to help with anxiety and depression.
  • Beyond mental advantages, over half of consumers buy houseplants because of their air-purifying power.

Who’s who. Companies are innovating to grab their share of a surging $1.7B market:

  • DTC plant delivery and subscription startups like The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti position themselves as vendors of wellness and self-care.
  • Apps like SmartPlant, GrowIt!, and Greg (which recently secured $5.4M) help new plant owners avoid black thumb.

Meanwhile, despite increased competition including Big Box entrants, local brick-and-mortar nurseries remain resilient with skyrocketing sales — some are even moving online.

But, as demand soars and tastes shift, plant retailers across the industry report supply shortages and difficulties keeping up with fickle plant preferences. Austin Bryant, head of sales at a Florida greenhouse, worries about the sustainability of it all:

“We’re growing plants that are slow to produce, and this generation is flip-flopping faster than we can get liners in the soil.”

Takeaway: It’s no secret that being around plants is good for you — both mentally and physically. As anxiety and stress levels surge regardless of a pandemic, houseplant startups will continue to provide a sense of solace.