Houseplants in 90s US Sitcoms
Houseplants might be all the rage now, but we didn’t start this fire. Many people will remember indoor nature in the 70s and 80s, with Yucca plants and ‘Mother-in-law’s Tongues’ hanging around in many homes. Some may even remember as far back as the 50s or 60s when Monstera and Spider Plants were at the height of fashion.
For most generations though, there’s a period that we’re all too familiar with, either because you lived it or you smashed through Friends on Netflix.
Many of our favourite US Sitcoms from the 90s feature houseplants that we know, love and stock here at Lancasters. So we decided to pick out a few of our favorites and name the plants, all in the name of providing some home décor inspiration and indulgent nostalgia. Aren't we nice?
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Right at the start, first airing September 1990 we have the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. With an instantly recognisable theme song and a lovable Will Smith, it’s truly one of the greatest. Below you can see the original set from the early seasons and quite a few plants. The one that stands out amongst them all and can also be seen in later episodes is the Kentia Palm on the left.
Kentia palms had a big revival in 1980s and early 90s USA, mostly due to the popularity of tropical/beach styles (think Miami Vice), a perfect fit for Will's Bel Air mansion. It's an ideal plant for almost any home as it’s relatively low maintenance, only needing a bright room and some water when the top inches of soil are dry.
Another sitcom that launched a now hugely successful comedians’ career, though Jerry's character was way too clean to have any plants in his apartment. If you’ve seen this groundbreaking comedy, you're familiar with the lovable ‘hipster doofus’ Kramer’s apartment. One plant that reappears throughout the series 9 year run is a Red Maranta on his table.
We’ve always stocked Marantas here at Lancaster’s because they’re easy to look after and are a great trailing version of their big cousin the Calathea. Usually when they come in to us from the grower they’re in the early stages but from the looks of it, Cosmo Kramer has had his one for a little while and it has began to trail. Yet more inspiration from the style king of the sitcom world.
Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, described Friends as the same show as his, just with better looking people. Whatever the writers at Friends did, it worked. The main setting of Monica’s apartment gives a snapshot of 90s fashion and is immortalised in TV history.
Either side of the TV you can spot two plants, on the left we have a Boston Fern and on the right is a Pothos of some kind. Two very classic plants that pay homage to 1970s style. They’re also very easy to take care of, even for a TV set (if they’re real).
Neither plant needs an abundance of light, the only thing you’d need to do is make sure that the Boston Fern’s soil is kept moist, but never soggy. You can also give it a regular mist to keep the foliage healthy. For the Pothos, just give it a drink when the top layers of soil have dried.
Boy Meets World
One that’s lesser known on this side of the water but still recognisable to most who grew up in the 90s is Boy Meets World. In the still below we can see the main set from the left, allowing us to spot two plants that are still very popular today.
On the left there's another Pothos, which looks like it’s probably a Devil’s Ivy. To the right there's a Fiddle Leaf Fig which is, in truth, quite a dramatic plant. They like to be kept relatively warm, moist and in a bright position but can still often drop leaves, which causes panic.
If your plant does start shedding, step back and assess why it’s happening rather than acting straight away. It could just be because the weather has turned colder. Good luck!