Life Home Millennials are killing industries. But in the plant industry, they’re thriving
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Millennials are killing industries. But in the plant industry, they’re thriving

Indoor plants
Indoor plants are here to stay and they're not going anywhere, thanks to biophelia. Photo: Getty
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Millennials might be to blame for the death of television and health insurance, but there’s one area that’s blooming because of them: House plants.

Their sales are growing by about 2 per cent a year in a $1.3 billion retail nursery industry, and the biggest increase in buyers has been from the 18 to 35 age group.

That growth has birthed new jobs and services to meet demand.

Enter: The plant stylist.

Catalogues, showrooms and social media are filled with leafy images of foliage-laden interiors and young Australians are desperate to recreate them in their homes.

That’s how Alana Langan found herself working as a plant stylist, among other things.

Ms Langan runs Melbourne’s Ivy Muse with business partner Jacqui Vidal, and said they’d adapted in line with trends and customer demand.

They started six years ago, just selling Melbourne-made floor pot stands online.

Customers wanted to see them in action, so they opened a small retail space.

Then customers wanted to buy the plants that adorned the stands, then the pots, and before long, they were asking Ms Langan and Ms Vidal to recreate the now-expanded store’s display aesthetic in their homes.

With a background as an interior stylist, it was a natural way for Ms Langan to enter a burgeoning job sphere.

“We’ve grown organically – by paying attention to trends and listening to our customers,” Ms Langan said.

Now, fitting out homes and commercial spaces with carefully designed plant placement is a key part of their business.

Why house plants? Because science

Trends come and go, but indoor plants are rooted deep in our makeup as human beings, Dominique Hes says.

Dr Hes, who holds a science degree in botany and a PhD in architecture, told The New Daily it’s biophilia that’s to thank for our fondness for indoor plants.

Biophilia is a human’s innate need for connection with the environment.

Almost intangible, in today’s age when many people live in city apartments or properties without backyards, that connection can be recreated indoors.

“People are just begging for greenery in their lives,” Dr Hes said.

It’s not just the primal side plants appeal to; people are seeking indoor plants because of the boost they give to our wellbeing.

There’s some research into how plants can improve indoor air quality, Dr Hes said.

Dr Hes was part of the team that created the Plant Life Balance app, which allows a user to kit out their space with house plants, which then show how the air quality would react to their chosen new green friends.

Want to see which plants would best boost your indoor air quality? There’s an app for that. Photo: Plant Life Balance

To your door

You can sign up to get regular deliveries of wine, cheese, your favourite magazine, new beauty products – and now, house plants.

Brisbane’s Rhiannon Campbell started Australia’s first subscription service especially for house plants in late 2018.

Similar services already existed in the United Kingdom, and as a lover of plants, Ms Campbell wanted to jump on the opportunity in Australia.

She’s since sold the business, but watched it grow from two monthly subscribers to 120-plus in 12 months.

Now, she runs The Plant Lounge, and says she’s watched as the market develops around her.

“It’s a nice community,” Ms Campbell said.

Expect to see more and more plant-based ventures pop up – the trend doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.

So what’s next?

Ms Langan said we can expect the biophilic trend to continue in home design, with plants being built into the home from the outset rather than as an addition.

“Think, window boxes built into kitchens to grow herb gardens in,” she said.

Dr Hes said plants will continue to permeate our lives: The next trend she predicts is music – it has been shown that plants, through hooking them up to feedback devices and playing them music, will thrive.

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