Many people in the houseplant community have been discussing how COVID-19 has brought an influx of new and intense enthusiasts. The new wave of enthusiasts has resulted in an extremely high demand for houseplants.

Because growers’ supply cannot keep up with the new demand, prices are skyrocketing. Some prices are so high that the plants have become unattainable by most.

While the pandemic has played a huge role in rising prices, the houseplant industry was already increasing in popularity over the last several years. But did the amount of houseplant interest really spike so high during the pandemic that a 400% price increase makes sense?

Let’s take a look at some data over the past 5 years that will shed light on what is happening with pricing in the houseplant community.

Where is the data in this article from? (Click to Expand)

All of the graphs utilized in this article are created using data from Google Trends on August 31, 2020.

The Y-axis or vertical axis of the graph is a measurement of interest in a particular subject. The X-axis or horizontal axis shows specific dates to show how interest changes throughout a specific period in history.

According to Google Trends, the graphs show Interest Over Time. What is Interest Over Time? Google Trends explains that “The numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.”

You can see more about Google Trends at https://trends.google.com/

Now we will move on to the plant data!

People’s Interest in Buying Plants Online

This first graph shows people’s interest in buying plants online prior to the global pandemic in 2020. You can see that the trend is a steady increase in purchasing plants.

Now let’s add data from 2020 to see how the interest changes once the pandemic begins.

The incredibly high spike shows that interest increased by 10 times when COVID-19 quarantine began globally.

If we look at just the data from 2020, we begin to see a clearer picture of how interest in houseplants is changing as the pandemic continues.

At the beginning of the global pandemic, interest spikes, but over time the amount of interest has naturally declined and begun to level off.

The amount of interest as of September 2020 is still nearly twice the amount of interest in January 2020. However, it is a more gradual shift in interest as opposed to the massive influx of houseplant enthusiasts beginning in March 2020.

Let’s take a look at interest in 3 specific genera: Philodendron, Hoya, and Monstera

Below is a series of charts to show how interest has changed in particular plant genera. I tried to choose 3 of the most popular plant genera that have dramatically increased in price.

You’ll notice that all 3 genera (Philodendron, Monstera, and Hoya) have continued to increase in interest through today (September 2020).

Philodendron

Hoyas

Monstera

What does this mean for the prices of houseplants?

The dramatic price increase in plants reflects the exponential growth in demand. There is no possible way that growers could propagate and grow plants quickly enough to meet the demand.

When we compare the amount of interest today (September 2020) to the amount of interest at the beginning of the pandemic in buying plants online, it has declined to 20% of what it was. This likely means that we will see many plant prices begin to drop or level out.

However, interest in some of the most popular plants is still increasing, which likely means that the prices of those particular plants aren’t decreasing anytime soon because the demand is still increasing.

What does this mean for all of us who still have plants on our wishlist?

For me, it means that this is a great time to appreciate the plants we have, to trade plants with other enthusiasts, and to buy plants if and when we can afford them.

The good news is that there are still many, many beautiful houseplants that are offered at a reasonable price and are easy to find.

If you want to see my top 5 common and affordable houseplants, check out my previous post: 5 Common Houseplants You Should Get Right Now!

Happy growing!

Click to read last week’s article: 5 Common Houseplants You Should Get Right Now!

A Natural Curiosity
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