Shopping Small: Plants

Nothing gets me fired up like a good deal. If you’ve read any of my past posts, you might know that I am “that friend”. Some may call me the bargainer, some may call me a goodwill-genius, and I’m sure that some would call me a crazy person as they watch me sprint from the front door to the back of any boutique here in Washington state with tunnel vision on the clearance rack. I even have been guilty of scavenging the floor of plant shops for fallen succulent leaves that I would stash in my pocket and propagate later at home for free.

These tendencies seem to clash with my adoration of plants and getting my hands dirty because let me tell you, this is an expensive hobby for outdoor produce growers and indoor aesthetic connoisseurs alike. 

When I first got into indoor gardening, I was lured by the inexpensive prices at big box stores like Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot and brought issues and pests into my home that I am reminded by every time I visit the grave of old pots and dead plants on my back porch. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite plants have come from those stores and are very healthy today, but I have spent a lot of time and money learning that sometimes it’s better to invest in plants at a local nursery, online small business, or farmers market. 

I thought I would share a couple reasons why I like buying this way over supporting massive suppliers at corporate retailers…

Plant History
When you buy locally, you know that your plant is pest free and most likely has been grown with quality soil and fertilizer. Very often, plants that are sold in the nursery area of big box stores have been overwatered by staff members who simply are not aware of the specific necessities of each plant species. I find that a lot of larger plants are also sold in this mushy, spongy soil and even after repotting, immediately after purchasing, the plant would not survive. From my experience, smaller businesses care more about each plant, not to mention the “love factor” of knowing that your plant was personally cared for by someone who knew it’s needs from the beginning.

Supporting Small Businesses
Small businesses that sell plants could be a local nursery, a market, a website or Etsy shop, or even a social media page. I love to buy this way because I actually get to talk with the amazing people behind these businesses and learn their story. I get to shake the hands of the plant owner before me. It is also incredibly beautiful to watch how your dollar can elevate these owners dreams and touch the lives of others.

There is also something very special about the care that goes into packaging and shipping plants, because we all know how traumatic that can be. 

I recently ordered a batch of new succulents from Christa from the Etsy page Succ It Up Succulents. She showed me this exact care that made the simple unboxing feel like Christmas. She had individually wrapped each plant in not only plastic wrap to keep it contained and looking beautiful, but also in colorful wrapping paper and bubble-wrap to keep the plants safe and secure during shipping. Christa even sent me a note about how to take care of succulents and her contact information if I needed to reach out.

IMG_8329.jpegThis human element changes the entire experience of buying a plant in addition to getting a plant that you confidently know is healthy and has been in good hands. Support small businesses. Vote with your dollar. Watch it make a difference. And with that, I click off to Etsy. 

Madison Ford

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