house jun·gle (n.): Until recently, the only way to say someone had a lot of houseplants would be to say they had a lot of houseplants. But for people hoping to live exotic lives in compact spaces, there are corresponding terms for an especially green indoors. For instance, “house jungle.”
As a recent Washington Post article by Lavanya Ramanathan puts it, “young people are turning their apartments into ‘house jungles.’ Others prefer the term ‘urban rain forest’ or the cutesy ‘jungalow.’” Such examples of so-called “urban wilding” have caught on among people in their 20s and 30s. So has the practice of sharing photos of one’s precious green babies all over social media. As Ramanathan dryly puts it, “In less enlightened times, we probably would have just called it ‘decorating.’”
By the Post’s account, “house jungle” is a sign of a deeper sadness among younger American adults. “Millennials are filling their homes — and the void in their hearts — with houseplants,” the newspaper’s headline declares. But no generation has a monopoly on voids — or the understandable desire to get more of the outdoors indoors.