Forget Stocks…Invest in House Plants

Mikey Ling
5 min readFeb 9, 2021

Okay don’t, like, actually forget about stocks… I just added that part for some good ole’ clickbait :) But if you like making money, you might want to read on.

I went to a local nursery to treat myself to a little house plant for my 27th birthday last year. I’m a badass. Don’t need to tell me twice. After spending over an hour grazing the greenhouse for the newest addition to my small Bay-Area apartment, I found myself waiting in the checkout line staring at this pathetic-looking cluster of puny leaves in a 1-inch plastic planter. It was $12. TWELVE FREAKIN’ DOLLARS!

One of the workers noticed my crappy-leaf-induced-trance…“Oh, you want to buy this? It’s a Birkin!” she said enthusiastically. “Uh, maybe? Why is this so expensive? It’s just a bunch of tiny wee-little leaves…” I responded curiously. “They’re kind of a rare houseplant nowadays…They’re in high demand ever since they became famous on the Instagram because they develop these beautiful variegated white and green leaves when they mature!” I had never heard the words ‘rare’ and ‘houseplant’ in the same sentence before. Call me sheltered but I’m pretty sure some of you out there haven’t either. Regardless, I bought it. Who doesn’t want a rare houseplant?

After getting home and putting my precious $12 Oddish-top on my sun-soaked windowsill, I started to do some research…

Birkin’s don’t like direct sunlight. So I used a dim sum steamer sheet to protect it from those rays 😛

I Googled/eBayed ‘rare variegated houseplants’ and was blown away… Absolutely, utterly blown away…

Pink Princess Philodendron Stem Cutting
Monstera Albo Node Cutting with Single Leaf: $250
Monstera Thai Constellation Starter: $200

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post pictures from eBay on here for copyright reasons, but I highly suggest you lookup some of the plants I listed above. Prepare yourself to be amazed. People are selling (and buying?!) single leaves for hundreds…HUNDREDS… of dollars. It seemed absolutely ridiculous. I thought, “why would anyone ever want to buy a plant for hundreds of dollars. In a few years, it’ll just grow to be a giant, expensive plant constantly reminding you that you spent 50 Chipotle burritos’ worth of money on.”

But then the lightbulb clicked on in my head. I repeated my previous thought again, “it’ll just grow to be a giant, expensive plant…”

Plants grow! And their value grows with rarity and demand… The economist in me started connecting some dots, and I started to view these rare plants in a different light. The more I thought about it, the more these rare plants started looking like assets instead of sunk costs, or liabilities. In fact, if you’re able to successfully grow these rare houseplants, they can be be extremely valuable assets. Huh? What? How can a freakin’ houseplant be an asset? Hear me out:

Let’s say you buy a Pink Princess Philodendron (referred to by PPP by the houseplant community) for $200 and successfully take care of it for six months. That PPP you bought for $200 is probably worth well over $300, a 50% increase in value! Any one who commercially invests would gladly take a 50% profit over a six month holding period. And unlike stocks, whose value can decrease due to a multitude of factors, many of which are nearly impossible to take advantage of, your PPP is constantly growing both physically and financially! As far as I can tell, it’s almost a guaranteed profit. And to make things even better, you can propagate your mature PPP into little baby PPPs, which will eventually grow into mature PPPs that you can propagate again. See what I mean?

I love plants

I realize my plantonomics (I’m unofficially trademarking that word) theory assumes the demand of the houseplant is the same when you sell as it was when you first bought it. But the way work from home culture has evolved thanks to COVID, I think it’s fair to say houseplants are here to stay.

You might be thinking, “Okay Mikey, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” And all I can say to that response is look at the picture below:

❤ My Very Own PPP ❤

I bought this PPP when it was just a single leaf for $150 roughly two months ago. Now it’s grown into a really nice looking plant with some beautiful pink variegation. I plan to propagate this bad boy, so I can one day have a little army of PPPs in my apartment.

To close, I want to let y’all know that I’m not telling everyone to completely remove themselves from the (oddly) emotional journey of buying and growing houseplants. I genuinely loathe the day I decide to sell one of my PPPs because I’ve grown really attached to my chlorophyll-filled assets. In my eyes, the emotional/psychological benefits of owning some of these incredible houseplants have definitely paid dividends in these weird COVID days. My PPP is a relatively low-risk investment that is guaranteed to increase in value. Who knows when I’ll actually decide to sell one of my future PPPs, but it definitely won’t be for awhile. Why? Because I’m long on plants 😃.

P.S.

Remember that little Birkin I showed you at the beginning of the article? Here it is five months later:

My wittle babyyyyyyyy

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