Bringing plants into your home can have a positive impact on your mental health. Here’s a list of some great subscription services.
SEP 22, 2020
This year may go down in history as one of the most tumultuous, chaotic, and just plain weird revolutions around the sun yet — but it’s also become the year of the houseplant. As we’ve all stayed home, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, our buying habits, and focus have shifted to making our homes more livable, comfortable, and green.
Houseplants are booming, and there are tons of new subscription-based platforms on the market. Here’s what you need to know before plunking down your hard-earned cash on your next plant baby.
Houseplants are relatively easy to care for, they don’t take up a ton of space, so they work for both small apartment dwellers and folks who live in large houses, and they help bring some of the outside in, regardless of what kind of climate you live in.
One important thing to note about the claimed health benefits of houseplants: They don’t clean the air in our homes as well as was previously thought. While there have been plenty of reports and stories that say that houseplants can help make your indoor air a bit cleaner, recent reviews of the study have disproven that theory. The claims of houseplants creating cleaner indoor air were based on a nearly 30-year old study done by NASA. The recent review and studies show that while plants do remove some volatile organic compounds from the air (VOCs), they do it so slowly that the impact is negligible.
Despite this, houseplants provide a really lovely way to bring nature inside and offer an opportunity to cultivate, nourish, and grow a living thing. There’s plenty of research out there that shows that caring for plants can help lower psychological stress and anxiety, which we are all facing in this new Covid-19 world.
According to the NPD Group, a market research firm in New York, we’ve all nested a bit more during the pandemic, too. Spending shifted to home decor, organization solutions, home gardening, and yes, even houseplants. Even those with less than stellar gardening skills are getting in on the trend.
Add to this, the fact that the subscription model across everything from Amazon orders to kids activity boxes has seen a tremendous lift over the last ten years. Depending on what sector you look at, Covid-19 hasn’t really dampened that appetite, according to a recent report by Zuora, a subscription management platform provider. The report shows that digital and media subscriptions are up (things like Netflix and others), while some consumer subscriptions are down (things like subscription boxes for clothing, makeup or skincare, and others), compared to the same period (March-May) of 2019.
We also all shopped online a lot more in the past six months. Since we couldn’t get out to local stores, we turned to online shopping for all of our needs. The online retailer, Amazon, reported that it had its best sales quarter ever when it announced second-quarter profits at the end of July. In the first six months of 2020, consumers spent $347.26 billion with online U.S. retailers. That’s an increase of more than 30 percent year over year, according to Digital Commerce 360, a media and research organization that analyzed recent U.S Department of Commerce data.
These factors have all combined to create a seemingly sudden boom in plant subscription options out there. Before you jump in, though, there are a few things to consider.
What to know about plant subscriptions
There are many options for plant subscriptions: Everything from succulent subscriptions to un-killable (or nearly so) plants, and other ways to bring nature inside your home. There are also plant subscriptions for animal lovers (and owners) since certain houseplants are poisonous to pets.
Before you jump in, know that all plants require some level of care and feeding. How advanced you are as a plant parent (and how much time you want to spend tending to your indoor garden) will often determine just how successful your grow efforts are. Plus, there are right ways (and wrong ways) to enrich your home with plants.
You should also consider how much money you want to spend on houseplants. One buyer recently purchased a houseplant for more than $5,000. Never fear, though. Most subscriptions range in price from a bare plant for just $5, to a plant and pot (plus some other accouterments) for $100 or more per month.
One other thing to know about some of these plant subscription companies is that they are still relatively small and working to meet rising demand. Some shipments may be delayed, thanks to Covid-19, and some of the plants you were hoping for may not be available. In fact, a spokesperson for The Sill confirmed that their plant subscriptions have been so popular recently that they’ve paused new subscriptions for the time being. They plan to reopen subscriptions in the early fall.
Finally, plants are often marketed under a variety of different names. Some plant subscription models use marketing names, while others use the scientific names. If you’re trying to find pet-safe plants, (in particular), it’s essential to do your research before settling on a specific plant subscription to ensure that what is offered works for your needs.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the more well-known subscriptions on the market right now.
