Discover the role of houseplants in films and their impact on storytelling. From symbolizing hope to enhancing atmosphere, houseplants add depth and meaning to cinematic narratives. Explore popular films featuring houseplants and their significance.


Houseplants have become a popular trend in recent years, with people incorporating them into their homes for their aesthetic appeal and health benefits. But did you know that houseplants have also made their way onto the big screen? Yes, houseplants have been featured in various films, playing a significant role in the storytelling process. From symbolizing hope and the redemptive powers of nature to enhancing the atmosphere and creating a sense of abundance, houseplants have added depth and meaning to many cinematic narratives. In this article, we will explore the significance of houseplants in films, their symbolism, and their impact on the overall storytelling.

The Significance of Houseplants in Films

Houseplants have various roles and significance in films, contributing to the overall narrative and visuals. Let’s dive deeper into some of the key reasons why houseplants are featured in films.

Architectural Interest and Color

One of the primary reasons houseplants are incorporated into film sets is to add architectural interest and color to interior design schemes. Houseplants bring life to the set and create visually appealing compositions. Whether it’s a lush indoor garden or a single potted plant, the presence of houseplants adds depth and detail to the film’s visual aesthetics.

Symbolism of Hope and Redemption

Houseplants in films often symbolize hope and the redemptive powers of the natural world. They represent the resilience of life and the potential for growth and transformation. In movies like “Passengers,” an oak tree and lush vegetation onboard a spaceship create a beautiful natural oasis, symbolizing the hope for a sustainable future. Similarly, in “WALL-E,” a delicate sapling represents Earth’s future and the importance of environmental preservation.

Connection to Nature and Biodiversity

Houseplants in films also highlight the importance of connecting with nature and preserving biodiversity. They serve as a reminder of the beauty and value of the natural world. In movies like “The Martian,” the protagonist relies on his knowledge of plants and soil to grow potato plants, emphasizing the need to care for and understand nature’s resources. These films encourage viewers to appreciate and protect the environment for future generations.

Enhancing Atmosphere and Setting the Mood

Houseplants are used in films to enhance the atmosphere and set the mood of a scene. They can create a sense of tranquility, bringing a touch of nature to otherwise dreary settings. In movies like “Leon: The Professional,” the protagonist’s care for an Aglaonema silver queen plant injects color and life into a dreary room, transforming the atmosphere and improving indoor air quality.

Visual Feast of Green

Houseplants provide a visual feast of multiple shades of green, creating a lively and vibrant visual palette in films. The abundance of green foliage adds richness and depth to the visuals, capturing the essence of nature and inviting viewers into the world of the film. Movies like “The Great Gatsby” feature cascading blooms and orchids, creating a luxurious and decadent ambiance.

Popular Films Featuring Houseplants

Several popular films have prominently featured houseplants, showcasing their significance and impact on the narrative. Let’s explore some of these films and how houseplants are portrayed in them.

Passengers (2016)

In the movie “Passengers,” a luxurious spaceship carrying thousands of people to a new planet features an oak tree and lush vegetation. These houseplants create a beautiful natural oasis, not only enhancing the visuals but also providing increased oxygen levels on the spacecraft. The presence of the plants represents the hope for a sustainable future and the importance of preserving nature in an artificial environment.

WALL-E (2008)

In the animated film “WALL-E,” a small, lonely robot named WALL-E is left to clean up the abandoned Earth. Amidst the debris, he discovers a delicate sapling. This sapling becomes a symbol of Earth’s future and represents the importance of looking after nature and the environment. The presence of the houseplant highlights the power of a single plant to inspire change and renewal.

The Martian (2015)

“The Martian” follows the journey of an astronaut stranded on Mars who relies on his knowledge of plants and soil to grow potato plants for sustenance. The houseplants symbolize the protagonist’s ingenuity and perseverance in overcoming challenges in an inhospitable environment. They highlight the vital role that plants and nature play in sustaining human life and how they can be a source of hope and survival.

Little Joe (2019)

In the film “Little Joe,” a crimson flower with therapeutic value takes center stage. This houseplant represents the positive impact of plants on human well-being when kept in ideal conditions. However, as the plant’s influence starts to affect the characters’ behavior, it raises questions about the potential risks and ethical implications of manipulating nature for the benefit of humans. The plant serves as a metaphor for the delicate balance between human desires and the consequences of tampering with nature.


Houseplants have become more than just decorative elements in our homes; they have also found their place in the world of cinema. From adding architectural interest and color to symbolizing hope and the redemptive powers of nature, houseplants play a significant role in films. They enhance the atmosphere, create a sense of abundance, and contribute to the overall narrative. Films like “Passengers,” “WALL-E,” “The Martian,” and “Little Joe” showcase the diverse ways in which houseplants can be portrayed and carry deep meanings. The incorporation of houseplants in films reminds us of the beauty and importance of nature and encourages us to reflect on our relationship with the natural world.

So, the next time you watch a film, pay attention to the houseplants in the background or their significant roles in the story. They might just add that extra layer of meaning and connection to the narrative.


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[^2]: 5 film scenes which make inspiring use of plants – Film and Furniture. Retrieved from:
[^3]: Oak Spring Garden Foundation – 8 Films Starring Plants. Retrieved from: