From lush temperament fiddle leaf figs to laid-back snake plants, indoor houseplants have become a common sight in many millennial and Gen Z homes.
In early 2020, Google searches for popular plants such as pothos and prayer plants saw a surge of new plant parents (including this author). To date he has amassed over 6 billion views. Delivery sites like The Sill and Bloomscape are now offering alternatives to the local store, making it quick and easy to create an Instagram-worthy oasis at home.
Houseplants provide therapeutic and health benefits, but their industry has a negative impact on the environment. credit: Morsa Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Dr. Lauren R. Oki, environmental horticulture expert at UC Davis and co-director of the UC Nursery and Floraculture Alliance, said: “There is a high density of plants and a high turnover rate[between growing plants and shipping plants]. resources,” said Potting Mix.
Maintaining an indoor garden has therapeutic and health benefits. Gardening, both indoors and outdoors, can help relieve stress, sharpen your alertness, and bring much-needed greenery to your urban environment. But horticulturist Missy Bidwell, who manages the greenhouses at Cornell Botanical Gardens in New York, said it’s important to pay attention and balance all the resources needed to grow and maintain houseplants. “When you stop and think about all your inputs, you need to (think) about your outputs. Do your outputs have a greater advantage? Are they having a greater impact on your life?” ”
Although the horticultural industry has made progress in areas such as energy efficient greenhouses and improved water use in recent years, overall and urgent environmental impacts remain.
The billions of dollars behind local plant factories require vast amounts of resources and produce waste and pollution. credit: Mansore Motamedi/Moment RF/Getty Images
“The industry needs pesticides because houseplants and other nursery products are aesthetic products,” Oki points out. If there is, people won’t buy it, so there’s consumer pressure that producers have to meet as well.”
Waste is also an issue. Like many industries, the horticultural sector has a serious problem with single-use plastics. “Plastic is in everything we do, from pots to dirt bags to plastic tags to plastic sleeves,” Bidwell said.
“Part of that nature is wrapped in one of nature’s most toxic substances,” says plant store owner Andreas Szankay of the plastic pots in which the plants are grown. He and his partner use biodegradable pots as an alternative. credit: Roosevelt Nguyen
“Some of that nature is encased in one of nature’s most toxic substances. It doesn’t have to be.”
An alternative is biodegradable pots, which Szankay and his wife Stephanie aim to popularize in their shop, Pollyn. They repot all seedlings in biopots made from materials such as coconut fiber, cow dung and paper pulp.
According to Andreas, biopots keep plants healthier “because they allow for more air and water exchange,” and some ingredients help fertilize the plant’s roots. They are easy to find on , and Szankay hopes nurseries that supply plants will start using them.
In the scheme of things, a collection of houseplants is likely to be far less damaging to the environment than what you have in your closet or refrigerator. Individuals in need may feel like they are barely solving a much bigger problem that requires the biggest players to lead the way. I have.
According to Bidwell, the first thing you can do when adding something new to your collection is to consider your “plant miles.”
Propagating plant clippings in water or soil to grow new plants is the greenest way to grow your collection. credit: Wachirawit Iemlerkchai/Moment RF/Getty Images
When buying online, research where your plants come from.
“It’s very important to be good stewards of your plants,” said Bidwell. “It is important to bring living things[home]and they need to be taken care of.”