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We have all had different coping mechanisms since the pandemic began. Stuck inside, many of us realized how lifeless our living spaces were. Some of us opted to adopt a living, breathing, loveable dog (see Sean Adams’ article on the top quarantine pooches), but for many who were not ready to take that plunge – we chose another way to bring life inside. Yes, I’m talking about houseplants. Houseplants became a newfound passion for many during their days in quarantine, and existing plant parents only seemed to expand their brood. Time seemingly has ground to a halt for the past year, and new leaves on my plants remain one of the only ways I am convinced that any time has passed at all. To a pedestrian, keeping a plant alive may seem like child’s play. However as many of us new plant enthusiasts have learned, it is anything but. Many plants are sensitive, needy, and dare I say dramatic (looking at you, polka-dot plant!). As always when in doubt about really anything at all, troubled Americans turned to Google for help in their plant-parenting journey. THE MOST POPULAR INDOOR PLANT DURING THE PANDEMIC: BATTLE OF THE PLANTS We pulled historical data for the most searched houseplant keywords to see if the supposed quarantine plant craze is real (it is), and after that we set out to determine the ultimate pandemic plant. What was the most popular indoor plant during quarantine? Read on, reader. N.B. We have done our best to account for data related to Seth Rogan’s new business “Houseplant” First, to prove I am completely normal for acquiring over thirty plants since last March, we looked at thousands of the most searched queries for the past several years that contained the phrase “houseplant” or “house plant” (yes, it makes a difference to Google). You can see plants were enjoying some popularity in 2019, but their moment in the sun truly arrived right as quarantine began. They saw some drop off over the winter, but are on the rise again this spring. This may be because plants don’t do as great in the winter, or because this winter was particularly depressing and we could all barely take care of ourselves, let alone our plants. All in all, house plant queries increased 97% between February and May 2020, when they began to total over half a million searches per month. So, lots of folks decided that watching plants grow was more entertaining than anything else they were doing. Any millennial could have told you that. We wanted more; we wanted to know the absolute hottest quarantine plant. We wanted to know, if put to the test, who would prevail in a(n epic) battle of the plants? MOST POPULAR HOUSE PLANTS To start our investigation, we first gathered a list of common houseplants and plugged them into our search listening tools to find out the most searched plant types. We didn’t stop there, because we wanted to know not only the most Googled house plants in general, but the one that saw the biggest spike in popularity during quarantine. Of our list of 60+ common plants, the only one that did not see an increase in search interest between March and May of 2020 was aloe vera (go figure). The most searched overall during May of 2020 -- the height of the plant craze -- was lily of the valley, followed by orchid and snake plant. HIGHEST QUARANTINE SEARCH INTEREST When we looked at which plant had the most dramatic change of search volume from the pandemic, certain plants stood out. Although searches for lily of the valley skyrocketed during quarantine (+307% from March to May!), other plants made it out better with sustained interest post-spike. Notably, snake plants (+124%) and philodendrons (+124%) have held onto their newfound popularity quite well. Begonias (+233%) and hostas (+307%) and the lily of the valley both enjoyed lots of spring interest, but searches fell off in the winter. Today, they are rising once again to easily beat 2019 numbers. Why are people searching for these particular plants? We took a deeper dive to see what questions people ask Google about their photosynthesizing friends. ARE LILY OF THE VALLEY POISONOUS? You may be asking yourself: How cool even is lily of the valley? In short, it’s cute, smells good and will bloom in the off season if you keep it inside. Sounds good on the surface level, but we found there may be a dark side to this sweet lil’ plant. https://s7d1.scene7.com/is/image/terrain/53318663_000_a?