There’s just something about plants. They fill our spaces and create a calming environment for us. They make rooms look instantly pretty (seriously, if you’re feeling like your space needs some sprucing up, just put a plant in there), and they give people a sense of purpose by giving us something to care for and nurture. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of plant trends come and go and it made us wonder, what will be the big houseplant trends of 2022? We spoke to three plant industry experts to get their takes.
Meet the Expert
We see a lot of people falling in love with rare plants. They’re great to add to a collection, but they can have a hefty price tag in some cases. “Among plant collectors, rare and uncommon aroid varieties (particularly in general like Alocasia, Epipremnum, Monstera, Philodendron, Rhaphidophora, Scindapsus, etc.) still top the wishlists," says Justin Hancock, senior marketing manager at Costa Farms. "We’ll continue to see newer and commercially scarce varieties like Global Green pothos become more commonly available to plant parents than they have in the past." According to Hancock, companies are already preparing for the trend: "Houseplant growers large and small are testing varieties and working on building up a stock of new varieties that pass their testing process so as to try and meet the needs of eager plant parents!”
Red & Purple Foliage
People love colorful plants. They just seem to add something special in a sea of green. A lot of plant people will use a pop of color to make their plant collection more interesting. “While pink-variegated plants are still hot and trending, an up-and-coming trend we here at Costa Farms are seeing is an increased interest in plants that have rich red and purple tones," notes Hancock. "For example, we’ve noticed a lot of interest in new varieties like Costus erythrophyllus 'Two Toner' (which sports lovely red-purple-backed leaves), Peperomia caperata 'Schumi Red' (which has lustrous red-purple foliage), and Geogenanthus ciliatus (a Tradescantia relative which offers purple-black foliage)."
But just because there are new plants in the garden doesn't mean the old ones are on the way out. "Tried-and-true varieties like Zamioculcas Raven®, Colorful Aglaonema, and Cane Begonia varieties are as popular as ever,” says Hancock.
Less Curation, More Love
“Based on some of the messages we’ve received and conversations we’ve seen on social media, it’s looking like more and more plant parents are going to focus on growing plants they love, rather than just getting something new because it’s trendy and they want to show off," says Hancock.
"Now that’s certainly not to say that people aren’t excited about new varieties, but we predict we’ll see more people taking a pause to decide if they really want a particular plant (and whether they have the growing conditions to sustain it for the long haul) or if they think they’re going to get bored of it after it’s no longer as trendy,” explains Hancock.
It’s great to expand your plant collection, but sometimes caring for the plants you already have is even better. Learning how to take care of the plants you have and helping them thrive and grow can be way more rewarding than buying a new plant.
Growing Herbs and Veggies
“There have been a huge number of people who have discovered their green thumb via houseplants over the past couple of years, thanks to being stuck at home, wanting to beautify our spaces, and wanting to take on plant care as a new hobby,” says Lindsay Pangborn, gardening expert at Bloomscape. People are spending more time at home so it makes sense that they want to bring the outdoors in.
“As new gardeners get more confident with their skills, they’ll be looking to take on new challenges. A natural next step is to grow indoor herbs and veggies, which have the added benefit of being consumed, not just admired," notes Pangborn. "Most herbs work easily indoors, and plant breeding companies have been developing new, small-space veggie varieties so you can grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and more right on your kitchen counter."
Growing your own herbs and veggies can be really easy and it’s actually a great way to reduce waste. You can try to grow your own windowsill herb garden and reap the benefits by making some homemade pesto or a pot of fresh mint tea.
“We noticed a lot of new plant parents taking the leap into the houseplant world and being struck with the reality that they need a certain amount of attention for them to live and a bit more attention for them to thrive in their homes," says Matt Aulton, owner of Plant Proper. "People have been shifting to plants that are beautiful and also low maintenance."
But the less time we spend at home, the less time we have to fawn over every wilting stem and burnt leaf tip. "It is becoming more obvious to some that the time that they once had to offer to houseplants is now becoming a bit less, and they may need lower maintenance plants in order for them to be able to feel confident they are able to offer the plant the attention it needs to look good,” explains Aulton.
As people are going back to work and spending time socializing or traveling, plant care may take a backseat. If you’re reading this and thinking, "that’s me," then try to get plants that you don’t need to water that frequently. Dracaena trifasciata (snake plants), Zamioculcas (the ZZ plant), and Epipremnum aureum (pothos) are great options.
“We have also noticed more people wanting to buy a plant that is at a younger stage of its life. This will allow them to experience more stages of the plants' development and to have a more fulfilling experience caring for the plant. We feel people want to watch the plant grow under their care rather than buying an established larger plant,” says Aulton.
The other benefits of buying smaller plants, according to Aulton, are that they tend to be cheaper, and it's likely not as heartbreaking if they die. Smaller plants give you the opportunity to understand your plant, and there is no better feeling than watching it get bigger year to year.