In her two decades of working with plants, Maree Wiki has never seen anything grow quite like New Zealand’s indoor plant market. Wiki, who’s the owner of plant store Flora and Co in New Plymouth, says the rise in popularity of indoor houseplants in the past few years can be linked to a few things; social media, the Covid-19 pandemic, and lifestyle changes.
The younger generation is renting in cities and in flats that don’t allow pets, “so houseplants have become something that they can care for”, Wiki says. While the Covid-19 pandemic also led to a rise in renovations and redecorating. In almost 25 years of working in horticulture, Wiki says she’s never seen anything like the current houseplant craze which has “taken all the growers by storm”.
Similar to fashion, plants also have trends that tend to come and go out of style. Decades ago, monsteras were growing in huge, bright green clusters in outdoor gardens, now they’re often seen in shiny pots in many homes. In the 90s, flowers were in-trend. Now it’s philodendrons and pothos dangling off bookcases, and fiddle leaf fig adorning living rooms.
Wiki recalls marble queen being a popular and in-demand houseplant that was hard to come by a few years ago. More recently, a chain of hearts was the in-plant, then a string of turtles was sought-after by many, with small cuttings of a few leaves fetching high prices on Facebook pages. The price of these plants has come down over time, with a fully established string of turtles since spotted at garden stores for about $40. Once the in-trend plants are propagated and more frequently sold to catch up with the demand, the market gets saturated and the prices drop significantly. Prices often come down to supply and demand, Wiki says.
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