Are House Plants the New Puppies?

About 10 days or so ago, the New York Times published an article about houseplants. You can read that article

The article wasn’t really about comparing house plants to puppies–that was just its last line which read, “It’s living things,” Ms. Offolter said. “It’s not puppies, but it’s still living things.”

The person quoted was a well-known house plant propagator and seller who sells rare plants through Instagram. And the article in the Times was about a house plant auction of aroids, some of which fetched 5 figure sums.

But in its amazement that anyone would pay that much for a plant (cuttings really, according to the article) the article tried to figure out the reasons for the latest house plant “craze.”

I am not sure I understand it, but as someone who’s been gardening with house plants since the last “craze” in the 70s (and who, until last year, still had a plant from that era!), I certainly understand the attraction of house plants and even the need to “collect” some of a particular genus.

I haven’t even come close to paying 3 figures for a plant, though. I just don’t take the time to nurture plants the way some of today’s house plant devotees do–if I killed something so costly, it would make me sad.


In fact this little monstera adansonii cost me more than I normally pay for a plant. When 3 leaves yellowed in quick succession, I knew I had an issue on my hands. Sure enough, spider mites. Did it come that way or did I acquire them somewhere else? Who knows? But I caught it quickly, isolated the plant and now all seems well.

For me, house plants will never replace my dog. But even I care about them and spend a good deal of time nurturing them. It’s a great indoor hobby since I live in the “frozen north,” as I call it!

2 thoughts on “Are House Plants the New Puppies?

  1. tonytomeo December 1, 2019 / 7:33 pm

    The main reason I grew houseplants at all was that some of the plants I brought from Southern California did not want to be outside in winter. I enjoy them, but would not want to purchase something that someone else propagated and grew. That is what most houseplants are. People buy them at their prime, and try to keep them alive as they slowly but surely deteriorate. I get mine as twigs, and grow them into trees that bend over under the ceiling.

  2. gardendaze December 1, 2019 / 7:49 pm

    The article was about folks paying tens of thousands of dollars for cuttings. Cuttings?!

    I was just blessed to score a cutting of a ric rac cactus–I had the “mother” plant on my Wordless Wednesday a few weeks ago. If I can ever grow this cutting up to something that magnificent I will be amazed (although clearly the thing will grow here in my frozen northern climate since that’s where I got the cutting from). But so far so good–it rooted quite nicely even in November.

    So I appreciate what you’re saying. I too prefer to start with something small and grow it up. But almost everything is a “house plant” here in my climate.


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