3/2/2022 | By Deirdre Smith

Houseplant trends over the past few decades can remind us of favorite plants we and our families used to tend … and give us ideas for new plants to introduce to the indoor spaces at our homes.

For centuries, people have used houseplants to bring beauty and elegance to a space. Indoor plants provide other benefits, too. Scientists have also determined that some houseplants can improve air quality, ease stress, and improve mood. Houseplants even give people something to care for, making them feel productive and needed.

Choices and preferences for different types of houseplants have changed over the years. Let’s explore household plant trends through the years.

“Having a ball” with plants in the 1950s

During the 1950s, many retreated to the suburbs, where they could get more living space. And, houseplants became a popular way to enhance the home decor and bring a little of the outdoors indoors. One of the most popular plants during this time period was the snake plant because of its hardiness. Homeowners also enjoyed other robust plants, such as the Swedish ivy and African violet.

Related: 8 top pet-friendly air-cleaning houseplants

“Groovy” houseplants in the 1960s

As people continued to migrate to the suburbs, so did their passions for indoor plants. One plant trend in the 60s was to transform your home into an indoor jungle. They achieved this with large tropical plants such as the Swiss Cheese Plant and the Dieffenbachia.

Related: Best plants for a windowsill

The 1970s brought about an awareness of caring for the earth and protecting nature. This could be seen in the color schemes of that era, which included gold, that hideous avocado green, and brown. People weren’t shy about houseplants back then either. You’d see three or four in just one room. Some of the most popular were the spider plant, rubber tree, Boston fern, and the pothos. They often hung these plants on macrame hangers that were made by the homeowner or purchased at a flea market. Ceramic vases were also popular and often housed flower plants such as the African violet.

Related: 5 plants for your laundry room

“Chilling” with houseplants in the 1980s

Interior decorators promoted a more minimalist style in the 1980s. This meant that many plant lovers downsized from a few plants in a room to just one. However, very large plants were most popular, such as the bamboo palm and the money tree. Cacti and the aloe plant were also common in homes in the 1980s.

Related: Best plants for a bathroom

Houseplants in the “crib” in the 1990s

Many referred to their home as the “crib” in the 1990s. This was to denote that the home was a place of refuge and renewal. The houseplants of that time supported this and brought an heir of relaxation to the space. Many placed orchids in their bedrooms and bathrooms to give it a spa-like feel. Further looking to houseplants to provide homes with cleaner air, many placed the corn plant or Dracaena fragrans in their living rooms to absorb pollutants.

Related: Tips for cooking with herbs

Raising houseplants is “sweet” in the 2000s

As individuals became concerned about the food that they eat, indoor vegetable gardens became the trend in the early 2000s. Foods like carrots, tomatoes, radishes, spinach, and herbs took their rightful place in the home. At this time, succulents like the roseum and jade plant further moved to the head of the class.

Today, people young and old continue to have a passion for indoor gardens and houseplants. They use them to transform and personalize their space. Some of the most popular plants in today’s homes are the fiddle leaf fig, or ficus plant because it is relatively easy to maintain. More unknown plants like the pilea peperomioides have become a major hit on social media, making them hard to find.

Still, many of the houseplant trends that we experienced in previous decades are still popular today. For example, the peace lily continues to be a common gift given to express condolences, and some philodendron and cacti have been passed down for generations.

Deirdre Smith