That's how I feel when it comes to anything new, but plants are a whole other world. You can do so many things with live plants that you can't with plastic, plus they allow for natural food for some fish or invertebrates. I honestly think that the fauna aspect to any tank is just shocking, since it's like adding fish in or decorating the tank with gravel or rocks. Making sure that you plant the right plants in the correct area, mid ground, foreground, or background to give the tank that deep, rich, and lush look that will keep you and others staring at it all day and night.
My favorite part is when the plants started to grow into their own sections in the tank, taking over corners, rocks, hiding filters, heaters, and other equipment that can be annoying to see or look at. Even having power heads (depending on tank size) or a filter output pointed towards the plants can give it that wavy look where fish dart between the leaves, in them, or around them.
I 100% agree with you saying it's a hobby within a hobby, I mean the crowd for just plants and creating those perfect aquascapes IS HUGE!!! There are contents, competitions, and more regarding the whole plant world and turning a tank into a piece of art work by using plants, gravel, rocks, driftwood, and other items and making them into unique, miniature worlds for the fish to live and breed within.