Stuff Article - For the love of Houseplants: the rise and fall of indoor plant trends and prices

03 Mar 2022

With the rise in demand for houseplants there is the questions of influential factors such as, social media, the pandemic and lockdowns, a shift in lifestyle, as well as mental health linking to this rise.

Maree Wiki a member of New Zealand Plant Producers (NZPPI) mentioned that in almost 25 years of working in horticulture, she’s never seen anything like the current houseplant craze which has “taken all the growers by storm”.

New Zealand has robust biosecurity rules designed to protect our environment, and these requirements mean that some plants cannot be imported, says Peter Thomson, the director of animal and plant health at the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Plants which were not present in New Zealand immediately before July 29, 1998, are “new organisms”. So, importers of new species of plants need to get EPA approval and comply with the biosecurity rules.

MPI has a plants biosecurity index that can be used to check which plant species have been approved for import.

“While our rules may appear restrictive, they help ensure that healthy plants come into New Zealand and our country is protected from potentially damaging pests and diseases.”

The variegated minima which sold online for $27,100 is a good example of how our biosecurity rules can affect indoor plants and prices.

Because this plant isn’t allowed to be imported, its supply currently relies on it being propagated from plants already here, says Kathryn Hurr, from New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI).

The lack of supply and spontaneous rare mutation of a plant can lead to these “phenomenally crazy prices”, she says.

As an example, Hurr says that if a variegated rhaphidophora was able to be produced commercially and released into the market in a large quantity, its price would come down significantly.

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