Discover the science behind houseplant growth in this fascinating article. From the popularity of houseplants among millennials to the impact of COVID-19, learn about the benefits of indoor greenery and the factors that contribute to optimal growth. Explore the importance of light, temperature, and nutrition for your beloved houseplants. Nurture your green companions with scientific knowledge and create thriving indoor green spaces.


Are you a proud plant parent? Do you often find yourself marveling at the growth and development of your houseplants? If so, you’re not alone. Houseplants have been gaining popularity in recent years, with millennials leading the charge as devoted “plant parents.” But have you ever wondered about the science behind houseplant growth? What factors contribute to their development? In this article, we will delve into the research and explore the fascinating world of houseplant growth.

The Popularity of Houseplants

Recent studies have highlighted the increasing popularity of houseplants, with millennials at the forefront of this green revolution. In fact, a study conducted in 2020 found that 7 in 10 millennials consider themselves “plant parents” and actively care for indoor plants[^1]. However, it’s not all smooth sailing for these aspiring plant parents. The study also revealed that the average plant parent has killed seven indoor plants they brought home, earning themselves the title of “plant murderers.”[^1]. Despite these setbacks, the demand for houseplants has continued to rise.

The Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has further fueled the growing love for indoor greenery. With more time spent at home, people turned to houseplants as a way to bring nature indoors and foster a sense of calm during uncertain times. As a result, there was an 18% increase in houseplant demand during the pandemic[^1]. This surge in popularity was not purely a pandemic-driven phenomenon, but rather a continuation of a trend fueled by factors such as millennial plant parenting, decor trends, and the influence of plant enthusiasts on social media, known as “plantfluencers.”

Benefits of Houseplants

Beyond their popularity, houseplants offer a range of benefits that go beyond aesthetic appeal. Numerous studies have shown that interacting with indoor plants can have a positive impact on mental and physical well-being. A mere 15 minutes spent with plants has been shown to reduce stress levels[^1]. Additionally, the presence of plants in the workspace has been found to enhance productivity, attention, and overall well-being[^1]. It has even been reported that employees with more plants in their workspace take fewer sick days[^1].

Furthermore, indoor plants have air-cleaning abilities. Research conducted by NASA has revealed that plants can reduce levels of airborne toxins by up to 87% within just 24 hours[^1]. The air-cleaning effect of plants has been shown to scale up to a building level, making them a natural and cost-effective solution for improving indoor air quality[^1].

Houseplant Trends and Statistics

The popularity of houseplants can also be seen in the numbers. According to a recent study, 66% of American households own at least one houseplant. This represents a significant portion of the population that engages in indoor houseplant gardening[^2]. Additionally, the market size of the U.S. plant and flower growing sector was estimated at 15.23 billion USD in 2020, indicating an increase from the previous year[^2]. Furthermore, millennials accounted for the largest demographic growth in 2021 houseplant sales, suggesting that they were the primary drivers of the increase in sales[^2].

In terms of spending, the average household spends $608.54 per year on gardening goods, further emphasizing the economic impact of the houseplant industry[^1]. American gardeners spent a record $52.3 billion on lawn and garden goods in 2021, with 25% of that attributed to millennials[^1].

The Importance of Light and Temperature

When it comes to houseplant growth, two critical factors come into play: light and temperature. Light is essential for the process of photosynthesis, where plants convert light energy into chemical energy, enabling them to grow and thrive. Different plants have different light requirements, with some preferring bright, direct light, while others thrive in lower light conditions[^3]. It is important to understand the light requirements of your specific houseplants and provide them with the appropriate lighting conditions for optimal growth.

Temperature also plays a crucial role in houseplant growth. Each plant species has an optimum temperature range for growth, and deviations from this range can affect their development. Extreme cold temperatures can cause damage to foliage, while excessive heat can lead to wilting and reduced photosynthetic functions[^4]. Understanding your houseplants’ temperature preferences and providing them with suitable conditions is key to their success.

Nutrition Requirements for Houseplants

In addition to light and temperature, proper nutrition is essential for houseplant growth. Houseplants rely on a combination of soil nutrients and supplemental feedings to thrive. The primary macronutrients required for plant growth are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium[^5]. Each nutrient plays a crucial role in different aspects of plant health and development. Nitrogen promotes foliage growth, phosphorus aids in bud development and blooming, and potassium strengthens the root system[^5].

Secondary macronutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, are required in smaller quantities but are still essential for plant development[^5]. Micronutrients, including boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, and zinc, are needed in even smaller amounts but are equally important for optimal plant growth[^6].

To ensure that your houseplants receive the necessary nutrients, various fertilizers are available. Liquid fertilizers and slow-release fertilizers are popular choices for indoor plant care[^1]. Liquid fertilizers are diluted in water and applied during watering, providing a steady supply of nutrients, while slow-release fertilizers release nutrients gradually over an extended period[^1].


As the popularity of houseplants continues to grow, so does our understanding of the science behind their growth. Recent studies have shed light on the benefits of houseplants, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their demand, and the importance of light, temperature, and nutrition for optimal growth. Understanding these factors can help “plant parents” care for their green companions effectively and create thriving indoor green spaces.

So the next time you find yourself tending to your beloved houseplants, remember the science behind their growth and the positive impact they can have on your well-being. Happy plant parenting!


[^1]: Garden Pals. (2023). Houseplant Statistics in 2023 (incl. Covid & Millennials). Retrieved from
[^2]: Terrarium Tribe. (2023). Houseplant Statistics & Trends 2023. Retrieved from
[^3]: (n.d.). How Light Affects Plant Growth. Retrieved from
[^4]: Gardening Know How. (n.d.). Temperature And Plant Growth: How Does Temperature Affect Plant Growth. Retrieved from
[^5]: The Spruce. (n.d.). Here’s How to Properly Feed Your Houseplants. Retrieved from
[^6]: Indoor Plant Guides. (n.d.). The Nutrients Your Houseplants Need. Retrieved from