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!

Want to join me in nerding out on some specific plant species or genera? Check these posts out:

Hoya: For People Who Are Obsessed With Hoyas
Alocasia: Spotlighting Alocasia: Everything you want to know!
Oxalis: Digging into the Weedy, Wonderful World of Oxalis, or False Shamrock Plants
Agave: Why Agave is an Amazing Houseplant AND How to Care For It!
Scindapsus: For people who want to know more about Scindapsus
Schlumbergera: How to Care for a Holiday Cactus
Cacti: 4 Reasons Cacti are Fascinating, Easy Houseplants
Euphorbia: Euphorbia Plants are not Cacti – So What are They?
Epipremnum Aureum: How to Care for Pothos, the Nearly Perfect Houseplant
Moon Cactus: Why is Your Moon Cactus Dying and Can It Be Saved?

What’s wrong with your houseplant? Here’s some posts that can help!

Fungus Gnats: How to Get Rid of Fungus Gnats for Good in 3 Easy Steps
Mealybugs: How to Detect and Get Rid of Mealybugs on Houseplants
Scale: How to Identify and Get Rid of Scale on Houseplants
Aphids: How to Eradicate Aphids from Houseplants
Spider Mites: How to Identify and Control Spider Mites
Root Rot: A Simple Guide to Root Rot: How to Identify, Control, and Prevent It.
How NOT to Kill Your Houseplants:
4 Simple Changes I Made to Stop Killing My Houseplants
Does Your Plant Need More Light?: 6 Ways Your Plant is Telling You It Needs More Light
How to Know When to Water: Better Ways to Know that Your Houseplant Needs to Be Watered
Whiteflies: How to Identify and Get Rid of Whiteflies
Leafminers: Coming Soon!
Root Mealybug: Coming Soon!
Fungal Disease: Coming Soon!
Bacterial Disease: Coming Soon!

Want to learn more about houseplant care? Check out these posts:

Lighting: How to Choose the Perfect Houseplant for the Lighting in Your Home!
Bright Indirect Light: Houseplant Care: What is Bright Indirect Light?
Watering: How to Water Your Houseplants Correctly Every Time
Passive Hydro: How to Propagate Houseplants Using Passive Hydro
Potting Mix: What Potting Mix Will Help Your Houseplant Grow and Thrive
Choosing a Pot: Pick the Right Pot For Your Houseplant
Exposing My Mistakes! Sharing My Biggest Houseplant Mistakes So You Can Avoid Them!
Propagation: How to Propagate a Hoya Lisa Cutting in Water
Fertilizer 101: Answers to the Most Common Questions About Fertilizer

Want to learn about botany for plant lovers? These posts are for you!

Why bother with Botanical Latin: Why You Need to Know Botanical Latin When Shopping for Houseplants
Botanical Latin 101: For People Who Want to Understand Botanical Latin
What Causes Leaf Variegation? What is the Cause and Controversy of Variegated Houseplants?
What is Tissue Culture?: Are Tissue-Cultured Houseplants of Poor Quality?

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