Why are indoor plants so expensive?

air purifying plants
// May 20, 2022

Introduction

You scroll through any social media feed and all the décor and home posts your likely to come across will have some or the other indoor plant. Indoor plants have taken over every home in recent years and we all know at least one self-proclaimed plant parent.

While gardening earlier meant growing plants that were common to the are you lived in, with the world becoming a global village and the age of social media, people now are interested in and have access to plants from across the globe.

The common houseplants no longer start conversations, it is the new and unusual that every gardening enthusiast wants to talk about. But there is one downside to this newfound love for rare exotic plants – the price. A majority of the plant lovers get deterred by the prices and often get disillusioned by them. So why is your coveted indoor plant so costly. Let’s look at some reasons.

  1. Supply demand

With the sudden entry of the millennial generation into the gardening world and the awareness amongst people about the importance of keeping plants at home has resulted in a sudden increase in demand. Now plants unlike man made products cannot be produced on demand and they take their own time to grow. The sudden demand and a controlled rate of supply is one of the causes of high prices.

  1. Rarity

Some plants are rare, they are truly exotic. Either they have entered the world of indoor gardening recently, have not yet been grown on a large commercial scale, or it is impossible to grow them on a large scale due to difficulty.

The rarer the plant, the more people covet it and that is what increases the price further. Rarity coupled with demand shoots up the price to sky high levels.

  1. Difficulty in growing

While some plants are easy to grow and can be grown simply from a small cutting, for example pothos. But there are some plants that are extremely difficult to grow. They need expert care, controlled environment, and a long time to grow.

The high rate of failure in growing these plants also further adds to the high price of the plant.

  1. Ease of propagation

While some plants are easy to propagate and can be grown easily from cuttings. There are some plants that are extremely difficult to grow, they can only grow from their own pups or offshoots. The grower then has to allow the mother plant to grow to a mature stage for it to start producing pups, the pups then need to be separated and grown under care. All these complexities then again add to the price.

  1. Time

Some plants grow slow. Period. Even common plants like ZZ and sansevieria take months to root and grow new saplings, even in the most ideal of growing conditions. This long duration results in added care and space on the part of the grower and let’s not forget the manpower.

  1. Size

Size is a major factor that contributes to price. Larger plants are always costlier than their smaller counterparts. Its not only time that goes into growing plants, but special care. They need to be cared for regularly for stunning foliage, good growth pattern, and healthy root system. They need to be protected against pests and infections, need to be pruned for it to grow in the right shape, and placed in the right spot for larger foliage. Well, no one will pay thousands for an ill, scanty, and ugly looking plant.

  1. Quality

Plants that you find on the roadside nursery are cheaper, but the quality is lower. The pain of poor quality outlives the joy of low price. If the plant has to enjoy a healthy long life, its start has to be healthy. Plants from good growers are grown under special care, both manpower and equipment. A good quality plant does not translate to only bushy plants, but plants with healthy root system and a good potting medium. When the grower ensures a healthy root system, the plant will get healthier as it grows.

  1. Potting mix and Planter

A good potting mix consists of builders, aerators, and fertilisers in the right proportion. Cheaper plants come in clayey red soil that is cheap and sometimes free to procure, but it does not support a healthy root system. Adding these components in the right proportion requires bit raw material and skilled manpower.

Plants from good growers come in good planters that not only last a lifetime but also look good in you home, case in point is Ugaoo. Ugaoo’s self-watering planters are not only excellent quality that lasts a lifetime, can be reused for other plants, can be easily recycled, but are also technologically advanced with a water reservoir at the bottom that lowers your watering work.

  1. Transportation

Online plant sellers take on the responsibility of transporting your plants safely to your doorstep. This requires secure packaging, special care to keep your plant hydrated during transit, a dependable logistics partner to safely transport the plants.

Ugaoo also promises free replacement in case the plant gets damaged in transit.

  1. Resources

All the above mentioned features require resources – skilled labour, horticultural experts, state-of-the-art poly-houses, watering systems, and other automation for temperature and humidity control. Growing plants under special care ensures that you get good quality, a plant that grows with time and adds to your happiness.

Lets take a look at some of the costliest plants and their average price, to the best of our knowledge.

Top 5 costliest indoor plants in the world:

  1. Monstera varieties: While the regular monstera varieties are on the comparatively lower end of the price spectrum, their variegated counterparts are rarer, more coveted, and pricier. A white variegated Monstera Adansonii sold for $38000 (INR 26,60,000) in the US.
  2. Mature Fiddle leaf fig: This plant is a good example of demand driving the price. Indoors the plant can grow up to 10 feet and the interior design magazines and Instagram have pushed it into stardom. It is this stardom that has increased its pricing. A mature fiddle leaf can cost anywhere between INR 4200 to INR 28000.
  3. Hoya carnosa: This extremely slow grower, especially ones with unique variegations, are sold at high prices. This beauty has recently sold for $6500 (INR 4,55,000).
  4. Bonsai Tree: Recently an 800-year-old bonsai of white pine tree sold for $1.3 million (INR 9.1 Cr). The price of bonsai trees grows exponentially higher as they grow older and are more intricate.
  5. The Shenzhen Nongke Orchid claimed the record for the most expensive flower ever sold when it was auctioned off for about $224,000 ( INR 1,56,80,000) in 2005. This flower was created by scientists in a university lab and took 8 years of work to develop. It only blooms every 5 years!

Happy Gardening!

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