Instead of stepping out of the house to go to work or get groceries, the pandemic has adapted us to go about our daily lives within the confines of four walls. Even two years after the start of the pandemic, people are still bringing in touches of the outdoors, resulting in indoor gardening, houseplants, living green walls, biophilic furniture, and more.
Dominic Charles, horticulturist at Plots & Pans, says, “With the lockdown, many people living in metropolitan cities were unable to have lunch in a park or enjoy an afternoon reading in an open space.” “Adding cool houseplants brought a joy to the outdoors that many didn’t realize they missed. I hope people will continue to plant trees for the beauty and quality of fresh air in their homes.”
Nick Cutsamps, the plant coach and urban farmer behind Farmer Nick, agrees: “People are spending more time at home than ever, and they want to feel connected to something green they can nurture,” he says. .
While our love for houseplants is high—66% of American households have at least one houseplant—this is just the beginning. People are also bringing full-on gardens to their homes. In the past, gardening has not always been the most accessible hobby. Unless you have a backyard, ample space, and the right conditions, growing your own food wasn’t always an option. But thanks to a little creativity and some new technology, bringing the outdoors in and creating the garden of your dreams—no matter what the space and climate—is on the rise.
According to Jacob Pechenik, CEO and founder of Lettuce Grow, the company’s initial focus was on growing outdoors in the Sunbelt states. But he quickly realized that there was a tremendous demand for apartment dwellers in urban areas.
“It was probably stronger than traditional external markets,” Pechenik says. “Since launching our glow rings, which give our customers the option to grow indoor or outdoor and/or switch back and forth depending on the season, we have seen nearly 40% of sales in indoor markets. Think New York City! This is our second largest market.”
Pechenik says Lettuce Grow has surpassed 2.5 million plants grown and harvested by his community in all 50 states. And, he doesn’t see this indoor gardening trend dying anytime soon.
“The trend is only going to continue, with more than 50% of the world’s population now living in urban areas and a lack of outdoor space – not to mention at the time – for a traditional garden,” he says. “In 10-15 years from now, every home should have a hydroponic system like our farmstand. People will see indoor gardening devices as ubiquitous as refrigerators. People would look at them—just like they would in the pantry or fridge—to see what they would prepare for dinner. We have the technology and ability to do it, and it makes sense in every way. ,
Besides indoor gardening being a fun, mood-boosting hobby—like being a plant parent—it can also be beneficial to the planet. These days, food is shipped all over the country, leading to carbon emissions in the process. In addition to food miles away from transportation, we also need to walk to the store to buy these groceries. Pechenik says 70% of people grew their own food just 100 years ago, and seeing that again in 2022 could help us reconnect with nature and where our food comes from.
“By growing your own food at home—let’s say five feet from your kitchen or dining room table—the one you choose tastes amazing and is full of nutrients,” says Pechenik. “Most ‘fresh’ produce on grocery store shelves is dead for 10 days, it’s traveled thousands of miles, it’s probably sprayed with chemicals, and a lot of nutritional value is lost along the way. “
While this technique makes it easy to grow your own food, no matter what the location, you can try indoor gardening with nothing but your food scraps. Videos are constantly going viral on social media that show how easy it is to grow everything from lettuce to onions, with food scraps that usually get thrown away.
Another indoor plant trend you’re bound to see more of? Green walls remain. “Green walls and more artistic forms of botanical life are definitely starting to take hold. Whether it is office space or private housing, there is a boom in companies manufacturing plant wall installations on a large scale,” says Cutsamps.
Habitat Gardening makes a popular green wall mount called Gromio that Cutsamps says isn’t as time- or cost-intensive as larger-scale alternatives. There’s also ValleyGrow, which allows you to create a green wall with planters that have a smart watering design that keeps water to a minimum.
Incorporating plants into furniture—aka biophilic furniture—is also becoming more popular. “Biophilic furniture is about incorporating living plants into the furniture itself, or designing furniture specifically for plants,” says Cutsamps.
For example, Blooming Tables created the world’s first terrarium table. But you can also use things you already have at home to DIY your own biophilic furniture.
“I’ve been experimenting with biophilic furniture filled with more plants and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” he says. “I made some biophilic furniture using salvaged wood: a coffee table, a flight of plants, and air plant frames. I think you’ll see more of this on both a professional and DIY level.”
There are many ways you can bring the outside into your space, no matter where you live. There’s only one question left: With all the possibilities, which approach would you take first?
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