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Millennials are causing a booming house plant market

Posted October 17, 2019 4:15 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2019 6:33 p.m. EDT

— Nicole Cranley's house looks like something out of a magazine. It's perfectly spotless and includes the smiling husband, adorable dog and plants. Lots of plants.

"I love it. I love being able to showcase our home," she said.

Cranley started her love of plants with an orchid she kept on her desk while studying for her doctorate. Now she has about 30 plants all over her home. Each is placed where it will get the correct sunlight while making the room seem more inviting.

"I think millennials are just like plant lovers. You know crazy plant lady. Sometimes I feel like a crazy plant lady because I have so many plants," she said.

It's actually not quite as crazy as she might imagine. Over the last three years Americans, especially millennials, have been buying more plants. The American Gardening Association estimates sales have increased by 50% to $1.7 Billion.

"We are having costumers that are newbies, coming to us for their first purchase," said Megan George, owner of the Zen Succulent which sells house plants and custom terrariums.

George started her business as a simple Etsy store online and it quickly blossomed into a brick and mortar store. She now runs two locations – one in Raleigh and one in downtown Durham.

"The millennial buzz, they are all coming in for a bunch of greenery," she said.

And they want that greenery, in many cases, to look good on social media. Cranley said she did not start off buying plants to post on Instagram, but it's definitely an added bonus.

"I think that Instagram just makes it more accessible," Cranley said. "Instagram is allowing us to see the potential for what a house full of plants could look like."

If you search #instagramplants, you will find more than 3 million examples of people showing off their plants and their homes.

"Social media has had such a huge impact on our business and also getting a variety of different people into plants," said George.

It's also about bringing a sense of peace into the home. Millennials are known for their focus on health and wellness, and plants can provide a calm few things can.

"It is the nice, trendy thing to do, but you can learn to care about something other than yourself," George said.

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