Swiss cheese factory is the houseplant in Minnesota right now

When All About Gardening released a map announcing each state’s favorite plant, it made us wonder if we should have called it a bug.

You can’t blame us for doubting the veracity of these country-by-country popularity charts. There’s still lingering discontent with #Grapegate, the 2014 fiasco when The New York Times decided that grape salad was the most popular Thanksgiving side dish in Minnesota.

So when online gardening magazine AllABoutGardening.com announced on its website that Minnesota’s favorite houseplant is the Swiss cheese plant, I wondered: Are Minnesota houseplant lovers really crazy about the dramatic, sacred-leaved specimen known as Monstera? Or is this conclusion also flawed?

Yes, this track

In making the favorite side dish map, the New York Times didn’t rely on science, entrusting the call to a Minnesota-born transplant living in New York City. (Moreover, I may be closely related to someone who used to compile lists of the “best” for a major magazine, so I know how sausages are made.)

But the professionals at All About Gardening have relied on analytics. Turns out Minnesota, along with 15 other states from Alaska to West Virginia, researched the Swiss cheese factory the most. Meanwhile, our neighbor to the east, Wisconsin, has been searching a lot for the fiddle-leaf fig.

Does googling for a specific plant mean that indoor gardeners are already growing it? After some research, it turns out that the answer is yes. Garden experts around the metro area say that Monstera deliciosaor the Swiss cheese plant, is the houseplant right now.

Rising in popularity

With its quirky looks and trademark hanging leaves, co-owner Scott Endres said it’s a top seller at Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis.

“[They] On every indoor plant lover’s list.

The epidemic is fueled in part by the popularity of Monstera. During the shutdowns, interest in houseplants has flourished, led by millennials and other self-appointed plant parents.

“People were at home, had more time to care for their plants, and more time to enjoy the aesthetic and therapeutic power of plants,” Endres said.

Buying habits have changed, too. Customers are starting to look at houseplants in a different light – eager to get one of each type of plant, rather than making a one-time purchase.

“Having just one Hoya, Rechalis, Begonia, Aroid, or Monstera is a rarity these days, with many of our customers adding new and unusual varieties to their plant collections whenever they can,” Andres said.

Jesse Jacobson, second-generation owner of Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka, couldn’t agree more. I’ve found that customers who come to buy traditional Monsteras also buy several types of the plant, including the Mini, a smaller version with gorgeous curly leaves, and the much rarer Thai Constellation, a variegated version with white foliage.

timeout

Another advantage of Monsteras? It’s easy to grow, according to Maya Harris and Lily Rosen of PlantyQueens Plant Store in northeast Minneapolis.

“They are good in a lot of different environments, lights, and watering them is very simple,” Harris said, adding, “Wait until the water is completely dry and then submerge.”

I appreciate that the simple Monstera doesn’t require much cleaning afterwards, unlike some houseplants that drop leaves in a fit of piqué when they move inches or are exposed to the slightest draft.

Harris advised to “invest in a good bark mix” for growing Monsteras. At PlantyQueens, many Monsteras grow on moss-covered poles, which helps make room as the plant grows upward.

“In nature, you will find that Monsteras grow trees,” she said. “So when we buy plumes of moss it mimics the plant’s natural environment, and the leaves grow larger and firmer — which is the name botanists use to describe the leaf holes.”

Plant parents looking to shelter and display their collections also came up with the modern-day answer to the Wardian cases the Victorians used in the golden age of botany: a tall glass and metal cabinet sold at Ikea. Once it’s waterproof and lights-able, Harris said, it’s the perfect greenhouse to display their most prized plants.

Macrame hangers also have a moment. Looks like the throwback to the ’70s has found a new generation of fans.

In sight

While Monsteras grab the spotlight for houseplants right now, other plants are waiting in the wings. Jio Factory (Geogenanthus ciliatus), which has nearly black saucer-shaped leaves and an odd vibe, is likely a competitor, Harris said.

According to Susan Bachman West, CEO of Bachman’s, the National Parks Bureau has announced that 2023 will be the year of the orchid. “Time will tell,” she said.

Jacobson agrees that it is difficult to predict the next plants because the source of rare plants has become easier. She just hopes that more people will discover the benefits and beauty of houseplants and start growing plants – indoors and out.

Rhonda Hayes is the master gardener of Twins, author and author of Pollinator-Friendly Gardening.

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