Lizzie La Barbera had worked at The Sill for a little over a year when she decided to take dating more seriously. She set up a profile and shared a few tidbits of personal information so anyone on the other end of a right-swipe could verify that she was a real human being. She added her age, then 27; her location, Brooklyn; and her job, merchandiser at The Sill, an online plant store and chain of plant nurseries. Before long, La Barbera was flooded with messages from interested matches, many of whom had one unsuspecting thing in common: They all wanted to talk plants.
Turns out, La Barbera may be among a growing faction of Gen Z and Millennial daters whose love of house plants makes them especially attractive to potential partners. In October 2021, home improvement agency CraftJack surveyed 1,111 house plant owners in the U.S., aged 18 - 68. Of those surveyed, 63% said they had added to their plant collection during the pandemic and 35% said other people’s house plant ownership was a serious turn-on.
The major dating apps reflect this data: Using its bio search tool, a researcher at Tinder found mentions of the terms “plant mom” and “plant dad” were up 15 and 30% respectively from this time last year, and both terms currently have more mentions in Tinder bios than at any point in 2020. Bios with the phrase “house plant” were also up 6%, while “plant parent” showed up 30% more this year than it had the year before.
At Bumble, “gardening” was one of the top 10 “Staying In” interests added by Gen Z and Millennial users in December 2021. And at Hinge, 62% of users who mention "plant" in their profile were between the ages 20 - 29.
La Barbera — who spends an hour each week tending to her nearly 40 plants and shines with a mother’s pride when she shows off her favorite ficus tineke — was happy to see so many plant-obsessed swipers out there, but felt a bit fatigued by all the work-related banter. “I would consistently get DMs from women being like, ‘Oh my god I love The Sill, what's your favorite plant?’” she tells Elite Daily. Ironically, it was the one match of hers who had never even heard of The Sill — and who didn’t yet own any house plants — who would eventually win her heart.
“My now-girlfriend of a year was the only person who was like, ‘Oh, that's cool. What's The Sill?’ And now I've gotten her into being a plant parent and she's thriving and has like a million plants,” she says.
What, you ask, did La Barbera bring her now-girlfriend as a gift on their very first date? A plant, of course. A pilea, or coin plant, to be specific — something cute and simple to kick off her soon-to-be flourishing home garden.
“I choose to think about the health of that plant as an indicator of the health of our relationship,” she says. “It was teeny tiny when I gave it to her, and now it's so big.”
Clearly, plants mean more to people than just decoration. But what makes plant lovers so darn attractive? What does that gorgeous fiddle leaf fig in the corner of your living room say about you as a person and a partner? We spoke to the experts to learn more about why owning house plants is the newest relationship green flag — and why taking care of plants helps you take better care of your relationships and yourself.