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Exotic plants… is Berlin posh now?!

RANT! Exotic house plants, really that's the new craze? What happened to drugs and currywurst? Jacinta Nandi on Berliners' posh new hobby.

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Photo by Flux FM. Jacinta Nandi rants about Berliner’s exotic house plant craze.

Berlin is incomprehensibly posh now – and the exotic plants craze proves it.

A few years ago, people in Berlin liked currywurst and drugs and literally nothing else. Currywurst and drugs. There was literally nothing else anybody living in Berlin liked doing ever except eating currywrust and taking drugs.

Boy oh boy, how times have changed. Berlin is no longer poor but sexy – it’s now kind of expensive and a bit weird. Kind of posh, in an incomprehensible way. Everyone has hobbies now, have you noticed that? It’s not just currywurst for breakfast and ketamine for dinner anymore. People have hobbies, proper hobbies, that they take seriously and do regularly. I feel so left out of this hobby craze. When did Berliners decide to get hobbies? Where was I when this hobby memo got sent out?

And, without a doubt, the weirdest hobby of all time is owing houseplants – and not just any plants, but incredibly expensive exotic plants.

“What do you think of my exotic houseplant collection?” My friend Zandra asks me. I blink a bit, stare at her exotic houseplant collection – it’s hard to see where her exotic houseplant collection ends and the rest of her bedroom begins to be honest – and try to think of something to say.

“Did you rob Tropical Islands or something?” I ask.

I haven’t been over to Zandra’s for about a year or so – she’s a druggy friend, and I have a toddler and hence am in full-on Mum mode – and our paths just haven’t crossed for a while. But now, here I am, in her bedroom, which was always surprisingly elegant for someone whose main dating strategy is to become all sexy German boys’ unofficial drug dealer, and I might as well be in the greenhouse bit at Kew Gardens.

“Do you like this one?” She asks, pointing at a luscious spiky thing, which, you know, looks really really fucking nice. I’m not crazy into plants but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to like it. I bet even people like Donald Trump and Erdogan and Putin and people like that would feel a tiny bit of joy in their hearts when they look at this luscious spiky green thing. “Guess how much it cost?”

Oh, fuck. I wonder how much it cost. I do NOT have green thumbs, green fingers – I don’t even have a green vagina. The only plants I ever buy are those shitty pots of basil from Kaufland – and they’re always dead within the week. But even to my untrained eye, I can tell this was an expensive plant. It’s so deliciously green and not German-looking.

“Fifty euros?” I take a stab in the dark.

Zandra beams at me joyously.

“89 euros!” She announces grandly.

“Wow,” I say. “That’s a lot of money that you could’ve been spending on drugs or taxis.”

“It’s my new hobby,” she explains gravely. What’s happened to this city, I think to myself. What fucking happened.

Some sexy German boys come over to unofficially pick up drugs. Kai-Sebastian and Phillipp. You’re not meant to call women girls anymore, but I think we’re still allowed to call German boys “boys”. They’re something so unmanly about German males under 30, isn’t there? Something desperately boyish about their shoulders, glasses and haircuts.

“I love your exotic plant collection!” Kai-Sebastian gasps with delight. “Where did you get this beauty from?” He asks, fingering a plant with big red bell-shaped petals.

“Bauhaus,” says Zandra, glowing with pride.

A bit of disapproval creeps into Kai-Sebastian’s eyes.

“You just went to Bauhaus and bought yourself a tropical plant, just like that?”

“Yeah?” Zandra says, looking worried.

“Oh,” says Kai-Sebastian. “I never do that. What I do is, I get all my plants for free. I secretly take clippings from hotels or I steal them from bars and restaurants. It’s a matter of pride for me. I would never be so basic as to just go to Bauhaus and buy myself a big, expensive plant.” Kai-Sebastian pauses for a moment. Zandra looks crestfallen. “That’s the kind of thing my older brother, who works in IT, would do.”

AUWA! When I made my comment about robbing Tropical Islands, I thought I was being sarcastic – but Kai-Sebastian is living the dream. Zandra gets out a five euro bottle of Lidl wine for us to get chugging on. There’s probably about three thousand euros’ worth of luscious rainforest greenery in here, but we’re still drinking wine that tastes like paint stripper. I guess in some ways, Berlin will never get posh?