Social media influencers are making plants their priority in this new age of regreening our lives, and from October on, the poinsettia takes centre stage.
A massive boom in houseplant ownership is being fuelled by a combination of growing urbanisation and a global crisis followed by lockdowns, which resulted in huge numbers of people working from home. No more merely home accessories, houseplants are part of a stronger focus on lifestyle and wellbeing, which has seen millions of new gardeners take root during the pandemic. Here the experts at Stars for Europe look into what is influencing this new generation of plant parents.
An insight into the rising popularity of indoor plants can quickly be gleaned by probing popular hashtags on social media platform Instagram. The hashtag #PlantsofInstagram has around 12 million posts, while more than a million posts have been tagged #PlantParenthood, more than 7 million people have showed off their #UrbanJungle, and around 9 million believe #PlantsMakePeopleHappy.
The enthusiasm for plants speaks volumes about the aspirations of millennials, who are key users of Instagram and might have heightened sensitivity towards the vulnerabilities of society and the fragile state of nature. Younger people are more likely to live in smaller urban dwellings where space is tight and access to nature is limited. Apartments everywhere are being transformed into urban jungles with green walls, roof gardens, plant-adorned patios and blooming balconies.
Across most of Europe the poinsettia is one of the biggest selling indoor plants during Advent and Christmas, making it an essential addition to any good plant-fluencer’s collection. Beautiful poinsettias, in all their glorious colours, are ideal over the festive period as they bring pops of Christmas colour to an urban jungle – the perfect antidote to banish those autumn and winter blues.
Instagram users can revel in the foliage cultivated by the community of Urban Jungle Bloggers (@urbanjunglebloggers), which is an international social media sensation founded by Igor Josifovic-Kemper and Judith de Graaff, who are based in Berlin and the south of France respectively. With over 1.2 million followers on Instagram, the initiative shares images and insights from plant-lovers all around the world and has led to the pair co-authoring two phenomenally succesful books, Urban Jungle and Plant Tribe.
The founders Igor Josifovic-Kemper and Judith de Graaff commented:
“Ever since we founded Urban Jungle Bloggers back in 2013 plants became increasingly popular. First with a minority of plant loving folks, but with the growing awareness of a healthier lifestyle while living in urban environments, plants became an easy tool to bring nature to a larger group of plant lovers. The global Covid crisis only emphasised the need for a safe and beautiful cocoon and a healthier living environment and thus: plants are booming more than ever. More so than ‘the urban jungle trend’, plants became part of our lives and are here to stay!”
“When we near the end of the year, our homes turn more and more cosy and we love adding a festive vibe as well as some warm Christmassy colours. Poinsettias are instant colour boosters: their deep red shade bring a swift Christmas look into our urban jungles. And if you don’t like the traditional look of green houseplants with red poinsettias: poinsettias also come in softer hues like white, blush or pink.”
All around Europe, social media stars are influencing plant trends and helping to grow the plant market.
In Germany – one of the biggest markets for houseplants – the likes of @igorjosif (of Urban Jungle Bloggers), @ankamaze, @kateshyggehome, @gartengefluestern and @naturlandkind – are setting the green scene with covetable lifestyle shots featuring home interiors enhanced by carefully chosen green accents, with hundreds of thousands of followers joining them on their green-living journey.
In France, the fabulous @whattheflower_paris concept store offers endless inspiration for customers in search of Instagram-friendly foliage, created by Justine Jeannine, the influencer behind @sweetyoxalis and a plant collection to swoon over.
As a nation renowned for both its green fingers and trend-setting design skills, The Netherlands has plenty to offer in the way of plant-fluencers, with the Judith de Graaf also running her own account @joelixjoelix and @botanicalsandbillie providing a regular fix for urban jungle addicts. Many more interesting feeds abound in this area, such as @chicplants, @greenbubble_com, @trendyplantss and @the_plant_diaries from our eco-conscious Dutch friends.
It’s not just Instagram where trends and crazes are shaped, as live video streaming and podcasts increasingly replace television for younger generations. France-based Betsy Begonia beams out fun and light-hearted Youtube videos to over 45,000 subscribers who want to know how to care for houseplants in layman’s terms.
Savvy shopkeepers are also cottoning onto the fact that they can also become influential on social media by cultivating beautiful image libraries and taking the time to offer advice and inspiration to consumers keen to board the houseplant train. Netherlands store, Green Bubble, has gone down this leafy avenue and is reaping the rewards through tens of thousands of Instagram followers and a well-optimised ecommerce offering.
Elsewhere across Europe and all around the world, talented home-horticulturalists are helping to broaden the horizons of plant lovers everywhere, providing invaluable information about plant care alongside wonderful lifestyle imagery of photogenic flora which has captured the imagination of consumers while also driving the related markets for pots, planters, plant stands, plant food and other accessories.
A man thing
As plant-loving millennials fill their homes with foliage, one trend that has come to the fore this year is the growing tendency for men to snap-up poinsettia plants – according to data gathered by Stars for Europe. The initiative predicts even more male shoppers will head to the tills with poinsettias this festive season, to decorate their own homes, to give as gifts, or to snap and show-off on social media.
For Igor Josifovic-Kemper and Judith de Graaff, it’s important to keep sharing not just inspirational visuals but also advice and information. They commented:
“For us it doesn’t make any difference who identifies as what – what counts is the love for plants. And this is the crucial fact – we see lots of men and women being passionate plant-fluencers with a profound knowledge and sharing valuable insights. These need to be highlighted as opposed to those solely using plants as a decorative element to boost their popularity or increase like counts.”
Darryl Cheng of the @houseplantjournal is one such star to highlight – offering “an engineer’s approach to houseplant care” his feed focuses on in-depth horticultural knowledge and he is now a winning author. His book, The New Plant Parent (Grünes Zuhause) is a bestseller with thousands of five-star ratings, demonstrating the importance of plant care advice for the new green-fingered generation.
Success stories like this demonstrate how houseplants are becoming increasingly important to people, and it’s clear that online influencers have played a huge role in the upward direction of plant sales.