The City of Chicago’s Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker enforced an Executive Stay-at-Home Order on May 1, 2020, to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. It was only supposed to be effective until May 30, 2020. However, like many other states across the US, quarantine has now been enforced for several months.
It wasn’t just toilet paper that people stocked up on during the pandemic though, there was a run on houseplants too. Many have reported that they are finding comfort, routine, and community through this hobby. Routines have been disrupted due to COVID-19, but taking care of plants can reintroduce structure. The people who have felt isolated and lonely during quarantine feel that online houseplant groups and social media have helped to create communities, where people ask for advice, share tips, and trade plants.
Chicago plant shops like Plant Shop Chicago and Semillas Plant Studio have also seen a massive increase in sales since the pandemic hit. Many young Latino customers have found that reconnecting with plants is a way to reclaim or recover parts of their family and culture. Latinos make up almost half of the COVID-19 cases in Chicago. Having seen their grandmothers or mothers growing up and tending to plants for decorative, medicinal, or culinary uses, many say that it’s that type of working the earth and getting your hands dirty that inspires a cultural connection.
Below is a map of Chicago’s most popular and highly rated plant shops and nurseries. If you’re looking for more routine, comfort, or community in your life, pick yourself up a houseplant and begin the plant parent journey.