If you are reading this, you are probably into houseplants. You might call yourself a plant parent and there is a fair chance that you have invested a serious amount of time and effort into this hobby (which you might call a slight obsession 😉). And you are not the only one. I went from having plants as a hobby to being completely fascinated by them and now, they are my job. My name is Annelijne Verburgt and I am a plantstylist. I bring nature from the outside in and help people experience the benefits of working and living surrounded by houseplants through my company GoJungle.
But how did houseplants become so popular? I went on a little quest to answer this question. Enjoy!
What is an Urban Jungle?
Especially among millennials, the ‘Urban Jungle trend’ is tremendously popular. But what actually is an Urban Jungle? According to the Oxford Dictionary, an Urban Jungle is: “A dangerous, bewilderingly complex, or fast-paced urban environment; an urban area characterised by ruthless competition, struggle, or exploitation.” Whoa. That does not sound like the lovely planteriors I see on Instagram?! It does remind me of something else: life in a big city.
Besides living in urban areas in which lush green had to make room for concrete, we’re glued to our screens. Of our computers, our laptops, our tablets, and our phones. The latter takes up approximately 3.5 hours per day of the average person according to this 2020 study. When we add ‘interacting with media’ (which includes listening to music or a podcast instead of swiping or viewing), the average time spent by American adults is more than 11 hours per day, Nielsen (2018) found. So, if you think about it, we spend almost 70% of our waking hours somehow connected to our devices. Ouch.
Okay, so we are basically robots living in rough confinements made from stones and cement. While this finding is rather confronting, it does bring us a step closer to answering the initial question. Plants are an escape from our busy, nature-deprived lives. And unlike other things we buy to make ourselves feel good, plants need our care. We water them, provide the with just the right amount and type of light, dust off their leaves, prune them and inspect them to make sure they are not inhabited by nasty pests. If we do a good job, we get to watch them grow.
Experiencing that something thrives under your care can be very satisfying. It is a constant reward of the time and effort you put in it. But this is not the only reason Urban Jungles are so popular these days. There are many benefits one reaps when living and/or working surrounded by plants. Some of those have to do with our physical health: they reduce our blood pressure, heart rate and levels of physical discomfort or pain. Plants also clean polluted air by filtering out toxins, according to NASA. Other perks aid our mental wellbeing: we’re more relaxed, can concentrate better and we experience less stress. They enhance our creativity and increase our motivation (for example when we’re at work). Even simply touching a leaf, calms us down. But does this go for all of them? The answer is yes, although some plants make us happier and healthier than others. For example, snake plants and ivies are known for their purifying abilities, while aloe vera sap is a great way to treat burnt skin.
Boost your interior
So our green friends 1) let us reconnect with nature and 2) improve our physical and mental wellbeing. But there is a third reason why we have welcomed houseplants (in small or greater numbers) into our homes: their aesthetic. Plants uplift any room, whether its in a private home or at the workplace. When combined with the right planters, one can create an ambiance that exudes a sense of serenity, sustainability and trendiness.
Are you a more seasoned plantmom- or dad? And are you looking for something that has an even bigger ‘wow-factor’? Then I advise you to take a look at plants that are not for sale at your local garden center. I am talking about variegated plants (these are plants of which parts of the leaves and/or stems are white or otherwise coloured differently than typical green) and rare species that can (often) only be bought online. As these ‘limited editions’ are harder to find and harder to care for, they are more expensive than their ‘regular’ brothers and sisters. Whenever clients wish to add exclusive plants to their Urban Jungle to be, I always consult Yvon from Planting.Inc. Her plants are stunningly beautiful, healthy and reasonably priced. Besides that, Yvon is a well-knowledged professional who’s service is on point.
This blog was written by Annelijne Verburgt - owner of GoJungle.