Off Glenferrie Road is Cool Cactus, a store specialising in (you guessed it) cacti and tropical plants. With its assortment of the prickly and the lusciously leafy, Cool Cactus makes you feel one step closer to the equator, minus the humidity. In addition to plants, owner Naomi Burd keeps the shop well stocked with gardening accessories, decorative objects and wall art.
Best selling plants: “The Philodendron Congo and philodendron cordatum [Heartleaf Philodendron] are flying out the door.”
Best lazy-person’s plant: “Any cactus! Customers have very few issues with cacti, they are so low-maintenance. The only issue is overwatering. We give our plants too much love sometimes.”
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Got a dog pawing through your beloved pansies, or worse, “watering” them? Consider putting your plants on a pedestal. Ivy Muse does a range of minimal, wire plant stands that’ll keep pots off the ground and stylishly de-clutter a space. Designers and owners Jacqui Vidal and Alana Langan have just opened an Ivy Muse store in Armadale – a “botanical emporium” showcasing their range of stands, pots and accessories on the store’s gold-plated shelves.
Plant pick for spring: “Krimson Queen (flores hoya carnosa) has beautiful leaves with crazy vines stretching out in all places. No two of them are alike. They’re amazing on a shelf or a plant stand,” Langan says.
Cool place to put a plant: “Next to the TV to get a pop of colour.”
Spring’s here, and Loose Leaf’s roller door is back up. The jungle-within-a-warehouse is still a local favourite for its seasonal flowers and plants from all over the world. Owners Charlie Lawler and Wona Bae happily spend their time matching plants to customers or creating bouquets and arrangements. The couple also has a book slated for release in October – a how-to guide on cut flowers, plant sculptures and installations.
Best plant for a bathroom: “Ferns are great in humidity. For a bathroom with low light, a Fishbone Fern is good, whereas a Macho Fern is better for medium-to-bright light,” Lawler says.
Why did my vine plant die? “The general mistake people make with vine plants, like monsteras, is overwatering. You have to think about what conditions the plant grows in in its natural environment – in this case, under the canopy in the Mexican jungle. Keep it in a medium-to-bright room, avoid having it in front of heaters or air conditions, and water it when the top layer of soil dries out a bit. In winter we water ours once every two weeks. In summer, it’s every one to two weeks. Look at the soil and the leaves to see what they’re doing. Let the plants talk to you rather than sticking to an exact time frame for watering.”
Nature Boy Nrth
You won’t find common nursery plants at Nature Boy Nrth. Owner Ruth Gregson loves hunting down the unusual. Some of her current favourites include the Tassle Fern, Green Rubber Plant and Satin Pothos, each one more strangely beautiful than the next. Along with indoor plants her shop stocks a selection of handmade pots, soy candles and books.
Best plants for an office desk: “Cast Iron plant, sansevieria [also called Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or Snake’s Tongue], Ponytail Palm and Heart Leaf Philodendron are suited to a work space with limited lighting.”
Office plant mistakes to avoid: “Try to have only one person doing the watering so you don’t under/over water it. Plants can easily be forgotten at work in the day’s rush.”
Mosey is the leafy green resident of Yarraville’s shopping strip. Owner Jan Margarson started Mosey as an online store in 2012 before opening the shop a year later. Mosey sells a variety of indoor plants, gardening accessories and greeting cards, though the standout is the range of miniature plants. Each one comes in a teensy handmade ceramic pot – great for gifts, or for your work desk.
Underrated plant-care tip: “There’s no such thing as an indoor plant. Take your plant outside every once in a while. Depending on the weather, leave it out for an hour, half a day, or a day. They love airflow and being out in the rain.”
Best selling plants: “monstera, philodendrons and the Spider Plant.”