Cactus, fat plants, hanging plants, murals… green plants are on the rise! And we say yes to the idea of incorporating a little, and even a lot, of nature into our interiors! However, the horticultural industry reflects the current trade, a massive production to meet growing demand. It is sometimes mistakenly thought that buying a plant is an eco-responsible approach in itself. In reality, their production is polluting and sometimes makes green plants less resistant – making you think you don’t have a green thumb…
What is an Urban Jungle decoration?
A style, a book and a community
The Urban Jungle movement comes from bloggers Igor Josifovic and Judith De Graaf. They created the Urban Jungle Bloggers community to bring together city dwellers who invite nature into their apartments by fully incorporating indoor green plants into their homes. The concept is simple: mix a large number of house plants for a jungle spirit, while fully incorporating them as a decorative element. For city dwellers, it is an opportunity to feel at home in their apartment or in the countryside, or almost. With 881K of followers on Instagram, it’s a complete moving movement they created, I would even say a style of decoration.
In their now mythical book “Urban Jungle – Living & Styling With Plants”, the two authors offer a good dose of inspiration across Europe. Each apartment has been carefully selected for its aesthetic appeal and originality of decoration. To guide insiders, you will even find Do It Yourself (DIY), examples of plant compositions, and care tips.
This fashion of the green plant leads to mass production. I wondered about the environmental impact of this one. A priori contradictory since it is natural, grows in nature, and depollutes the indoor air. Yes, but… its production has a real carbon and environmental impact. This article aims to provide you with explanations and solutions for an ecological Urban Jungle decoration!
The cultivation of plants is not very green!
A wide range of low-cost plants can be found in large gardening areas. What explains this price is their production.
The horticultural industry today is particularly polluting as plants grow in heated greenhouses, on huge plots and are fed with fertilizers by machines so that they grow faster. Most of the plants are produced in the Netherlands, which is the reference country in terms of mass horticulture. They are then transported to France in refrigerated trucks. That’s the way to say it, it’s getting cold!
Endangered in danger of extinction
In France, 60% of horticulturists have disappeared in 10 years, and most of them live very badly from it. Only the production of outdoor plants persists in France, the indoor plant sector has completely disappeared. The north-east of France no longer has any horticulturists to date, and the south-east is gradually emptying as well.
French horticulturists are ageing and live very badly from their profession, they do not receive any State subsidies and their distribution networks are reduced (mainly producer markets). It is a whole French know-how that is gradually disappearing.
How do you adopt green indoor plants that are environmentally friendly?
Knowing that French indoor plant production has completely disappeared, you will not find a distributor of local indoor green plants, to my knowledge.
Recycle - Reuse
Do with the existing by making cuttings from most of the plants we already have around us. You can even exchange your cuttings with friends to vary your plants.
“I have cuttings of cuttings brought back from gardens or travels. I have a large collection of succulent plants that I developed by bringing back small cuttings from Corsica a very long time ago. I’ve had a Hoya Kerii for 10 years and I’ve had to cut it 20 times.”
Olivia – Bordeaux Spray
Do you want to make your cuttings?
I would highly recommend Boutures sur mesure – Le guide essentiel pour maîtriser les boutures et partager ses plantes d’intérieur à l’infini (in french) by Caro Langton and Rose Ray
We can also grow them from fruit and vegetable stones that we eat (avocado, citrus seeds such as lemon, grapefruit, orange, fruit stones such as cherry, clementine, mandarin…).
If you don’t have a green thumb, you will find people who make their own cuttings and sell the fruit of their cuttings culture on flea markets or on Leboncoin.
If you are impatient to adopt the Urban Jungle style with well-stocked plants, I also invite you to take a look at the second-hand networks such as Leboncoin and Facebook market on which you will find people who sell their plants.
On the same idea, you can trade in the houseplants you no longer like for others, thanks in particular to Troc ta plante which has created several facebook groups per city to facilitate local exchanges (in France only).
Finally, you can turn to eco-responsible florists who can guide you or, at a minimum, offer you green indoor plants with lower impact and quality to last longer. However, to my knowledge, there is no French indoor plant grower.
And what about the big plant sales per price, what do we think?
The “Plants for All” approach is beautiful, making green plants accessible to all at low prices by reducing their margins. It’s already great! But the plants offered are in no way eco-responsible. On the other hand, I tell myself that this momentum and furious desire to acquire green plants is not just a fashion linked to the Urban Jungle movement, but reveals an internal human need to reconnect with nature, and that reassures me.
Maintenance of indoor plants to make them last
Surrounding yourself with eco-responsible and local green plants is good, but now you still have to take care of them so that they last as long as possible.
The advice of a passionate person to take care of your plants: put a few drops of water in the ground to warn your plant that you will water it, it will prepare to receive the water, you can then water it 5 to 10 minutes later.
“In fact, you have to think about how it works in nature and try to transpose the same phenomena to your domestic plants. In nature, the climate gets wetter before the rain, which tells the plants that they will receive water.”
Virginie Végétal Bazar (offers eco-responsible outdoor plants)
To limit water costs, there are several solutions. At the time of potting, put a few clay balls in the bottom of the pot. These drain the water they collect when watering and then return it as they go along. Then you can set up a drip system to water (you will find a whole bunch of DIY on Pinterest and Youtube).
Another alternative: aquaponics! The aquarium water is used to irrigate the green plants, then purified by the fish, it then returns to the plant tank, and thus follows a closed circle.
There’s nothing like grandmother’s zero-waste tricks that reuse food waste.
- Egg shells: crush and mix with the soil, they will feed the plant
- Water from cooking hard-boiled eggs: pouring it on the ground will make the plant more vigorous
- Vegetable cooking water: rich in minerals and vitamins
- Coffee grounds: strong in nutrients (potassium, magnesium, nitrogen…), for a plant in great shape
To love them
Finally, know that studies have shown that a plant that is caressed, or to whom words of love have been spoken, grows better. In Feng Shui, it is also said that your dying green plant could reveal the energy released by its owner. In other words, the attention paid to a plant has a real impact. So don’t be afraid to spoil them, and you, spoil them!
Do you have any other tips? Share them with us!
Sources: by clicking on each image