Plant Love - Exploring Plant Purchasing Habits and Plant Care in 2020
Plant Love - Exploring Plant Purchasing Habits and Plant Care in 2020

Life in quarantine means spending more time at home than ever before. While there may be fewer options for recreational activities outside of the home, like going to the movies, dining out, and shopping, this time spent at home isn’t stopping millions of people everywhere from exploring new hobbies and passions.

On top of the stress you might be experiencing as a result of living through a global health pandemic, spending so much extra time at home could be compounding your frustrations rather than helping to alleviate them. But as many people are discovering, there is one potential solution for brightening up your interior space that may come with a whole host of benefits you weren’t expecting: houseplants.

Surrounding yourself with greenery is a good homeopathic remedy for allergy relief by purifying the air, but bringing plants into your home can also have a positive impact on your mood, sleep quality, and stress levels. Essentially all the things someone getting through 2020 needs in their life.

So how have plant purchasing trends changed in the midst of lockdown and work-from-home orders, and how are people learning to care for their plants to make sure they thrive? To find out, we surveyed nearly 1,000 people to understand how many plants they’ve purchased in 2020, how they picked their flora, how good they think they are at keeping their plants alive, and how these new green-thumbs have helped their relationships at home. Read on to see what we uncovered about the dawn of this green age of houseplants during the pandemic.

Plant Purchasing Behaviors

Stoneside Plant Love - Sprouting Interest Infographic

Houseplants may be having their moment in the sun, but people have been buying plants for millennia.

Among those surveyed, respondents started buying plants three years ago, on average. And once you realize you can keep at least one or two alive, you might be emboldened to buy more – the average person had just over 13 plants in and around their home. On average, baby boomers amassed the largest collection of houseplants (17), followed by Generation X respondents (14) and millennials (12).

Even though there’s more to keeping foliage alive than sunlight and hydration, most people aren’t picking plants based on the conditions they need to thrive. Forty-five percent of respondents admitted to choosing their houseplants based on the way they looked, and another 36% opted for certain species of plants based on what they produced.

The environment you bring a plant into is one of the biggest factors in whether it lives or dies, and millennials (21%) were the most conscious of picking plants based on the conditions they need to survive. On the other hand, millennials were tied with Generation X plant owners as the most likely to pick greenery primarily based on looks and the least likely to be interested in what that plant might produce. *A majority of plant owners admitted their foliage was for ambiance and decoration (64%) rather than a practical food source (36%). *

As it happens, making sure your plants are getting enough light isn’t always the biggest environmental issue you might face. A round-the-clock, 24-hour light schedule can also leave your greenery looking yellow and wilted, so it’s important to make sure you aren’t overwhelming your foliage with too many rays of sunshine. While you can rotate your plants in and out of window spaces to try and limit their exposure to light, another option includes automated blinds or curtains that you can program to let in as much (or as little) light as needed. For example, orchids, which are notoriously difficult to care for, will only bloom during specific times of year under very meticulously curated light levels. Motorized window treatments take the labor out of providing your orchid with the perfect light with automated scheduling. Automated scheduling can be as simple as “up in the morning, down at night” to “30% open at 12:00PM; 80% open at 5:00PM; closed at 8:00PM”, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Buying Plants During the Pandemic

Stoneside Plant Love - The Purposes of Plant Purchasing Infographic

Even if all your houseplants do is help you feel more at peace in your home while you’re stuck sheltering in place, they may be doing a heck of a job.

Sixty-five percent of people who bought houseplants since March 2020 acknowledged their primary purpose was to beautify their home, followed by growing their own food (57%), wanting to have something else to focus on (54%), and as an excuse to get outside during the pandemic (49%).

Millennials were the most likely to open their wallets and homes to the idea of expanding their collection of houseplants during the pandemic to help their mental focus and most commonly identified having extra time on their hands (46%). In contrast, baby boomers were the most likely to buy houseplants to beautify their home or to grow their own food. While less common, 30% of Gen X plant owners purchased houseplants during the pandemic with the primary purpose of bonding with their partner or family members.

No small expense, the average person shopping for plants during the pandemic spent $124.50, this includes Generation X respondents who spent the most at $133.64.

Something to Talk About

Stoneside Plant Love - Seedlings of Conversation Infographic

If you happen to walk in on your spouse or a family member having a conversation with one of the plants, don’t worry, they’re probably just trying to help them grow a little faster.

