The pandemic has put the magnifying glass on everyone’s refuge, the home, and one of the changes that have taken place inside and outside it is the passion for mini-plants. Also called baby plants are vegetables in their early growth stage that require little more than constant warm temperatures and indirect light. There are already a multitude of specialized websites and even one start up with protagonist of the coated paper included. At the beginning of July, the acquisition by Tamara Falcó and Hugo Arévalo, one of the creators of the extinct social network Tuenti, of the store on-line Miniplant, born in 2020 and which has sold more than 100,000 units in two years. The Marquise de Griñón will be the new director of brand strategy and alliances of this emerging company focused on the sale of local, sustainable and chemical-free plants.
Before the pandemic, the trend of small-format plants already existed in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, but it has arrived in Spain since 2020. Quentin Brouhon, founder of Pur Plant, tells it, who, after living in Brussels and Sydney , he became interested in 100% natural gardening and was attracted to the so-called permaculture, which seeks to design spaces (agricultural, urban…) based on sustainability and not forcing the environment. “In this current scenario full of screens, it is necessary to adopt habits that bring us closer to nature through baby plants, taking care of them in the most organic way possible,” argues Brouhon.
For the CEO of Miniplanta, Alejandro Chacón, the boom of baby plants is due to several factors: taking care of them from the first buds is a challenge and an experience that produces satisfaction; They are suitable for small spaces, and, above all, they have the advantage that “they do not come from a highly polluting sector such as cut flowers, which greatly damages the planet, uses abusive fertilizers, energy resources, air travel and massive drainage. of water,” he says. For Joan Català, from Omotesandō Plants, “there have always been plants indoors, but it is true that with the pandemic they have become more fashionable and more people have wanted to have a piece of nature in their home.”
According to Jon Marín from Bridepalla, one of the pioneering companies in this field —it was created in 2015—, in the world of miniplants the “fervor to collect them has emerged, which means that there are highly valued species or varieties”. “In our case,” he says, “we want to democratize plant life and that is why we work with locally grown species at fair prices.”
The vast majority of these small decorative pieces are of tropical origin and come from South America, and it is shown that many of the Instagram profiles under the hashtag #miniplant They are based in Mexico, Argentina or Colombia, although for Brouhon the trend arose “in the heart of Europe”. For the companies that are dedicated to its commercialization, the advantages that this phenomenon supposes in many cases are of an emotional nature because they consider that they have “a little piece of nature at home that they learn to take care of by living the experience of watching it grow,” says the CEO of Pur Plant. Alejandro Chacón comments in this sense that “seeing a new leaf grow is an incredible experience” and adds: “They are very easy to care for and very grateful.”
The most desired varieties are Monstera Adamsonii, Pilea peperomioides and, in general, any Calathea in Pur Plant. The stars of the Miniplanta store are also the Philodendron Pink princess wave Alocasia silver dragon, among other.
Where to start in the mini vegetal world
If you decide to bet on this hobby, Jon Marín, from Bridepalla, recommends starting with cacti and succulents or cultivating indoor plants that “our grandmothers” had that have become fashionable again, such as the money plant, pothos or begonias. “And if the bug bites you, try other species that are more difficult to care for, such as calateas or other more exotic ones,” he concludes.
To this trend of baby plants could be added the option of taking care of a kokedama. This is a technique that the Japanese invented more than 500 years ago and that consists of cultivating the plant in a moss ball, instead of using the traditional plastic or ceramic pot. This is the idea behind the firm Omotesandō Plants, created in 2018 by Joan Català, inspired by the Tokyo neighborhood of the same name and dedicated to creating gardens in a bowl and compositions with preserved roses. “The idea behind Omotesandō is to bring a piece of nature into the home, with the difference that, instead of selling miniplants or cuttings on their own, we create new compositions with them in the form of mini gardens or terrariums”, he comments.
And, to curl the loop and create a true urban jungle, plants in the air are another alternative to satisfy this passion for tiny gardens and one of the leading firms in this sector is Boreen Shop. Kevin Yufe, one of its founders, believes that it is easy to find a favorite among more than 650 varieties, of different shapes, colors and sizes. Among its advantages compared to the indoor ones of a lifetime, Yufe highlights that “the air ones do not dirty”, since they live without soil and are very easily cared for. They only need to be soaked once a week and they don’t need direct sun, just some clarity: “They don’t grow fast, in fact, quite the opposite; They grow very slowly and live for several years, with the advantage that before dying they have several children that cover the place of the mother”, explains the expert. Boreen Shop has devised handmade supports made of sustainable wood, white cement or concrete so that these air plants fulfill their aesthetic and accompanying function.
In addition to the advantages when it comes to taking care of them, this is a hobby according to many pockets. The average cost of the air plants with support to choose is 25 euros. Baby plants can be found from 4 euros and do not exceed 20. kokedamas from Omotesandō they are between 24 and 42 euros and their gardens in a bowl, from 20 to 368 euros. The oscillation in costs depends on the desired species, since there are rarities that are difficult to find.