Once upon a time selecting plants for the home meant heading out to a sprawling nursery often on the outskirts of town to wander the rows. No more. Plant-ownership - particularly indoor plants - has now become so ubiquitous you can often find the likes of inner-city bookshops, record stores and fruit markets peddling plants on the side.
But any plant owner will know two things: it pays to get the right advice. And be prepared with transportation. Whether you’re in the market for a stately fiddle leaf fig or a thorny euphorbia, space – and seatbelts – are optimal for safe passage.
Here’s a guide to some of the best inner-city plant stores around the country worthy of offering additions to your budding urban jungle.
Garden Life, Sydney
This garden go-to in St Peters is a favoured destination for landscape architects – in fact, Garden Life offers that service too. It means you can solicit advice from the team about the best options for creating your dream garden, whether it’s a backyard or windowsill.
Indoors here, you’ll find dainty begonias for your desktop and tall ficus elastica (rubber plants) for bare lounge room corners. The sprawling courtyard is dotted with towering cacti, tiny succulents and angular agave that like plenty of sun if you have a rooftop that needs greening. There’s on-site parking too.
You can barely glimpse the brick walls and concrete floors of Botanicah’s 350-square-metre warehouse in Prahran. Figs and ferns cascade from the rafters, and climbers create a melange of lush textures blanketing the space.
From air plants and variegated calatheas to Japanese maples and impressive fan palms, most of the plants here will successfully grow indoors or on balconies. Pot’s here range from terracotta and marble to former tree stumps, keeping your plants sturdy and handsome. What’s more - when your new foliage friends are safely tucked into the trunk, zip over to nearby The Alps and pick up a bottle of fizz to toast your new plant family when you get home.
Mappins Nursery & Aquarium, Brisbane
Mappins in West End is something of a Brisbane institution. The plant-curious are welcomed to the Montague Road shop’s courtyard by an eclectic range of cacti and the sound of gurgling ponds. Inside it’s a jungle, lush with tall philodendrons, tumbling peperomias, carnivorous fly-catchers and humid terrariums. Owner Darryl Mappin earned his stripes as a “water gardener”, and fish and water plants are a specialty here. Once you’ve whittled down your aspirational wish list to a boot-full of specimens, head a few blocks down Montague Road to reward yourself with gelato from La Macelleria.
This former diesel warehouse in Freo is home to nine small businesses, including a co-working space, skincare brand, pottery studio and plant store. Pick up a pendulous devil’s ivy or spider plant if you’re eager to experiment with propagation. Or opt for a hardy dracaena (dragon tree) to add a pop of colour while purifying the air. The Stackwood team even offers a potting service.
The shop is also well-equipped with pots and planters by Australian makers like Pop & Scott, Mr Kitly, and Angus & Celeste. From large concrete staples to small handmade ceramics and a rattan pot stand or two, there’s plenty here to make your mood-boosting leafage sing.
Foliage Plant Studio, Adelaide
A 20 minute drive west of the Adelaide CBD, Foliage Plant Studio in Findon is full to the brim with greenery of all shapes, sizes and textural persuasions. The team here has a meticulous eye for sourcing specimens that bring that big plant energy to a space – massive strelitzias, towering fiddle leaf figs, and flourishing philodendrons spill out of every corner.
Load up your cargo with these giants, then plug the gaps with a delicate chain of hearts or oxalis. Pots are plentiful here too – you might need to occupy the back seat, as well as the boot, to haul everything home.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the MINI Countryman. With a roomy interior and 450 litre do-everything sized boot, it’s designed to do everything a city dweller needs and more.