A recent survey of 25 to 39-year-olds revealed that they still love having plants around despite the worry of keeping them alive.

By Andrea Beck
January 30, 2020

Houseplants can feel like an investment, both financially and emotionally. After all, no one wants to buy a new plant (and maybe a new container), set it up in their home, nurture it for weeks or months…and then watch it shrivel and die for who-knows-what reason. OnePoll (a market research company) and Article (a popular online furniture store) recently surveyed 2,000 millennials ages 25 to 39 about their houseplants to explore how that investment really makes them feel. Though the survey revealed that most respondents own at least one houseplant—seven out of 10 are proud plant parents—they worry a lot about keeping them alive. In fact, 19% of respondents said they considered watching over a few plants even more stressful than having a root canal.

Jacob Fox

Some of that stress might be justified: Though most millennials have houseplants, 67% call themselves plant murderers. According to the data, the average millennial has killed at least seven plants while attempting to brighten up their home.

The survey didn’t touch on the most common causes of death, but it did ask participants to share what they thought the most challenging parts of plant care were. Exactly half of the respondents answered that making sure their plants got the right amount and intensity of sunlight was the most challenging, while 46% said that giving their plants the right amount of water was trickiest, and 43% said they had trouble knowing whether they should keep their plant indoors or outside.

Enough sunlight and water were also the most common worries millennials said they had about owning houseplants, and 48% responded that just keeping their plants alive was a main source of anxiety. Additionally, 37% worried about stressing finicky plants like crotons if they moved them to a new spot, while 21% got nervous at the thought of finding a plant sitter to keep their charges alive when they left town.

But despite all of the worries that plants may cause, a lot of millennials still said they were planning on bringing home a new plant in 2020. In total, 41% responded that they wanted to add on to their plant collection this year. Some of the reasons millennials still stood by their plants even after a few failed attempts were because they believe that including live plants in their decor is trendy, adds beauty, and has a peaceful and calming effect (unlike major dental work).

Even when facing concerns like overwatering or not enough sun, 81% of the survey participants said that having plants in their home has positively impacted their physical and mental health. Multiple studies have supported this belief—in the past, scientists have found that plants can boost your mood, lessen stress, and improve your health by providing more oxygen and humidity in your space. Some doctors even provide patients with easy-care herbs like sage or lavender to care for to help treat anxiety and depression.

If you can relate to these fears when it comes to keeping houseplants alive, try starting with an easy-care option like pothos or snake plant.  With a little practice and experience, you'll soon gain the confidence to keep all your plant babies thriving.

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