When stability seems so far away, house plants make a shared house feel more like home writes Kashmira Gander

Last year, I bought my first plant: a cactus who has reacted to the
summer heat by bursting 3ft upwards like an adolescent. Before
long, an intimidated-looking doppelganger in a tiny metal bucket
popped up beside him in the living room. Then a rubber plant with
deep green leaves. Then a succulent who has turned a sort of
weary brown colour. Next to that is a plant with fuzzy purple leaves
who seems determined to die no matter what you do with him. The
latest addition is a bonsai, who looks proud to be one of the lucky
ones in the room with a ceramic pot.
And my cousin and I aren’t alone in our sad little home
projects. Sales of houseplants have spiked in the past few years,
bolstered by my friends who spend their weekends browsing the
aisles of the local garden centre to build on their plant collections.
And on WhatsApp, we swap tips on how the hell to keep them
alive. In the US, the 2016 National Gardening Report found that of
the six million Americans new to gardening, five million of those
were aged between 18 to 34. Pantone a declaring Greenery as its
colour for 2017 was just another sign of the trend for all things
natural.
Since most landlords don’t allow pets, houseplants let us
millennials have a go at caring for something other than ourselves
– which, honestly, we tend to struggle with. They add personality to
our rented homes without the risk of losing our deposits. Towering
cacti and cheese plants fake green spaces that we can’t afford in
major cities like London. It also helps that my generation is
obsessed with health and well-being, as greenery is proven to
boost mental health and improve air quality. And, at the most basic
level, plants just look really, really cool.

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