For many proud plant owners, house plants are not just decorative, but raising them is a serious hobby. With plant ownership on the rise, plant stores are stepping up their game, selling not just bizarre and exotic species, but offering workshops and advice on how to care for these living creatures. If you find yourself in one of these cities be sure to check out these cool independent plant stores that are changing the ways we view and interact with plants.
1. The Plant Corner, Antwerp
Located fittingly in Antwerp’s Groen Kwartier, or Green Quarter, the Plant Corner entices with floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal giant-sized tropical plants, cacti arranged artfully against blue walls and money plants dangling from pots on ceiling beams. Owner Sofie Vertongen acquired her love of plants from her grandfather who worked at Meise Botanic Garden and started with an online plant shop, Phyt, before opening this brick and mortar store. The Plant Corner also sells ceramic planters with silly faces and hosts DIY terrarium-making and plant illustration workshops.
Succulents and air plants of varying sizes sit on marble-top trays and wooden benches in front of this lovely Copenhagen establishment. Inside is a manicured jungle of palms and other house plants, including little greens in colourful jars and glass containers. There are no cut flowers here – all the plants sold at Plant København are potted as it is their philosophy that roots should be left intact. They provide services such as advice on how to decorate homes and offices with plants as well.
3. Wildernis – Amsterdam
This little shop on the Bilderdijkstraat opened by a journalist and an interior designer is as whimsy as its name sounds. Cute doodles of plants, bugs and vegetables on window panels suggest that Wildneris isn’t a typical tulip shop. Instead, it’s a wonderful world of creeping ferns and miniature-looking trees. Here, you can also learn how to make macramé plant hangers and paint watercolour pictures of plants.
4. Pistils Nursery – Portland, Oregon
This is one urban nursey on the historic-turned-hipster Mississippi Avenue that’s doing its part in keeping Portland weird. Founder Megan Twilegar worked on a farmstead after college, which inspired her to open Pistils. Inside the brick-floor, wood-panelled nursery, big windows allow ample sunlight to reach the nursery’s moss balls, staghorn ferns and desert cacti, many in odd shapes and sizes. Twilegar has a landscape company and an Etsy store selling plants in addition to Pistils.
5. The Garden – Dublin
The hall of Powerscourt Townhouse Centre might seem an odd place for a plant store, but the owner, independent landscape designer Mark Grehan, makes it work. Colourful potted flowers on the townhouse’s granite steps draw eyes up to the shopfront, where inside, it’s a florist’s dream. There are rows of neatly-arranged sunflowers, roses and lavender, some in bouquets, others in pots, and during Christmas, winter wreaths abound.
6. Cotoha – Kyoto
This tiny Kyoto haunt just a 10-minute walk from Nijo Castle is part plant shop, part coffee shop and 100 percent charming. Downstairs is Clamp Coffee Sarasa, a café that serves a good brew in a refurbished bathhouse covered in creeping vines. Upstairs, Cotoha has an unusual-looking collection such as moss beds and dried grasses, all interspersed with an equally wondrous collection of antique furniture for sale.
7. Espai Joliu – Barcelona
Like many businesses in Barcelona’s El Poblenou neighbourhood, Espai Joliu is housed in a refurbished warehouse that retains its exposed brick walls and where earthy interiors give the feeling of being inside a clay pot. There’s a groovy cactus collection and some well-kept mother-in-law’s tongue. A little café inside the plant store serves go-to hipster food: avocado toast and gluten-free cake. Patrons can browse back issues of Kinfolk or Drift while eating said food.
8. Cactus Store – LA
Carlos Morera and his uncle Johnny Morera didn’t give their plant shop a name when they opened on Echo Park Avenue, rather, people started calling it the “Cactus Store” and it stuck. The Cactus Store is a treasure trove of rare and bizarre cacti displayed on cinder blocks. The cacti came from farms by the Mexican border while some are rescued from desert gardens that would have otherwise become suburban lawns.
9. Les Fleurs – Paris
Les Fleurs is the pretty Parisian flower shop that little girls dream of, one filled with little wooden birdcages, gold-plated wreaths and diminutive silverware – and of course, a delightful selection of dried and fresh flowers, many of the pastel-coloured variety. Owner Lucie Deniset, a former biologist sources artisan candles, vintage posters, jewellery and other trinkets from flea markets which she sells at Les Fleurs.
10. Grace and Thorn – London
The East London district of Hackney is known for its kooky street art, but there are other wonderfully weird things to explore here, for instance, this marvellous florist. Grace and Thorn has an amazing collection of fiddle-leaf figs and gorgeous blooms in pickle jars and it all started when owner Nik Southern fell in love with the fiddle-leaf fig tree that grew inside her grandparents’ house. Grace and Thorn has DIY workshops on floral crowns and wreaths, too.