Growing plants is not a new concept. Gardening has been a common hobby for thousands of years; the average age of gardening enthusiasts online is 44 years old, and the typical age people become interested in gardening in the UK is 41. But lately, plants have enjoyed a boom in popularity among millennials and Gen Z, with Instagram feeds now full of #PlantParents.
Keeva Byrne is a 23-year-old makeup artist and boasts a collection of 20 indoor plants and almost 50 outdoor succulents. “I’ve always loved plants from a young age!” said Byrne. “My mum was a garden designer and my grandad was a rose breeder so I was always seeing new gorgeous and exciting plants. But the past year or so I’ve become really interested in them again!”
Byrne technically started her plant collection when she was a baby, as her grandad bred her a rose they named the Keeva Rose, which still has a home in her family garden. However, her more recent collection began with a succulent cutting from a friend.
“My mum always said how relaxing gardening was and how she could just lose track of time out there,” said Byrne. “I didn’t really understand until I got into it, my head just felt so much clearer.”
Byrne continued, mentioning how “taking care of something gave me a small amount of responsibility at times when I didn’t want to look after myself even. It was so nice to de-stress, not think about anything else, and just focusing on something that you will see amazing results with is very therapeutic! It was great for me mentally to stay busy and have a new hobby but also to get outside and get some air and try new things!”
Having plants in and around our home doesn’t just look good – they can make us feel good, too. Studies have shown that plants can:
- Boost your mood, productivity, concentration, and creativity
- Reduce your stress, fatigue, sore throats, and colds
- Help clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity & producing oxygen
- Add life to a sterile space, give privacy, and reduce noise levels
- Be therapeutic when you care for them
Peter Dowdall, a gardening expert also known as The Irish Gardener, agrees that gardening is very therapeutic, and that’s why young people may be taking an interest in it. “The more urban we become the more we remove ourselves from the natural world; the further we remove ourselves from nature the more our issues increase,” said Dowdall. “I think with everything that’s going on in the world, plants and gardening can offer us some answers and that might be why young people are turning to them.”
“We are electrically charged beings ourselves,” said Dowdall. “I don’t care whether you call it connecting with God, or connecting with the Earth, but human beings are negatively charged with ions and the earth is positively charged so it balances each other out. There’s huge mental health benefits with even just touching the soil and interacting with the world around us.”
With climate change and environmental issues more important than ever, Dowdall also believes this could be why young people are turning to plants. “The younger generation are just be becoming a bit more environmentally conscious. People are more aware of what plants and gardening can do to alleviate environmental problems.”
Even if you live in a home without a garden, there are benefits that come from being surrounded by houseplants. “House plants are the most efficient air purifiers we can get for our homes,” said Dowdall.