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"The day I discovered Crazy Plant Ladies are the new Crazy Cat Ladies and I'm one of them."

I first realised I might have a problem on a bright Monday morning just as I was about to hit send on a long and emotional message to my boss. A message which could have potentially ended my career.

In the text, I had painstakingly explained to my manager that I would be late to our morning story meeting, due to the fact that a treasured and valued member of my household required urgent medical attention.

This, of course, would have been a perfectly acceptable message to send, one that only a boss with a heart made out of overly stale bagels would have pushed back on, except for the small yet important fact that no other humans live in my home. And the only pet that I have to speak of is a small yet pushy spider who sometimes likes to hang out in my shower.

In this case, I had awoken on Monday morning to find my pride and joy, my glorious Devil’s Ivy that drapes luxuriously from atop my highest bookcase wilting, dry and closing in on an agonising death.

I immediately started Googling “emergency plant hospitals in Sydney” before quickly discovering that there’s no such place in existence (although there really should be, someone get onto that) while also typing out the message that would have doubled as my resignation letter when I caught sight of myself in a mirror and realised for the first time the full extent of my crazy.

There I was sitting in my living room, a place that could easily double as the set of Little Shop of Horrors thanks to the fact that I have covered every available surface with towers of green leafy things, having a panic attack over a plant.

Every person hits a low point in their life and mine just happened to be the moment I realised that cradling the body of my dying best friend meant holding onto a decaying cluster of cells who had only ever lived in a small pot.

It made me quickly realise two things.

One is that maybe I need to reassess the fact that my houseplants are named as the only beneficiaries in my will, and the second is that there is a new type of prevailing “crazy” in the world, one that pretty much every woman in my life has fallen head-first into.

Somehow, my generation had morphed into an army of Crazy Plant Ladies, and I was one of them.

Once upon a time, Crazy Cat Ladies were all the rage.

They walked freely among us, straddling along a precarious line between being eternally deranged and endlessly endearing. Gawked at for replacing more socially acceptable relationships with close friends, children and people of the romantic persuasion with spoiled feline companions who they loved a little too much.

But things are different now and plants are very much the new cats.

"Every corner of my apartment now looks like this." Source: Laura Brodnik.
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The only difference here is that in this case the new obsession cannot be lazily socially linked to single women or women of a certain age.

I have come across plenty of newly-minted Crazy Plant Ladies ranging in age from 18 to over 45. They can live alone, with partners, housemates and many of them even have a couple of human children rolling around their homes...all of whom might be feeling a little bit neglected since their parents replaced them with Fiddle Leaf Figs.

We're all in this together now and there's more than enough crazy to go around.

There's actually not a whole lot of mystery surrounding how this particular new trend began to grow, because much like everything else in this world my fellow sheeple and I are pretty much just doing what social media has told us to do.

According to the ABC, the rapidly increasing millennial obsession with indoor plants can be attributed directly to the home trend being shared incessantly on social media platforms, predominately Instagram.

Speaking to Louise Saunders on ABC Radio Hobart, nursery manager Greg Kerrin said indoor plant trends from the 1970s and '80s are back with a particular vengeance.

"It's just trend. It's fashion, that's what it is," he told the station. "Just about every other indoor plant is back, even the spider plant."

There's even a term for the people who have harnessed the power of houseplants and social media to build up legions of online fans around their images of greenery and home decor.

Dubbed "Plantfluencers" accounts such Houseplant Club, Botanical Women and even Boys With Plants have all become online sensations, and according to The New York Times millennials have turned "their apartment living rooms into the new urban jungles, and most houseplant lovers see the lowly aspidistra as an aspirational totem, not a bourgeois cliché."

Of course, much like every fashion trend that comes and goes, the popularity behind this interest is built as much on circumstance as it is by favour and desire.

 

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A room with a view (of plants) ???? ????: @jnaydaily welcome to the #houseplantclub ????

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The "dark truth" behind the rise of Crazy Plant Ladies, if you will, is that it's an easy and affordable way to give your living quarters some semblance of luxury, personality and style.

In Sydney many of the women (and men) I know still live at home with their parents or in cramped share-houses with overly-familiar roommates and barely a bathroom drawer to call their own. While some of us are lucky enough to live in our own shoe-box-sized apartments, this choice quickly eats up the lion's share of our pay each month.

(Raise your hand if you've ever considered AfterPaying a fern...just me? Ok then.)

The truth for many of us is that we'll probably never own property or even retire at an age where we're still mobile enough to escape an awkward Tinder date on foot. However, nothing plugs that dark void of growing despair and regret in your heart quite like a brand new Philodendron in an artisan pot.

I've gone from being an adult woman whose idea of 'home decor' used to include having an actual tea-towel on hand instead of reused paper towels, to someone who carefully carries her new plants back to her apartment with the same love and care that a mother would use when ferrying home her newborn baby from the hospital.

Saturday brunch now always comes with a side-of plant shopping, my friends and I now lovingly share progress photos of our plants in multiple message threads each day (yes, we are all pushy Plant Tiger Mums who sometimes get a little competitive...) and it is now socially acceptable to reply to a "what are you doing tonight?" message with "sitting at home with a glass of Rose and looking at my plants."

And look, maybe Crazy Plant Ladies will never quite steal the mantel from Crazy Cat Ladies until we start dressing our house plants up in seasonally themed outfits or Christening them with given names, but we're well on our way there.

And maybe one day I will send that text message to my boss, it's saved in drafts and ready to go.

For more stories like this, you can follow writer Laura Brodnik on Facebook and Instagram. 

Tags: home , lifestyle , real-life
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