$zoom2$ It turns out the most searched question related to Lily of the Valley did not have to do with their soil preferences or water schedule. Instead, searchers wanted to know: Are lily of the valley poisonous? (yikes!) Well, are they? Yes! Lilies of the valley are very poisonous to humans, dogs and cats. Do not, we repeat, do not chop up some lily of the valley for your next summer salad. If you don’t have kids, pets or you are just trying to go full Breaking Bad, Lily of the Valley might be the perfect fit for you. If your life is otherwise fulfilling and you don’t want to casually keep poison in your home, maybe consider another plant. HOW OFTEN TO WATER SNAKE PLANT? Ah yes, the forgiving snake plant, also known as “mother in law’s tongue” (rude!), is a favorite among those who struggle to keep a pet rock happy. First-time snake plant owners want to get down to basics, (probably hoping to keep a plant alive, for once) so their most popular question was how often to water a snake plant? Snake plants like dryness and do not need much water at all. In fact, it’s more likely you will overwater your snake plant than the chances it will perish of thirst. Adjust accordingly, but a snake plant really only needs to be watered once every two weeks. Make sure you give it a good drink! https://www.thespruce.com/thmb/3ZzeafMMYBupme3O5dodMz3uoxI=/2048x1545/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/snake-plant-care-overview-1902772-04-3f69d04885af4613bf2eda197704fe20.jpg HOW TO GROW BEGONIAS? Begonias are hideous (I said it) yet still somehow achieved huge popularity during the initial months of quarantine. Yes, they have beautiful flowers. Yes, they come in a huge variety of size and shape. However, if you aren’t ready to wait for it to bloom (could be years if you are a mediocre plant parent), you’re gonna get real sick of looking at those misshapen crinkly hunks of leaves. Trust me. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91awtOV4jTL._AC_SL1500_.jpg They happen to look pretty cool in this picture. Popular questions searched about begonias are quite innocuous compared to the deathly lily of the valley. In fact, one of the most popular questions was simply how to grow begonias? To which I would say, the only thing you have to remember is to not water it too much. Or too little. Also, it needs a good amount of sun, but also do not put it in a window with too much light. Oh, also, I’m sure you’ll do great at the whole plant thing, but don’t forget to fertilize it. But be very careful to not over fertilize! Prune it in the summer, but not too early. See? Plant parenthood is a piece of cake. HOW TO PROPAGATE PHILODENDRON? Philodendrons are the standbys of the plant world. Picture any plant right now, and there’s a good chance it's some variety of philodendron. Some of them have vines, some grow straight up and collectively they are all the craze. There are so many varieties, all seemingly unrelated to the next. There are the ultra-trendy monsteras, with their huge swiss-cheese leaves. Then there’s its cousin, the silver philodendron, that has shiny metallic patches on its leaves that cascade down vines. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0150/6262/products/the-sill_silver-satin_variant_small_grant_terracotta.jpg?v=1621860945 https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/cheese-plant.jpg Seriously, how are these plants related?! Philodendrons are living in their golden age; everyone wants a piece. So it’s no wonder one of the most popular questions was how to propagate philodendron? To propagate a philodendron, the primary thing you need is courage, especially if it’s your first time (listen, I know it is scary chopping up your babies). With clean scissors or a knife, you’re going to need to lop off a leaf node from somewhere on your plant. Anywhere a leaf grows out of is the magic spot that needs to come with your new plant cutting so it will grow new roots and can be healthy by the time you gift it as a thoughtful housewarming present to your friend. Once you’ve secured a chunk of plant that includes a node, it will have to be placed in soil or water until it grows those oh-so-important root systems. Usually after a few weeks your plant cutting will grow roots and can be replanted! SO WHO WON THE BATTLE OF THE PLANTS? We officially decree a tie between lily of the valley and snake plants as the ultimate champions of quarantine plant battle. Although lily of the valley had stronger overall interest during the height of the plant craze, the snake plant has managed to hold on tight to its increased popularity and benefitted the most from our collective suffering. Essentially, the winners are “poison” and “an outdated joke about mothers in law.” Congratulations! Now, only one question remains: will these two plants reign supreme in 2021? We’ll have to wait and see. A BIT ABOUT AMP SEO Every day, there are 3.5 billion Google searches about everything under the sun (including plants). Google is everyones’ most trusted adviser, strategist, and confidant. To know what people search for is to know their true concerns. After all, why would you lie to Google? And if enough people search for the same thing, our search listening tools can pick it up, and we can analyze the inner workings of American minds. By utilizing our Search Intelligence services, AMP can help you unlock a trove of valuable market intelligence data sourced directly from the Google queries of your customers. If you have an interest in analyzing search data to drive brand & business decisions or in monitoring search data on an ongoing basis for up-to-date audience insights, you may want to learn more about our SEO agency services.
