SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Robert Balek, a horticulture expert from the University of Missouri Extension Office, joined us in the studio today to talk about houseplants’ increasing popularity and which houseplants are the most sought after.

According to the National Gardening Association, spending on houseplants grew by 30% in 2021. Last year, 38.1 million households took part in indoor houseplant gardening. Due to this rise in popularity, the costs of houseplants have also risen.

Balek brought a calathea into the studio as an example of what’s been trending. Many people are seeking plants like the calathea, a jungle plant that grows in low light — perfect for a houseplant — and has splashes of pink coloring.

“Any foliage that you can get with pink in it is really popular right now,” Balek said.

Balek said that during the pandemic, houseplants were popular gifts and they’re still popular decorating choices. People are also increasingly using houseplants as centerpieces for their tables and as decor for baby showers, wedding showers, and other celebrations.

One of the most sought-after houseplants is the “Pink Princess” blushing philodendron also called the philodendron erubescens.

“If you can find a Pink Princess philodendron someplace — a philodendron with heart-shaped leaves that have pink in them — they can go upwards of $1,000,” Balek said. “Just for a little tiny plant.”

Plants with variegation (leaves with multiple colors and patterns) and unusual leaf colors are very popular right now. Examples include the:

  • “Global Green” pothos (Epipremnum aureum).
  • Golden pothos.
  • Polda-dot begonia (Begonia maculata).
  • Crotons (Codiaeum).
  • Dieffenbachia.

One of the biggest pieces of advice Balek had for people interested in houseplants has to do with watering plants such as the calathea.

“Most people overwater their houseplants,” Balek said. “They’re really easy to take care of.”

People who want more information about houseplants and how to take care of them can visit the UM Extension website or call 417-874-2963.