Gen Z Gardening Trend – Root Causes Of Their Love For Plants

Younger populations are increasingly interested in gardening. Millennial and Gen Z plants range from garden vegetables to houseplant parenting and beyond.

A young woman holds a tray of seedlings
(Image credit: RossHelen / Getty Images)

Gardening and houseplant ownership are both on the rise among both Millennials and Gen Z individuals. The trend began with houseplants and Millennials, but it has expanded to include all kinds of young people gardening, growing vegetables and caring for houseplants.

Who Are Gen Z Gardeners?

Gardening has long been associated with older adults. This might be because retirees have more time to take up gardening as a hobby. Older adults also often garden as a type of low-impact exercise.

The new generations of gardeners include young people defined as Generation Z and Millennials and, while there is no definite consensus, the Millennial generation is usually defined as people born between 1980 and 1996, and Gen Z as those born between 1997 and 2012. Today’s Gen Z gardeners are in their 20s and younger. Millennials are in their late 20s to early 40s.

According to surveys of garden centers, Millennial customers have increased by as much as 65% in recent years, while the Gen Z customer base has grown by more than 40%. Surveys of young people conducted in 2023 indicate that gardeners in Gen Z plan to spend more time and money on gardening, and many plan to expand their existing gardens in the next few years.

Why Does Gen Z Love Gardening?

Many experts cite the pandemic as being instrumental in feeding Gen Z’s love for both houseplants and gardening. Another source of the trend might be Millennial frugality. Facing student loans, rising housing prices, and other expenses, many Millennials have turned to houseplants instead of more costly pets, calling themselves plant parents.

The low cost of entry and maintenance is one reason both younger generations are finding pleasure in houseplants and gardening. These are hobbies that reward frugal measures, like seed saving, plant sharing, upcycling, and DIY projects.

Cost of living increases could also explain a rise in gardening among younger people. Gen Z grew up in a time when people were more aware than ever of the importance of healthy eating but now face rapidly rising food prices. Gardening allows them to grow their own vegetables and fruits.

Gen Z also came of age at a time when more people were aware of and talking about mental health. Gardening is a good activity for promoting good mental health. The younger generations also tend to place more value on experiences and less on acquiring goods. They tend to enjoy doing and creating rather than spending on and collecting expensive items or luxury goods. Gen Z gardeners are also more aware than past generations of the importance of sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.

The pandemic triggered a renewed interest in gardening, a hobby that could be done outside safely, among all generations. Gen Z learned to love it and has stuck with it even after the end of the pandemic lockdowns.

Favorite Gen Z Plants

Gen Z has embraced a diversity of plants and types of gardening, but there are some definite trends:

  • Houseplants - The trend definitely started with houseplants, and Millennials and Gen Z have both embraced all types. They particularly like finding unusual varieties and cultivars. To save money, they share cuttings for propagation and buy, sell, and trade online. Some popular plants with a lot of different varieties are monstera, philodendron, pothos, and all types of succulents.
  • Heirloom vegetables - Younger people have also found joy and frugality in growing their own vegetables. As with houseplants, they like to track down, share, and swap unusual varieties, like heirlooms. They also like veggies that are easy to grow and highly productive, like lettuce, greens, and tomatoes.
  • Native plants - Gen Z gardeners tend to choose native plants for gardening. Houseplants are often exotic and tropical, but for gardening outside, they enjoy native species that support their local ecosystem.

Gardening is a healthy, rewarding hobby that can be done on a budget. With more knowledge about the environment and a kickstart from the pandemic, young people are embracing it more than ever.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.