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Where to Purchase Houseplants

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As houseplants continue to soar in popularity, there are more and more places to buy them, and yet certain specimens still seem ridiculously hard to get hold of.  So, I thought I would sit down and share my plant shopping experiences with you.

Grocery Stores

Most grocery store chains carry houseplants in their floral departments. Inventory will be all over the board, so check out all the grocery stores in your area. Every time I go to the grocery store, I can’t resist visiting the houseplant section. Bless Bob’s heart… he usually says to me, “You better go check out the plants while I get some potatoes.” hehe He’s a plant-daddy and doesn’t even realize it. It’s a good idea to find out when the floral department gets their new plant shipments; that way, you can have a chance to get first pick.

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Plant Nurseries

If you are lucky enough to have a plant nursery in your area, check to see if they carry houseplants. Not all do; many of them focus on outdoor plants/trees/gardening. Plant nurseries who typically concentrate on houseplants have the perfect environment for the plants they carry; light, scheduled watering, and humidity. When you remove a plant from the “perfect environment,” they can show signs of transitioning stress when you first bring them home.  A plant will always require time to adjust to its new living quarters, so be patient and don’t freak out. (been there, done that)

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Hardware Stores

Checking out the indoor plant section can be a great “babysitter” for you while your spouse shops for plumbing supplies. Unless you are into plumbing supplies too, then you may have to divide your time. So far, due to living in a small town, I have to drive anywhere between 30-60 minutes to reach a Home Depot or Lowe’s Hardware Store. Home Depot is a hit and miss, which typically results in many misses. Lowe’s, on the other hand, tends to have a larger selection and healthier plants, this may differ in your region, just sharing my experience.

I find a lot of suffering plants in these stores. They usually don’t have set employees that work that department all day. Plant pests are something you MUST watch out for! Don’t be tempted to bring home suffering plants, unless you want the challenge. If you take on this challenge, be sure to ask for a discount and don’t leave with the plant unless they give you one.

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IKEA

Whaaa? Ikea? Yep. You heard me correctly. We have an Ikea in Portland, Oregon, and I love to shop in their plant section whenever we are in the area. I had no idea that they sold plants, real plants (!) until we remodeled my Studio Kitchen with Ikea kitchen cabinets. You can read more about that (here).

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Local Plant Swaps

I never knew that such a thing existed, but I am not surprised… there are meetups for everything these days. Click (here) to see if such a thing exists in your neighborhood. It’s a new nonprofit project that’s free for everyone.  They have map-based listings that make it easy to find local swaps and connect with other nearby enthusiasts.

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Facebook Virtual Garage Sales / Craigslist

I have purchased a handful of plants through this venue. I have had good and not-so-good experiences. I bought a massive snake plant from a woman who lived one and a half hours away.  The plant was huge and beautiful. I couldn’t believe that she wanted to part with it. When I asked her why she was selling it, she broke down in tears. I felt so bad. She assured me she was ok. She proceeded to share that her husband had recently passed away, and she had to sell stuff to make ends meet.

I reached out and just hugged her. She held me tight as she cried. It was an emotional release for her, and she left feeling lighter as if a weight had lifted. She then shared that she had worked as a nanny, and a little boy that she cared for gave her the snake plant as a gift. Back then plant was tiny, single-bladed. She grew the plant for over ten years, nurturing it to the massive plant that is it today.

With a few other sales, I came home with plants that were just “ok.” Had I seen them in the store, I would have passed. BUT when I buy things from groups like this, after making scheduled meeting arrangements, the time it takes for both parties to drive to meet up, the gas money, etc. I have a hard time declining an item. It’s just who I am, and this is something I have to work on personally.

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Boutique or Flower Shops

You’re much more likely to find a houseplant boutique in large urban areas. Still, you just never know – occasionally, you’ll come across a florist in a small town that offers a stunning houseplant selection. We have a wonderful flower shop called Tammy’s. I love everyone who works there. They are welcoming, excited to see me (not only because I buy a lot of plants from them, haha), but they also don’t hide, afraid of questions. They are knowledgeable about what they sell.

In fact, Bob loves to go in there to buy me a just-because-plant. They get a kick out of him. And since they are small enough to know me, they know what to send home with Bob.

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Mail Order Companies

I have yet to purchase a plant on-line. I want to, just like I would love to be able to buy clothes online. But with both, I like to touch, inspect, and “try on.” I want to see the environment in which they came from.

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Well, I think I armed you with some useful information. I hope you found it helpful. Please leave a comment below. Blessings, amie sue

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