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The growth in plant parents is an unexpected positive side effect to COVID

Have you noticed a growing interest in gardening lately? With so many of us spending more time at home, combined with a lack of outdoor space, it’s enticing to bring inside what is normally out in the sun.

A quick browse through your social media – such as Facebook’s Marketplace – often list a wide variety of plants for sale or exchange.

More and more channels on YouTube feature plant videos and How-to-Grow tutorials. Collectors will often document their plants by filming “unboxing videos” and taking progress pictures that garner hundreds or thousands of views and likes online. Social media has also fostered plant-loving communities, where we can share tips, tricks, and find some validation in the dirt.

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What a joy it is to see more thumbs turning green, and more homes elevated by a newfound love of gardening!

If you’re like me, you have adopted an unexpected new plant at the grocery or hardware store, in addition to plant sharing & swapping communities. Left unchecked, some plant parents find another layer of fascination in collecting uncommon plants.

A small Monstera Thai Constellation that sold for $40 only a couple of years ago, now comes with a price tag around $100. Various aroid plants like Philodendrons remain highly sought after, and would require applying for an import permit in order to ship these exotic plants from overseas. Something unique or rare can truly be a living trophy.

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The recent surge in houseplant hunters has been attributed both to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to millennials who find comfort in buying houseplants, ahead of the milestones of buying a house to place them in, or of growing a family.

Houseplants provide a sense of purpose and can satisfy a need to nurture. Home gardening doesn’t nearly demand the same time and commitment needed to raise a child, or even to care for an energetic pet. Just a little bit of time for watering, and some exposure to sunlight are the basic essentials in order to watch your flowers flourish or your leaves lengthen.

Fortunately, plants also give us feedback on how they are doing, as a Peace Lily goes limp when it is thirsty, or as your Ficus drops its leaves when it doesn’t get enough sunshine.

Most beginners have plants that struggle and die, often because of too little light and too much water. Sunlight that shines into your home loses intensity as it passes through windows. South-facing windows are valuable, and will give your green friends the brightest advantage. Plants growing under artificial lighting or near a north facing window will not thrive as well.

As for water, plants don’t require a daily pour, nor should they sit in water. It’s best to water plants after the soil has had the time to dry out. A good indicator is to lift your potted plants, and compare the weight from when you last fully watered.

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Plant care is timeless, regardless if you have been a plant parent for years, or have only started to find dirt under your fingernails.

While some plant parents make it look easy, nobody is born with a green thumb — you grow into it.

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