It can no longer be denied: Autumn has begun, the half-baked summer is history.

That means, warmer clothes go back in the closet, the dead balcony plants in the trash.

Bye lavender!

Hello, Monstera, because now you can devote your full attention to indoor plants again and go to chic “plant boutiques” to stock up on things, which could just as well sell designer bags but specialize in green accessories.

Elaborately designed books such as “Urban Jungle” provide inspiration, but with indoor plants it's the same as in politics: Green is not always ecological.

Johanna Kuroczik

Editor in the "Science" section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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The trend towards the domestic jungle, in which every free space in an apartment, including the toilet cistern, is occupied by evergreen plants, has been going on for a surprisingly long time.

On platforms like Instagram, “Plantfluencers” entertain millions of followers by sharing aesthetic photos from their apartments alias greenhouses in metropolises like Berlin, Brooklyn and Melbourne, on which botanical roommates upgrade even the dreaiest kitchenettes.

They also give helpful tips: Pouring?

Just put all the plants in the shower!

No uniform organic label for plants in the EU

Apparently there is a lack of care skills because more and more plants are being bought. The Federal Association of Ornamental Plants states that half a billion euros are spent on green indoor plants in Germany each year. The year 2019 was one of the best-selling, every German citizen bought ornamental plants worth 108 euros, on average. The fact that indoor plants are so popular has a lot to do with style and the longing for nature, explained a biologist from the Berlin Botanical Garden in an interview with taz a few weeks ago. The buyers are mostly young and value sustainability. They like to buy clothes at the flea market and the vegetarian sausage in the health food store - but house plants mostly come from large garden centers. There it is difficult to find out with absolute certainty where the plant actually comes from.In Europe there is no really trustworthy uniform organic label for plants. The last home of the plant is recorded in the EU plant passport, often the Netherlands, the botanical hub of Europe. But some of the seedlings originally come from countries such as Kenya or Costa Rica, where they are stolen from the jungle or raised under questionable conditions. Some call it overexploitation of nature, and they don't shy away from illegal pesticides either. The Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany also advises against plants that need potting soil containing peat, because the peat is often torn from a bog that can save the environment. The home principle does not work with indoor plants: only exotic species can withstand the high temperature and low humidity in the living room.

In April, a study was published in “Urban Forestry & Urban Greening” that showed that of 4205 respondents, those who had houseplants were more satisfied during the pandemic.

One supposed benefit, which goes back to a research project by NASA in 1989, still has to be tidied up: Plants are only minimally useful for indoor air when it comes to filtering out volatile organic compounds that evaporate from paintwork or cleaning agents, for example.

In order to achieve the same effect as with conventional ventilation, one would have to set up ten to a thousand ordinary potted plants per square meter in the room, researchers calculated in the "Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology".

That would actually be an urban jungle.

Keywords: urban jungle, anything, balcony plants, flea market, plants, botany, climate killer, pot, roommates, houseplant, clothes, farm shop, closet, lavender, things