Two Iconic Plants That Influenced Fashion

Two Iconic Plants That Influenced Fashion

Ferns and monstera became revered for more than their beautiful leaves by becoming cultural icons.
Some plants are so iconic that they become popular beyond their appeal as a live plant.

In Victorian England, ferns became so collected and revered that a psychological malady was ascribed to it: fernomania. Plant collectors searched the landscape digging up ferns from their native woodland settings to live in tiny glass houses.

According to the Atlas Obscura, “In the 19th century, Victorians on both sides of the Atlantic came down with a severe case of “fern fever”: a craze for all things related to the humble yet ancient plant.” The “fever” began in 1829, when Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward invented the Wardian case, a glass box (like a terrarium) that allowed fern lovers to grow them indoors.

The love of ferns leapt from the plants themselves to fern motifs in women’s clothing, and indoor and outdoor decor. Fern fronds and leaves appeared in glass, textiles, iron fences, and fireplace gates. The fern icon became ubiquitous.

(See 10 fabulous ferns you can grow indoors.)

Today, we are in the midst of another plant mania moment involving another leafy lovely: the monstera.

Monsteras are popular as plants, and have wended their way into modern culture as ferns did more than 100 years ago.

A quick Google search reveals monstera motifs in clothing, wallpaper, tableware, and art.

According to an article in Racked about the monstera trend, “Eventually, the brand takeover began. The Monstera first crept into the home goods space, to the point where it’s now practically a requisite prop for decor companies, interior design bloggers...”

You can find monstera fabric at Spoonflower, monstera wall art on Etsy, monstera bedspreads, shower curtains, phone cases. And, of course, you can find the real thing at your local garden retailer.

Monstera deliciosa can grow 10 feet tall indoors. If you are looking for a smaller option, check out mini monstera (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma) and Little Swiss (Monstera adansonii).

Discover more about how splits and holes make monsteras so popular.

Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson