I had just finished an exhaustive Google Maps search for ficus retailers within a four-mile radius, when I can across this Washington Post article asserting fashionable urban millennials have been besotted with a fresh, frantic, near universal desire to fill their homes with plants. The piece is titled “Millennials are filling their homes—and the void in their hearts—with houseplants.”
I wouldn’t race to call the article, published Thursday, “fair” or “accurate”—what trend piece is? It’s never really about the avocado toast. The author, Lavanya Ramanathan writes, “Greenery has been a motif among the achingly hip for at least three years, when blouses flecked with leaves and palm trees and massive birds of paradise first strutted dow the runways at Marc Jacobs and Marni, and then floated all the way down to the Gap.” Ok!
Still, there’s definitely something going on. I am either too young, too old, or too tightly-budgeted to conjure a “jungalow” in my mind’s eye, but apparently that’s a decorating theme that sophisticates in their 20s and 30s have recently taken to. Some have dozens of plants that they care for tenderly, emphatically, while others have one large, difficult plant to meticulously prune, cherish, and hold. This is where we get into “void in their hearts” territory. A 31-year-old man co-habiting with his partner in a midcentury house in Iowa is quoted saying of his greenery, “They’re each your own little baby.”
Then we get a brief disquisition on houseplant revivals from the Industrial Revolution to Instagram. That’s fine, but in a deeper sense everything that can be beautiful is a trend now, because it can be put on Instagram. I once spent easily an hour (more) on Instagram scrolling through images of bowls of porridge that were just…stunning.
In any case, I do believe there could be something to this idea of a particular houseplant trend at this time. The other night I was getting dinner with a friend, and out of nowhere I blurted that I really wanted to fill my room with plants, and she agreed that she wanted that too, for herself. I don’t know whether we were susceptible to personal brand curation, or the void, or what, but in that moment it was earnestly all I wanted.