More than half of plant parents (55%) admitted to talking to their plants either sometimes or regularly, while just 15% only rarely tried chatting up their plants, and 30% were too shy to consider having a conversation at all. Research shows that even some light conversing with your foliage can help them thrive in your home, and 93% of people who talked to their plants at least sometimes reported having a positive experience gardening.

Baby boomers (59%) were the most likely to regularly or at least sometimes talk to their plants, followed by Generation X respondents (56%) and millennials (52%). Compared to just 54% of people who never took the time to talk with their plants, 86% of plant owners sometimes or regularly hosting a conversation with their plants identified as being good at gardening. Want to take your plant care to the next level? Forty-three percent of respondents also admitted to naming their plants.

Chatty or not, 27% of people indicated gardening helped reduce their stress to a great extent over the last few months, and 43% indicated their stress had at least declined a moderate amount. People taking the time to talk to their plants more often were 3.5 times more likely to report their stress had decreased by a great extent during the pandemic.

Edible Arrangements

Stoneside Plant Love - Plants with Promise Infographic

Since March 2020, flowers were the go-to plant purchase for 72% of respondents, but people were more likely to purchase vegetable plants (62%) during the pandemic than traditional houseplants (57%) or herbs (46%).

Baby boomers (84%) were the most likely generation to purchase flowers since March, though baby boomers (63%), Gen Xers (63%), and millennials (61%) were almost equally as likely to have purchased vegetable plants.

With tomato season stretching from May to October, 53% of people growing their own food since March reported tending to their own tomato vines. Cucumbers (22%), peppers (17%), and basil (11%) were other popular foods grown at home this year. Thankfully, you don’t always need a full yard to grow your own vegetables. Under the right conditions, tomatoes can grow in a planter on a patio, as long as you make sure they aren’t getting too much water. If you’re growing your tomatoes inside, you can help balance the amount and types of sunlight throughout the day your plant is getting with shades on your window. Shades can make it easy to control any of your indoor gardens sunlight exposure, while limiting the amount of work on you.

Green Relationship Goals

Stoneside Plant Love - Growing Closer Together Infographic

Plants can help purify the air in your home, and tending to them might make you feel less stressed out. As it turns out, bringing plants into your home might help have a positive impact on your romantic relationships too.

Thirty-nine percent of people indicated plants as having a very positive effect on their relationships, and another 35% relayed the impact was at least somewhat positive. Sixty-one percent of people reported spending quality time gardening with their partners, while 18% of people identified as solo gardeners. Still, there can be too much of a good thing. Twenty-nine percent of people in relationships admitted their partners had asked them to stop bringing plants home altogether.

While a majority of people reported plants had never caused a fight between them and their partner, 43% acknowledged the amount of money being spent on plants had caused some contention. Men (41%) were more likely than women (27%) to indicate getting into a fight over their own spending on houseplants.

Happy at Home

This time last year, you might not have suspected you’d be spending so much time at home. Today, you could be willing to do anything to feel more relaxed as you navigate being stuck inside of a home doubling as your office or day care center. Plants have the potential to help you feel less stressed, and as long as you’re not spending too much money on them, they can also provide an opportunity to bond with your partner.

At Stoneside Blinds & Shades, we know how important loving your home can be. Together with our five-star service, our elite selection of shades, blinds, and drapery will help transform your home with the perfect window treatments. Our incredible team of design consultants will help bring the showroom to you online, so you can explore all the opportunities from the safety of your own home. Explore the possibilities you didn't know existed online at Stoneside.com today.

Methodology and Limitations

For this study, we used the Amazon MTurk service to poll 990 people who had purchased plants since March 2020.

The average age of our respondents was 38.08 with a standard deviation of 12.02. When looking at the generational composition of our respondents, we had the following breakdowns:

The Greatest Generation (Born 1927 or earlier): 10 Silent Generation (Born 1928 to 1945): 8 Baby Boomers (Born 1946 to 1964): 122 Generation X (Born 1965 to 1980): 265 Millennials (Born 1981 to 1997): 551 Generation Z (Born 1998 to 2017): 34

Within our poll we had 523 female respondents, 464 males, and three who did not identify as male or female.

When analyzing money spent on plants, we only considered answers that fell within the 5th and 95th percentiles of responses.

Since this survey relies on self-reporting, there are a few limitations. Some of these limitations may include exaggeration or under-reporting.

Fair Use Statement

Think your readers might not know how important talking to their plants can be? Shed some light on these findings by sharing the results of our study for any noncommercial use. We only ask that you include a link back to this page in your story so they have full access to our analysis and methodology.