All of us have indulged in new hobbies over the past year. From knitting and crocheting becoming gen Z’s new obsession to making sourdough bread from scratch, we have tried nailing our search for the perfect lockdown antidote. But what if the solace we are seeking includes getting down and dirty to satiate our green thumbs?
Plant influencers (shortened ‘plantfluencers’) refer to the predominantly millennial masses who have dedicated their life to plants and self-care. These ‘plant gurus’ share their beautiful gardens on social media and encourage followers to create their own with an extensive set of guidelines. Fostering a global community, these influencers reinforce their belief in self-care with plants, also termed as ‘shelf-care’. From landing book deals to sponsors, these ‘plant parents’ currently boast some of the highest engagement rates across multiple platforms.
Plantfluencers are one of the many pandemic-accelerated phenomena. With a boom in Google search interest for keywords such as ‘gardening’ and ‘interior decor’, consumers increasingly refocused their efforts on making their homes more pleasant during the lockdown. These plantfluencers started creating urban jungles within the confines of their own homes as an attempt to reconnect with nature in city life. Trapped in a rapid-paced digital life, others followed suit.
Considering plants as more than just a prop, plantfluencers have constantly found ways to incorporate gardening as a form of self-care. They eventually peaked among rising anxieties as gardening—to simply buying plants—kept followers occupied for the greater good.
The Economist comments that millennials are more likely to save up for houseplants than the house itself. Over the COVID-induced lockdowns, plantfluencers have seized this opportunity to target millennials’ and now increasingly Gen Z’s obsession with houseplants. Activities like plant swaps, drives, and podcasts help these influencers connect with their followers as they generate some of the most popular posts under tags such as #houseplantsofinstagram and #urbanjungle.
According to a study by Garden Research, nearly a quarter of houseplant sales were made by those between the ages of 18 to 34 in 2020. Certain houseplants like the cactus have even achieved the title of “the most Instagrammable houseplant” with an extraordinary 23 million posts dedicated to the spiny plant. This goes on to show the traction this phenomenon has gathered. Plantfluencers are huge advocates of mental health too as they battle rising anxiety with curated positivity—a message that had already been adopted by millennials and gen Zers, only to be reinforced as the pandemic came along.
1. Darryl Cheng (@houseplantjournal)
Darryl Cheng is the creator of House Plant Journal, a blog that initially started out on Tumblr. As a business analyst, engineer, photographer, and home gardener, Cheng actively answers questions about plant care to encourage responsible plant parenting. He is also the author of The New Plant Parent, an essential guide to indoor gardening.
2. Hilton Carter (@hiltoncarter)
Hilton Carter is a plant and interior stylist. Titled the ‘plant doctor’ of Apartment Therapy, he is the author of Wild Creations, Wild At Home, and Wild Interiors. He preaches bonding with houseplants and shares tips on how to position and style them in homes with his impressive following.
3. Jamie Song (@jamies_jungle)
Jamie Song is a London-based online vintage retailer at the Bureau of Interior Affairs. Harboring an interest in houseplants, Song doubles his home into an art gallery, workspace, and warehouse. On his Instagram feed, he shares his ‘plant parenthood journey’ along with weekly care routines.
4. Jasmine Jefferson (@blackgirlswithgardens)
Jasmine Jefferson is the founder of Black Girls With Gardens, a collective dedicated to women of colour interested in gardening. Jefferson prides on running the entire community by herself and frequently updates blog posts regarding the basics of gardening. Her Instagram account features regular shoutouts and recommendations to other members of the horticulture community.
5. Alice Vincent (@noughticulture)
Alice Vincent is a features editor at Penguin Books who also likes sharing her adventures in urban gardening through her Instagram account, which doubles as a newsletter. Her first book, How To Grow Stuff was published in 2017. Since then, she has written Rootbound and was featured on Gardens Illustrated.
Next stop: Planstagram!