Popularity of houseplants to flourish amid a pandemic
As stay-at-home orders kept people indoors for most of 2020, people found themselves hunting for hobbies as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down leisure activities. Along with the increase in the adoption of pets and home training equipment, indoor plant sales have skyrocketed as people seek new ways to care for them.
While it may seem easy to take care of plants, different breeds require different care, water and sunlight, said James Green, director of Green Landscape Nursery in Santa Clarita, who has seen an increase. 75% of houseplant sales since the start of the pandemic.
“We had to constantly restock and order new plants,” he said, “because they were sold out so quickly. “
“There are four or five really strong starter plants that people can buy,” he added. “You want to start with forgiving plants in case you forget to water it for a while. Once someone gets into the habit of caring for a houseplant, they can move on to others. But at first it can be easy to forget.
The most popular starter plants are the snake plant and the ZZ plant, Green said, because both plants can survive in any type of light, including no light, and do not require frequent watering. He added that both plants have a small root system, allowing them to absorb a large amount of water over a period of time and then dry out until they are watered again.
Porthos, especially golden porthos, is another popular and recommended plant for beginners because it is known as the “forgiving plant,” Green said. The plant is usually potted in a hanging pot, but can also be planted in a regular pot to put on a shelf or can be placed on a counter to give the space a tropical touch.
For those who would like a floral plant, the peace lily is a good choice for someone who doesn’t have a routine for watering plants, Green said. He added that the leaves of the plant hang low when water is needed, but straighten up quickly and the flowers of the plant last a long time.
Professional tips for plant care
“Do some research on the specific plant you are buying,” Green said. “The signs of overwatering or underwatering from one plant are different from another, so it’s best to examine the plant you own or take it to a professional for advice. “
Green added another tip, saying he frequently sees people transferring houseplants to large pots before they’re ready, which can lead to plants wilting. He also added the use of an organic fertilizer for any type of houseplant, but warned that a continuously moist fertilizer can attract fungus gnats, which are not harmful to humans, pets or plants, but can be maddening to manage.
“Always check after about 30 minutes after watering,” said Sandy Cudmore, nurseryman and buyer for Green Thumb Nursery in Newhall. “If there is water in the saucer, clean it out.” Soil that remains too wet deprives the plant of oxygen and can promote midges.
For those with pets, picking animal-friendly plants should be a high priority, according to Cudmore. Plants that are easy to maintain and also accept pets are money tree and pachira aquatica. “You can be away for two weeks and they won’t need to be watered. They’re safe for pets, aren’t picky about the light, and aren’t known to catch many pests, ”Cudmore said.
Space and light
The light available in a home should also be considered before purchasing a houseplant, as some plants require more or less light than others. For open areas that get lots of sun, Cude recommends more ficus lyrata, crotons, or anthuriums but also needs to be turned after watering so each side can absorb sunlight.
Plants that require little or no light are sansevierias, silver trees, and ficus decora, also called rubber trees.
If a taller plant is desired, Green said dracaena is a good choice that doesn’t take up too much space, as the plant has a thin trunk and can grow up to nine feet tall. “It’s a great plant for the corner of a room,” he added.
If an herbal plant is desired, starting with soft tissue herbs such as basil and cilantro can help people get started with growing edible plants easily. Green said these plants may survive best in a kitchen window that doesn’t get direct sunlight, but the homeowner will need to prune the plants frequently, as they grow many small branches that can weigh down the stem.
“It’s great collecting houseplants because they purify the air and give off oxygen,” Cudmore said. “They’re also good for you mentally because it’s a type of education. During the covid, houseplants became very popular and created a lot of communication and sharing about favorites. “