How to Make Your House Jungle Dreams Come True

Millennial houseplant trend jungalows house jungles indoor gardening urban jungle

When I was about eight years old, I convinced my parents to let me run wild with a rainforest-themed bedroom, complete with exotic plants and calming amazon music. I quickly grew tired of tending to my jungle and moved onto my next interior design experiment (read: disaster). I wasn’t the first to become obsessed with bringing the outdoors in. Houseplants have been a deeply rooted trend throughout history. As early as 1,000 B.C., indoor plants where seen as a Chinese symbol of wealth. Fast forward to the Victorian Era and horticulture hobbyists were fascinated with palms and ferns. Then, it seemed like you couldn’t escape the 70s without seeing a spider plant in every American kitchen.

For some, plant care is a lifestyle/attitude that almost equates to an extension of self-care. More and more 20 and 30 somethings are keen on identifying themselves as plant people — the kind who live in an abundance of flourishing foliage with Insta-worthy plant displays.

Lately there’s been a new twist on the leafy household companion. "Urban Jungles" are sprouting up in every major city — and millennials are the driving force behind the growing craze. According to the 2016 National Gardening Report, six million new Americans took up gardening in 2015, and five million of them were in the 18 to 34 age bracket. Now, all types of trees, grasses and shrubs are finding their way inside the homes and hearts of young people. Today, millennials are out-greening their parents, with 37 percent growing plants and herbs indoors, compared to 28 percent of boomers.

For some, plant care is a lifestyle/attitude that almost equates to an extension of self-care. More and more 20 and 30 somethings are keen on identifying themselves as plant people — the kind who live in an abundance of flourishing foliage with Insta-worthy plant displays. Not only can plants be therapeutic by giving you something to nurture, they are also known to clean the air, boost healing and fend off illness.

If you’re just starting your home search, now may be the time get hip to this houseplant craze. To find the plant-perfect home, keep these tips in mind:

Lighting and Window Placements

You don’t have to be a master gardener to know how important light is for growing healthy plants. However, it does take some research to figure out how the lighting in your future home will impact the indoor greenery. It’s a fairly complex topic, so thankfully apps like MQ GreenThumb takes the guesswork out of relying on our eyes to determine how much light is too much or not enough. The app measures the amount of light in a room and calculates how much light is required for any specific plant.

Assuming that you live in the northern hemisphere, windows with south-facing exposure bring in the most light and north facing brings in the least.

Plants aside, natural light is important for you as well. Sunlight is often overlooked by home buyers, yet it has been scientifically proven to boost moods and energy levels. Assuming that you live in the northern hemisphere, windows with south-facing exposure bring in the most light and north facing brings in the least. The direction in which your home faces has a big effect on the lighting throughout the day. For example, bedrooms with eastern exposures will be bright and cheerful in the morning as the sun is rising.

You can purchase special lamps for both you and your plants to help supplement natural light, but there really is no substitute for the sun. It’s easy to figure out where your house is facing using the compass feature on your iPhone. I check it at every house tour!

Look for Layouts That Complement Your Plants

Some of the best house jungles are those that utilize the nooks and crannies of a home that are otherwise considered dead space. You may have a specific indoor tree that you want to showcase. A home with interesting architectural details can play off the jungle trend. For instance, you can utilize rafters to hang plants and create a dramatic look by playing with heights. Urban Jungle Bloggers offers some great ideas for living and styling with plants.

Maximize Outdoor Space

Even though indoor plants are all the rage, a well-manicured yard will never go out of style. If you’ve been renting for a while, you may have caught yourself staring out from your apartment at a lackluster outdoor space. You’ll love putting your green thumb to work by stepping into homeownership. Designing a yard that reaches its maximum potential is part of the fun of owning a home. As you start your house hunt, put together a list of wants for your green space — like a place for gardening. When you’re touring properties, don’t forget to take a good look at the yard and map out a place for your future vegetable plot.

Bonus Tips:

  • Make note on whether a hose spigot and sprinkler system have already been installed, otherwise you may want to budget for these types of amenities.
  • If you fall in love with a home’s current plantings then make sure that they are included in the sale. Typically, anything affixed to a property is incorporated into a purchase, but sellers have been known to dig up expensive or sentimental plants prior to a change in ownership.

For condo buyers, if outdoor space is minimal then you’ll need to get creative. If you’re fortunate to have a deck, deeded yard space or roof rights, you can utilize this square footage to your advantage. You don’t need a big area to harvest your own herbs like basil, oregano, and mint — even a small window box will do.

If you’re completely out of luck in terms of green space you may have another option. You can track down the local community gardens to see if you can rent a shared plot and create your botanical oasis near your condo complex.

Storage for Plants and Gardening Tools

Your newfound plant obsession may take up a bit more space than planned. You’ll need a place to store the necessary tools, pots and soil. Plus, if you live in an area with chilly winters, you may need to bring the plants inside for several months of the year. As you tour homes and especially ones that are tight on space, double check that there’s enough room for you and your plant paraphernalia!