Green leaf background. Text reads, Statistics

Illustrations by Tatsiana Burgaud; (All Other Images)


CCSS: 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.A.2, MP1, MP3, MP5

TEKS: 6.12C, 6.12D, 7.6G, 7.12B

Houseplant Hype

Before the pandemic hit, two-thirds of Americans owned at least one houseplant. But by the end of 2020, the trend had skyrocketed. Millions of posts on TikTok and Instagram were tagged with #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, #PlantMom, and just plain #Plants. While stuck indoors, many people also bought plants to improve their home’s air quality. (This popular misconception has been debunked by several scientific studies.)

None of this surprised Mignon Hemsley and Danuelle Doswell, co-owners of Grounded, a plant subscription service based in Washington, D.C. “Consumers wanted to take up something to relieve the stresses of being on lockdown,” says Hemsley.

Our obsession with houseplants has historical roots. In the 1700s, Europeans collected citrus trees and fragrant flowers to show off their wealth. In the 1800s, the invention of glass terrariums led to a fad of buying tropical plants, orchids, and ferns. By the time the 20th century rolled around, spiky cactuses and chic succulents were the coolest houseplants around.

What’s today’s trend? Thanks to #Plantfluencer culture, the weirder and rarer the better. Think neon-streaked pothos, spindly air plants, and even roly-poly moss balls!

If this has you thinking about picking up your own pet pothos or peace lily, Hemsley and Doswell hope you will. “Plants are a great way for kids to learn how to care for something and feel a sense of empowerment and creativity in watching them grow,” says Doswell.

Answer the questions using the charts and graphs above. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Which age group had the largest percent of respondents say they like to take care of something alive?

A. Ages 13-24

B. Ages 25-34

C. Ages 35-54

D. Ages 55+

What’s the largest size a pitcher plant grows to?

A. 3 inches

B. 2 feet

C. 36 inches

D. 8 feet

In which month and year did the Google search for “plant care” reach peak popularity?

A. March 2019

B. April 2020

C. May 2020

D. June 2021

Which plant in the “Starter Plants” infographic needs to be watered the most often?

A. snake plant

B. pitcher plant

C. air plant

D. zebra plant

Which search term peaked in popularity in August 2021?

A. plant care

B. pothos

C. peace lily

D. none

Which reason for owning houseplants was the least popular among all respondents?

A. to improve their home’s style

B. to grow herbs for cooking

C. to take care of something alive

D. to have something pretty to look at

What was the highest Google trend score that the search term “peace lily” received?

Which plant in the “Starter Plants” infographic has the largest range in size? By how much?

How many more people surveyed grow houseplants to have something pretty to look at than do it because they like to take care of something alive?

Poll your class on what houseplant they would want to grow. Then make a circle graph of the results.

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