The Most Loved Zodiac Sign, Search Intelligence, and Why I’m Glad I’m not a Gemini Self-understanding has become more important than ever. In a tumultuous world we search for meaning anywhere we can scrounge it up, trying to make sense of why we are the way we are. That’s why it’s no surprise that nearly ⅓ of Americans said they believed in astrology in a 2017 Pew Research survey, and why it’s recently enjoyed a surge of popularity especially among younger generations. We can only imagine the number would be higher if it included the amount of semi-believers and recent quarantine hobbyists. Almost all of us know our zodiac sign and the traits we supposedly have, and a solid chunk of us take it seriously. And for the true believers, the new believers, and those in denial, the best place to search for meaning is the same: Google. To honor Valentine’s day, we ran an analysis on hundreds of thousands of zodiac-related keywords using our search intelligence tools to find the most loved Zodiac sign. No matter what you say, we know you want to know. Using data from 2020, we found the most and least searched for pairs of zodiac signs in Google, totalling almost 19 million searches overall. We also looked into the search behind each sign to see what other data we could reveal. Using zodiac population estimates we looked out for differences in the data and the uneven distribution of birthdays throughout the year (turns out there aren’t that many Aquariuses!) Disclaimer: Results for Cancer should be taken with a grain of salt. We did our best to dig into the intention behind the search results we analyzed to remove any data related to the disease cancer, but we erred on the side of overstripping the data. Don’t be sad if you see Cancers aren’t getting the love they deserve. Results With our treasure trove of data we answered your most burning zodiac love questions: Who is the most popular zodiac sign? Who is the most popular zodiac couple? Who is the most loved sign on Valentine’s day? Who do people want to attract the most? And how do they want to do it? (Spoiler alert: it isn’t very romantic) Here’s what we found. Most Popular Zodiac Sign Leo (July 23 - Aug 22) Leos, known for being outgoing and confident, seem to be the most popular by far to be paired with another zodiac sign in search. This is made even more impressive by the fact that Leo is the 2nd rarest sign in the United States (behind Aquarius). Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 22) Extroverted, funny Sagittarius received the next highest amount of searches, despite being the 3rd least likely sign to be born under. Scorpio (Oct 24 - Nov 22) In third place is passionate and intuitive Scorpio, the most common zodiac sign amongst Americans. Most Popular Zodiac Couple Top 10 Searched For Zodiac Pairs Rank Pair Average Monthly Search Volume 1 Leo + Sagittarius 251,470 2 Gemini + Leo 236,990 3 Leo + Scorpio 225,160 4 Leo + Virgo 201,460 5 Scorpio + Sagittarius 187,500 6 Leo + Pisces 185,530 7 Gemini + Sagittarius 178,530 8 Libra + Sagittarius 173,150 9 Scorpio + Pisces 170,270 10 Taurus + Scorpio 170,130 Bottom 10 Searched For Zodiac Pairs Rank Pair Average Monthly Search Volume 57 Taurus + Cancer 114,710 58 Gemini + Capricorn 113,560 59 Capricorn + Aquarius 113,390 60 Cancer + Libra 112,710 61 Taurus + Capricorn 112,640 62 Taurus + Aquarius 110,140 63 Libra + Capricorn 109,120 64 Capricorn + Pisces 104,720 65 Cancer + Aquarius 101,910 66 Cancer + Pisces 93,010 The highest searched pair was Leo + Sagittarius, which has an impressive 88% on an official looking zodiac compatibility calculator I found online. They’re both flirty and fun signs that apparently hit it off well according to experts and evidence. The next most searched pair was Leo + Gemini (89% compatibility!), both upbeat and adventurous, followed by Leo + Scorpio (49%... yikes), who are a bit more balanced in their demeanor, Scorpios tending to avoid attention unlike life of the party Leos. There is expert speculation that it might be a tough match, but it seems the public is determined to make it work anyway. Leo + Virgo (57%, better) also seem to have a lot of differences to overcome, practical Virgo may not tolerate the free-wheeling behavior that seems to be Leo’s strong suit. The heart apparently cares not, when Leos are involved. Scorpio + Sagittarius were 5th most searched and the highest searched pair without a Leo. With a 49% compatibility rate, I’m beginning to wonder how accurate my mid-2000s love calculator source is. The least searched for pair was Cancer + Pisces but heed our warning that Cancer data might be misleading because Google has a hard time differentiating it from other cancer searches. Plus, the love calculator says they had 92% compatibility, so you know they belong together. Capricorn appears most in the bottom 10 list, despite both down to earth couples Capricorn + Taurus and Capricorn + Pisces having over 98% compatibility. Serious, disciplined Capricorns might be too busy to Google themselves. Most Loved