Gardening With Allen: Houseplants’ reputation blooming


Allen Wilson is a horticultural specialist based out of Vancouver. Email Allen Wilson at

I’ve noticed that people who work from home on news broadcasts almost always seem to have live plants and flowers in the background. Is it just because of the pandemic or do people tend to use plants at home and in the office?

I noticed the same thing as you observed. As a gardener, I am happy when people use more plants. In my opinion, plants – just like music – make a home more livable. Since the pandemic has forced us to spend more time at home, it is only natural for us to want to improve the quality of life.

Plant growers and stores have definitely seen an increase in orders for seeds, plants and supplies for indoor and outdoor use. I recently read that the supply of large nursery plants is very scarce. It takes several years for a large tree or shrub to grow. Apparently, this year’s range of large-scale systems was largely sold in addition to normal sales last year.

I have also noticed a wider range of plants for both indoor and outdoor use in stores other than garden stores. Big box stores, grocery stores, and drug stores offer an increased range of plants and cut flowers. For example, I saw an exhibition of 50 orchid plants in a large shop. Forty years ago orchids were expensive plants. Now you can purchase a multi-flower orchid plant for $ 15. And the plants bloom for a month or more, three times as much as a mother plant. They are also good in low light conditions.

Hobby plants are also becoming increasingly popular. My wife has a collection of African violets of various shades. If there are 10 plants, three or more will always bloom. I like to grow new plants of African violets and various hanging plants and give them to relatives and friends.