Milllennials love houseplants? Yay!


And it’s interesting, because I’m learning this just as I’ve begun to feel kind of blasé about my houseplants. I still have plenty, but I maintain them without as much interest as I used to—I get much more excited about my indoor bulb forcing projects, which fill the house in winter and dissipate with the coming of spring.

According to Washington Post style writer , twenty-and-thirty-somethings are using houseplants to fill the “void in their hearts.” Her youthful interviewees have as many as 50–180 plants filling their urban jungles. What our moms might have called “decorating,” the writer notes, these hipsters are terming “urban wilding” for their “jungalows.” It’s a hilarious but heartening report on the joy and despair inherent to interior plant care. Like finding plants covered in yellowing or browning leaves when they were healthy and happy just a few days previous. Like dealing with infestations when you hate using sprays. Like finally giving up and having to toss plants you’ve had for decades.

It’s all very familiar to me, and I’m thrilled if this is a real trend. Houseplants still get a bad rap, in spite of the efforts of  Tovah Martin (and other advocates). I wonder if these guys would like to try bulb forcing?

If you want to learn (and see) more, follow interviewee Hilton Carter’s Instagram account or look for the hashtags #urbanjungle or #plantgang.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Gardening, indoor or out, seems to be an every other generation thing. My maternal grandma had way more than a green thumb, she had a green body. My other grandma grew up a farm girl and gardening was WORK. She send me off with the neighbor to get the bedding out plants to go by the front porch and then direct me in the planting. That was it. But I learned more from her than my other grandma. But I learned to love landscapes just by playing in her garden. Neither of my parents gardened. Neither of my Millenial kids garden, but I bet I’ll have a grandchild who will. (If they have any). Or a neighbor kid hanging around.

    • My grandparents garden, my mother gardens, and now I garden. We all have our own interests by gardening the way we do: grandma is all about being organic, mom is a born scientist who grows anything and everything she can (she tried planting mango seeds in a pot after consuming the fruit), and I’m in it to support native insects/animals and the native plants I never see.

      My exposure certainly comes from the work my parents made us do growing up. I remember being 6 years old and complaining about having to remove rocks from the new vegetable bed. I weeded and helped plant mom’s flower beds as a teenager when I was bored and wanted to get a tan from working outdoors. Now I love my gardens, especially my wildflower bed. I do think houseplants are boring: they’re finicky and don’t have much flower color.

  2. With our long winters in Michigan any flower or green in the house is welcome. I keep orchids going, have a kelanchoe that blooms all winter after I force a second bloom and an amaryllis that I’ve had for years that I force to bloom after summering outside. Last year I even kept my Mandevelia alive inside and it is doing great this summer. It is not boring and I do not have a lot of time. It’s comfort.

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