Indoor gardening is a godsend for city dwellers. Tending plants brings the outdoors into small apartments to help reduce stress, improve air quality in your home, beautify any space and even produce edible rewards. If you're looking to fill your home with greenery, we've compiled a list of the best places to buy plants in NYC:
The Flower District - A few blocks of small stores along 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue offering not just flowers but also tons of lush plants. One shopkeeper informed me they get a lot of inventory early in the week so a Monday or Tuesday visit'll give you the most choices.
Chinatown's Mini Green Row - There are a handful of shops along Grand Street between Allen and Forsyth to satisfy your green thumb. This is where I found my first Pilea Peperomioides after a long search. If you're looking for something specific, bring a picture and ask. I've found the shopkeepers are keen on helping you out
The Sill - Great for newbie plant hoarders. The stores (one's in the LES, the other UWS) are cute and staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Plus, there are informative workshops.
Ikea - Ikea is worth a visit just for the plants. The plants are generally near the end of the store (adjacent to the stock area/cashiers). I found a very pretty Calathea Ornata on an early Saturday afternoon last year. It was the last one on the tray and seeing it there waiting for me felt a bit like winning the lottery. If you're going to the Brooklyn location from downtown Manhattan, the ferry is free on weekends. On weekdays, the ferry costs $5 but Ikea will credit you this fee back when you present your ferry ticket with your purchases at checkout.
Trader Joe's - Walking into their plant selection is a crap shoot but when they have fresh inventory, there's always something healthy, lush and affordable. I got my paddle leaf succulent and a variegated umbrella plant at the Upper West Side location. During the warmer months, this is my top pick for orchids.
Indoor Outdoor Gardener - This store is off the beaten path in Bay Ridge but the owner is seriously knowledgeable and committed to helping your plants thrive. On one visit, a guy walked in with cuttings from his sick plant. She inspected it and gave him advice to nurse the plant back to health. Lots of rare and interesting plants here as well.
Honorable mention for plant shopping goes to PlantShed in the UWS and the Union Square Greenmarket, which is also a great place to find potting soil and compost. Actually, most local greenmarkets in the city have a designated area to drop off food scraps and purchase compost. Top places to snag pots include Marshall's/Home Goods, Urban Outfitters and my personal favorite, Etsy where you can find beautiful, one-of-a-kind pots and planters that are handmade.
Did we miss your favorite plant source here in the city? We'd love to know (and of course, stop in!)