Are you all set to ‘plant-flex’? | Gardening advice

It looks I have got to that awkward age when I am concurrently previous enough to recoil from the new vocabulary of hipster-speak, but even now youthful more than enough to know that within a 7 days or so I will obtain myself working with it. The total raft of new, normally colourful gardening terminology that has accompanied the unexpected inflow of younger and a lot more varied voices into horticultural media, mostly thanks to platforms such as Instagram, fascinates me. My favorite term is a person I learned only yesterday from my suitably bearded and tattooed Instagram buddy @botanicalotter: plant-flexing.

Tailored from 90s US rapper slang, to “plant-flex” is the horticultural version of performatively exhibiting one’s wealth by using the use of status symbols – in this case the standing image may possibly be a thing like a variegated monstera. The notion that a humble houseplant can now be equated to a sports activities vehicle or fat wad of income may seem stunning, but one leaf nodes of some ought to-have species now market for tens of thousands of pounds on on-line auction web sites.

Sadly, such inflated selling prices have led to on line rip-off artists advertising counterfeits, and to prevalent theft from botanic gardens. They can also go away the rest of us who lack the means (or frankly wish) to enjoy the plant-flexing activity emotion a very little insufficient.

Of system, obtaining crops as standing symbols is nothing new – think of the craze for tulips in 17th-century Holland or the 19th-century British obsession with uncommon unique trees. But what does this most up-to-date surge in the rate of houseplants say about a pastime that was once viewed as an available oasis in the globe of gardening, rather absolutely free from the stuffy course fixations of the relaxation of horticulture? As you can possibly inform, I feel this new fetishisation of some plants risks creating the sort of barriers that, right until lately, left a complete generation sensation excluded from the industry.

Status symbol: Philodendron ‘Florida Beauty’.
Position image: Philodendron ‘Florida Beauty’. Photograph: Mokjc/Shutterstock

On the other hand, there is a different perspective. At any time considering the fact that I began working in horticulture, 20 many years ago, we have been complaining about how little we are paid and how no just one values our techniques. So it would seem a little bit loaded to get started obtaining cross when some of us are ultimately receiving some sort of recognition. Do these superior rates essentially inspire commercial growers to undertake unusual vegetation into the mainstream, making them out there to the mass current market inside decades (occasionally just months) of them initial using off on-line? The steps of a couple major spenders could support develop the full marketplace, which in the end might gain regular gardeners.

A handful of years ago there were only about 10 houseplant species to choose from as huge-box back garden centres frequently slashed their ranges to substitute them with shelves of orthopaedic footwear and meerkat-shaped photo voltaic lights.

I guess the similar arguments apply to industries these as fashion, artwork and tech, and the truth of the matter is possibly someplace in involving. But for the existing, I come across it remarkable that I am last but not least not the only human being fascinated by property crops – even if I am now 1 of the oldest.

Stick to James on Twitter @Botanygeek

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