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Bloggers inspired Europe to love houseplants again

In 2013, a Serbian man and a Dutch woman walked into a cafe in Paris. This is the story of what happened next. 

Houseplants are back in fashion. Those Swiss cheese and rubber plants many of us bought back in the 80s are once again being swept off garden centre shelves as having a green space in the house becomes increasingly popular.

Getting creative with plants is also part of the trend. They can be grown in glass, without soil, make them an integral part of a home’s interior design. They can be hung from the ceiling, even upside down.

According to Jardinerie Delbard, there was a 15% year-on-year rise in sales of houseplants in 2017, and 10% in 2018.

Cactuses and grasses have been the most popular recently but others, besides Swiss cheese plants, rubber plants, the Chinese money plant, radiator plants, snake plants, peacock and zebra plant.

The current fashion can be traced to 2013, when interior design bloggers Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff met over coffee in Paris and realised they had a mutual passion: living with plants.

Igor Josifovic is Serbian and lives in Germany, and Judith de Graaff is Dutch and has been living near Paris for the past 16 years.

They created Urban Jungle Bloggers, had a huge response and have written a book, published in 10 languages, including French and English: Urban Jungle: Living and Decorating with Plants.

“Our lives are becoming faster, we want (and get!) instant gratification for the things we do online, we can talk with people from all around the world at all times, but to keep a healthy balance we need to slow down from time to time,” they told Connexion. “We learn to be patient again, because plants don’t grow a new flower in seconds, it takes weeks or months to bloom or grow a new leaf.

“And at the same time, more and more people are living in urban environments where we feel a certain disconnection to nature. The easiest way to incorporate this feeling in our daily lives is by adding houseplants and creating our own little urban jungle, a green refuge from the city concrete and buzzing smartphones.

“Also, we think the urban population has become more aware of a healthier lifestyle in general – think of outdoors activities, sports, healthier food.

“Plants come as a natural addition to this lifestyle. Many indoor plants have air purifying abilities and clean the air we breathe from various toxins. With fresh oxygen we can concentrate better, we can relax and sleep better.”

The trend is Europe-wide, the pair said, with different favourites in different countries, depending on climate and light. All ages love plants, but with a notable rise in popularity among 25-35 year olds.

Stéphane Frisson, Garden and Plants Sales Director for Jardiland, said the trend is very exciting. “We used to sell orchids by the kilometre, but though they remain popular, we also sell more and more tropical green plants.

“These are also fashionable as motifs on home furnishing. Plants have become an integral element in decorating schemes and we now sell plants and home décor together in our shops.”

What is popular this year? “Plants grown in nutrient rich water, rather than soil are very modern. They grow in glass containers so you can see their roots. An acorn will produce a mini oak tree suspended in water. They are light and airy and charming and very fashionable. 

“There are also ferns to suit every taste. What I love is that there is a whole new generation of young people wanting to have plants in their homes. They have no experience but look up how to care for the plants 

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