Judy Kucharuk: Growing our urban jungles


Is it my imagination or has the cultivation of houseplants become a thing?

Personally, I have not owned a houseplant of any variation in years. I blame my lack of potted, live foliage on having a cat and his penchant for digging in the dirt, but it really was because I couldn’t be bothered to water them regularly. It was back in the day when my children were little and I was so busy that I could only focus on one thing at a time: water the plants regularly or feed the children regularly. The kids were victorious.

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My mom has always owned houseplants and African Violets love sitting on her coffee table. They seem to be in bloom constantly – a sign that she is worthy of the I Can Grow A Houseplant badge. She also has a huge plant in the kitchen that tends to bite you if get too close. I think she might have received it in someone’s last will and testament. Seriously, people do inherit plants.

Why do I believe houseplants have become a thing? Both my daughter and daughter-in-law have recently curated a huge collection of houseplants. They are trading slips of this and that regularly and tagging each other in Facebook posts where someone is selling plants. Their houseplants are gorgeous and plentiful – hanging from the ceiling, sitting on shelves, and lining the walls. I am a wee bit envious that both of them can keep the plants, the children, and the animals all alive simultaneously. I reckon my personal feeling of inadequacy by reminding myself, “They don’t have a cat, so….”

Why the sudden interest in potted houseplants? Is it a mystery similar to the conundrum of where all the yeast went?

After doing a bit of Googling, I discovered that it wasn’t my imagination – houseplants ARE experiencing a comeback especially among millennial and Gen Z population.

Experts are saying that owning and cultivating houseplants is popular because it fulfills a need to nurture something and see it grow; they are beautiful to look at and bring nature inside.

Instagram has also become a popular place to share your plant obsession. Photos of gorgeous urban jungles that have been created in a 500-square-foot apartment populate timelines using hashtags like #plantsofinstagram. There is even a hierarchy in the plant community. For example, the Monstera has become 2020’s most popular houseplant and, apparently, it can be incredibly expensive to purchase and there are scam artists out there who will take big money in exchange for one.

We also did this back in my day, but they weren’t Monstera plants.

Is this going to be something similar to when you get a pet and purchasing from a breeder is a no-no? Are you going to have to explain the genesis of your newest plant in your collection with, “I didn’t purchase this from a breeder. I traded a loaf of sourdough bread for a slip from this plant and planted it myself”?

Judy Kucharuk is a community columnist living in Dawson Creek. 

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