Lockdown restrictions may have ended across England, but thousands of people have emerged with a newfound love of indoor gardening. Keeping our plants alive, however, isn’t as easy as it may look.

If booming indoor plants sales over the past year are anything to go by, the sector has risen in popularity as a result of increased isolation, social media-led design trends and, as many experts suggest, a new-found millennial desire to have something to nurture and care for.

Google searches for ‘house plants’ increased by an astonishing 84 per cent between February and April last year, rising from 360,080 to 663,980 monthly searches, while Flower Card, an online card business specialising in floral design, reports that several houseplants have reached more than 400,000 tags on social media in 2021, namely the Swiss cheese plant and Chinese money plant. 

Some businesses like Rocket Gardens in Helston saw sales increase by 600 per cent since the first lockdown began and has been posting plants to destinations across the UK; that’s a total of 20,000 gardens, vegetable patches, allotments and window boxes in cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London.

“I’m not surprised that houseplants are popular throughout this time,” says Ian Drummond, creative director at Indoor Garden Design. “I grew up in a flat and was given a houseplant as a child, it gave me so much joy and I was obsessed from the moment it landed on my shelf.”

The award-winning interior landscape designer and RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal-winner wrote a book on the subject, At Home with Plants, which takes a look at houseplants and the practicalities of looking after them.

Which, it seems, is more difficult than first thought; searches for ‘how not to kill my houseplant’, ‘why is my houseplant dying’, and ‘houseplant dead’ have also increased by more than 100 per cent on search engines.

According to a survey by online plant retailer Blooming Artificial, roughly one in five people (out of 1,000) have bought a houseplant since the beginning of March 2020, a number that continues to grow. 

Sturdy and resilient though plants may be, they can be tricky to look after (and keep healthy) if you lack proper information on watering, light exposure and temperatures. 

This article was originally published in 2020. 

At Home with Plants by  Ian Drummond and Kara O’Reilly (£20, Octopus Publishing) is available from books.telegraph. uk. 

Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)

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