Good for people with limited space
Choose from various plant types, including succulents, premium houseplants, herbs, air plants, and pet-friendly options, and you’ll get one plant per month shipped from California. You can choose an option to have your plants delivered in plastic pots or terracotta pots.
Cost: Starts at $12 per month plus shipping
If you’re new to gardening or growing anything, My Garden Box is a good option. The boxes ship monthly and include everything (except the water) you need to grow, plus some neat additions like unique containers and accents. You can sign up for a month-to-month, three-, six-, or 12-month subscription.
Cost: Starts at $38.50 per month plus shipping
Good for people with pets
Horti offers subscriptions that help those of us new to the houseplant world get a bit more comfortable cultivating our indoor garden. The company is based in New York, offers one set of plants for the New York City area, and a whole other set for those based elsewhere. You can choose to go with a subscription for newbies, one for pet owners, or one that is called “Horti’s choice.” Once you choose, you can pick the style of pot you’d like, whether painted, plain terracotta, white, or just the basic plastic nursery pot. Horti cross-references their pet-friendly plants with the ASPCA list regularly to ensure that you get pet-friendly plants.
Cost: Starts at $20 per month for a “naked pot” (i.e., the plastic pots) if you live outside of New York City. For those in New York City, the cost is $18 per month if you choose the terracotta pots. Shipping is not included.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
The Sill is probably one of the most well-known plant subscription companies, and it regularly shows up on lists like this. Their contemporary pot designs and colors make their product really appealing. Plus, for those of you looking for a pet-friendly subscription, The Sill also cross-references their plants with the ASPCA list and checks in regularly with their greenhouse team who stay current on any changes. They’ve seen such tremendous growth that they recently paused the subscriptions until early fall 2020, but you can join the waitlist until they do open them up again.
Cost: $46 per month including shipping
Good for people with a brown thumb
The Plant Club offers a monthly gift box complete with a plant, decorative planter, fact and care sheets, and one or two small decorative items like magnets or pins. They offer monthly, three-month, six-month, and twelve-month options and come with really clear instructions and care guidelines. Their subscription comes with really clear and simple instructions, too.
Cost: $24.95 plus $9 shipping
If you’re looking for an all-in-one herb or flower garden in your home, Click and Grow offers it. Your first month gets you the growing system that includes their Smart Garden 9, a self-contained garden complete with light and places for the seed pods to go. The subscription includes herb and garden pods of your choice that you simply place in their spots and set to grow. You do need to sign up for a year-long membership, and all the items ship at once.
Cost: $159.95 for the Click and Grow System, plus $7.95 per month for the plant pods. You can also choose to pay for the plant pods all at once ($94.95). Regardless of how you choose to pay, you get all the pods at once, and you can store them for up to two years in a dark, cool, dry place before planting.
Good for people who love succulents
If you’re a fan of really easy to care for (and really unique looking) succulents and air plants, you can’t really beat the Succulents Box subscription. For $5 a month, you get a single air plant or succulent each month. You can step up to other versions that include one air plant and one succulent, or multiple succulents, and pay monthly, every three, six, or twelve months. If you want to get a container for your succulents, the cost goes up to $10 per month.
Cost: Starts at $5 per month for a single air plant or succulent subscription without a clay pot or container, plus shipping
Succulent Studios is based in Long Beach, California, and ships all over the country. They offer organically grown plants for subscribers in biodegradable pots that are ready to be put into the ground or planted in pots. Succulent Studios only offers one subscription option and does not currently sell any planters or pots, but the cost can’t be beat.
Cost: $10 per month for two eight-week-old succulents, plus $6.50 in shipping
Abigail Bassett is an Emmy-winning journalist, writer and producer who covers wellness, tech, business, cars, travel, art and food. Abigail spent more than 10 years as a senior producer at CNN. She’s currently a freelance writer and yoga teacher in Los Angeles. You can find her on Twitter at @abigailbassett.