Zodiac Signs “Love” The most likely pair to have “love” in a search was Cancer + Scorpio, both emotional and gentle signs who are understanding and committed (so sappy, I guess they deserve it). After that is Scorpio + Pisces, also sensitive and faithful types. Shocking exes across the nation, it appears being both devoted and considerate is the best recipe for love. Aries + Taurus are the next most likely to be searched with “love” although they are a far cry from the softies above. Action-oriented Aries can be at odds with stubborn Taurus, who like to take their sweet time mulling things over. Overall, Scorpio got the most love, although Leo was close behind (classic). (To see the biggest haters of the zodiac community, check out Sean’s article on What Do Caps Hate.) “Valentine” In February 2020, Gemini was overwhelmingly the most searched sign with “valentine” perhaps because they are thought to have two distinct sides, there is something for everyone? As astrology continues its relentless march towards becoming our dominant national religion, it follows that searches for zodiac signs + “valentine” increased over 300% from 2019 to 2020. Throughout the entire year, Virgo was most likely to be searched with “valentine” anywhere in the keyword, likely because they are very chill compared to two-face Gemini and showboat Leo (totally kidding). In a fall from grace, Leo -- perhaps pigeonholed into the status of fun summer fling -- was the least searched in February 2020 with “valentine” in the phrase. “Crush” Affectionate Pisces were the most searched with “crush.” Known to be wise and empathetic, it makes sense Pisces are more crush-worthy than harsher types. Scorpio and Leo follow in “crush” searches (it feels like they are rubbing it in our faces at this point). Most Attractive Zodiac Sign (Sorry the search world is so fraught for you, sweet loving Cancer.) Over 340,000 searches were made in 2020 about how to attract certain zodiac signs. Known by now to be highly desired, “how to attract a Leo man” and “how to attract a Scorpio man” were the most searched for phrases. Favorite Scorpio came out on top overall, followed by Aries, Taurus, and Libra. Many of the searches included a gender, and we found huge discrepancies in the amount of searches for how to attract men vs women. Leo was 7th in overall attraction searches including those with no gendered terms, yet Leo men were the 2nd most sought after, while Leo women were 11th ahead only of Cancer. There were 41% more searches for how to attract men than how to attract women, and Scorpio was #1 for both. Taurus, Aries, and Libra surpass expectations based on their share of the population, while Gemini seems to be left out in the cold. Zodiac With The Most Pick-Up Lines Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your taste, it seems that some Gemini lovers have actually skipped over long-term attraction strategies in search of instant gratification. All is fair in love and war, which is why I am trying not to judge the fact that people are searching for pick-up lines related to zodiac signs. Of course, I couldn’t help but search the result of my sign. (Taurus, if you insist.) And unless you are one of the nearly 7,000 Americans who searched for a zodiac pick-up line in 2020, you may be surprised to learn I didn’t find a single bull/horns pun. Instead, content appears to be geared toward subtly (or not) wooing signs based on their supposed personality traits. They range from somewhat cute to very alarming, YMMV. Although not every sign even receives searches each month related to pick-up lines, Gemini has twice as many searches as any other sign. Inquirers are encouraged to draw unsuspecting Geminis into a fun conversation, breaking the ice with classics such as “What would you like for breakfast tomorrow morning?” I’m just saying, I’m glad I’m not a Gemini. Most signs had a fairly even distribution throughout the year of pick-up related searches, but a few seasonal outliers were much more popular during certain times of the year. Pick-up artists looked to ensnare cozy Pisces, born in February/March, much more often in September and December than the rest of the year. Taurus born in April/May was most popular in November, and Libra born in September/October was most popular in January. May/June baby Gemini was especially targeted in the spring, while falling out of favor in the fall. Scorpio was most popular in the winter, but not in the summer, and is born in October/November. Love is indeed a fickle thing. - - - Some signs seem to have a flair for drama, ups and downs, and limited spikes of interest, while others remain universally loved at consistent rates. Being a Leo or Gemini sounds like hard work in my humble opinion, hopefully as exhibitionists they enjoy themselves. We’ll leave you with this: You don’t have to believe in astrology to find it fun, and you don’t have to be a Leo to have a shot at love. Just know that no matter what your sign, someone is searching for you. 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