Are Millennials Killing Gardening Too?
Hydroponics open a whole new world of planting possibilities.
Eco Planter Herb Kit from FOOD52
The millennials are shaking up another industry, but this time, it might be a good thing.
There's been a recent surge of millennials buying houseplants. Some observers believe it's a way for the tech-obsessed generation to connect back to nature, and others say it's a less-expensive, non-committal version of children. Either way, the fact remains the same: Millennials' interest in the hobby has not stopped growing. The 2016 National Gardening Survey, conducted by Harris Poll, estimates that 6 million new Americans took up gardening in 2017, and 5 million were aged 18-34.
There's only one problem with plants—they're ridiculously finicky. What worked a year ago for your indoor ivy may not be the same solution today. Leaves begin to yellow, and newbie gardeners realize they may not be cut-out for this whole plant caretaking thing. Gardening can be hard even for the most seasoned horticulturists—it's just the way nature likes to mess with us. But just because it's tough doesn't mean millennials have given up all hope for their "plant babies."
Hydroponics, as the name might suggest, means the plants don't need soil—they grow naturally in water. It's a similar no-fuss, big-reward philosophy as the other hot houseplant trend of air plants. Taking much of the work out of growing plants, hydroponics uses nutrient-filled water so the plants can spend less time looking for food within the soil and more time producing beautiful buds. That means the herbs or plants often grow much faster than they would in traditional soil. The method is so regulated that the entire category of growing is federally recognized as organic.
And, for northerners suffering from winter blues, hydroponics allows springtime to come early indoors. That's the thing: Hydroponics allow millennials to grow any plant indoors without the mess of soil, any time of the year. It's the ideal solution for weary gardeners not accustomed to noting USDA zones or watering plants regularly. Your plants are basically on autopilot.
Modern products for modern gardening
Though millennials might not be gardening the traditional way, that doesn't undermine their appreciation for plants. They've just found a new way to make the hobby work for them, and, in return, a trend of plant-plentiful apartments and homes can be found on just about any young adult's Instagram feed.
As expected, this modern way of gardening has prompted some innovative products. There's the Back to the Roots Water Garden from Home Depot, for example, which is a self-cleaning fish tank that sprouts herbs on top using the closed ecosystem technology. So, there's a Betta fish on the bottom and edible herbs on top. There are also various products on the market similar to the Aerogarden, which includes a self-activating light for the herbs to thrive underneath, simulating sunlight. There are even WiFi-enabled models, which brings us back to the "Smart Home Devices" piece we published recently.
So, millennials might be changing the way we garden, but they're certainly not killing the hobby. If anything, they're inspiring a renaissance.