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Being a plant parent has become a rising trend within the millennial generation. It is no surprise that millennials would house a bunch of plants (and name them) given that they care a lot about climate change and the planet. But has anyone ever thought that maybe this whole houseplant obsession has its environmental drawbacks as well?

We know the function of plants on our planet is to mainly give off oxygen to counterbalance the amount of carbon dioxide that we as humans emit into this planet. The function of plants now seems to be purely aesthetic for the sake of self-care, and the lush greenery that surrounds any plant parent’s home almost soothes the sting of how the actual natural world is doing outside our front door.

The reality is that, just like any habit, too much of a good thing can actually become a really bad thing, and the same can be said about collecting houseplants.

Believe it or not, having houseplants can harm the environment and one of the main factors is the transportation of houseplants. Many people, especially during the pandemic, have been ordering plants online. And because plants are actual living things, shipping has to be speedy enough so that the plant actually makes it alive to the buyer, which means that the number of emissions emitted almost undoes the good intensions of the buyer.

Other details to consider are whether you use plastic pots as well as grow lights as these also have a negative impact on the environment. Another factor to consider is water waste and how much water is used on plants on a daily basis.

Of course, this isn’t to dissuade anyone from owning a garden, but if the sake of tending for a garden isn’t only in the name of self-care but also about the planet, then there’s a couple of things that can be done to be a more sustainable plant parent.

As we know, millennials like to shop local with small businesses. Instead of racking up emission miles with overnight shipping, shop at a local nursery or plant shop that is walking or biking distance to eliminate car pollution on your way to buying more plants. If you have friends who are also fellow plant parents, propagating your plants is a good way to gift and also collect more plants without harming the environment.

Other sustainable things plant parents can do is switch out their plastic pots for ceramic ones and also recycle the plastic ones they already do have. If you have growing lights, use a timer so that the lights aren’t on all day; and although this might seem obvious, try not to overwater your plants.

Being a plant parent is fun, soothing and, with a little more consideration, it can be great for the environment as well.

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