The Houseplant

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Greenery has been a motif on the fashion catwalks for the past few years, but it’s only recently that fashionistas have started to bring real tropicalia indoors and to grow plants themselves. Why their sudden enthusiasm? Not only because plants enhance a modishly midcentury interior – especially that 1970s stalwart, the cheeseplant (pictured), or because city-dwellers now understand the ways plants can improve their health and environment, believes American gardening expert Tovah Martin. It’s a deeper reason: a need to be rooted. “Everyone yearns to play in the dirt, she says. “Besides, a houseplant is therapeutic. It gives you something to nurture.” One difference between these gardeners and their green-fingered grandparents, notes Michelle Slatalla in her blog Gardenista, is the type of plants they’re growing. While in the 1950s and ’60s it might have been a violet, in the 1970s a spider plant in a macramé hanger (currently enjoying a comeback), today’s indoor gardeners prefer architectural flora that requires very little care –cacti and succulents that create a cool Californian vibe; or the fiddle-leaf fig, which is currently the fashionable choice of hip boutiques from Marimekko in Finland to Céline in Europe. The key to creating the right look, captured on hashtags such as #urbanjungle, #monsteramonday or #plantgang? Pick the plant as you would a piece of furniture, says Slatalla, and then arrange in clusters. “The look you want is a living work of art.”