Looking for a quick way to bring pure joy into your home? Plants don't only spruce up a space at minimal cost, but they have been proven to bring happiness to those around them. So, if you want to start surrounding yourself with live greenery, we’ve got some tips on where to pick some up right near a subway station or bus stop. But first, let’s get some advice from an expert.
Christopher Griffin, also known as Plant Kween, has provided us with a list of top picks for your New York City apartment. Whether you've got sunbeams drenching the place, or you live in darkness, here are some good options for you straight from the Plant Kween:
"Succulents are used to arid and dry climate conditions, so sitting in water is just not her scene. Their thick and sap-filled leaves allow them to hold and retain water more effectively than plants with thin leaves, so they ain’t about the extra water. When I water these kweens, I soak their well-drained soil completely, and then I let the soil dry out completely before I water again. I’ve found that succulents sitting in wet soil for more than 2-3 days will only lead to thangs going down hill as these kweens prefer to be soaked then dry out quickly... well-drained and aerated soil is key, dahling."
“The Pothos Ivy is a tropical kween that is near and dear to my heart. These climbing vines enjoy bright ambient light, but can survive in lower light conditions as well. Watering this plant is pretty easy, once a week during warmer months and every two weeks during colder months.”
“The ZZ Plant is a popular indoor tropical kween was probably not known to anyone outside the continent of Africa before 1996. These hearty kweens' leaves are jam packed with chlorophyll which makes them very light and flexible, thriving in brighter light conditions but also tolerant of lower light conditions. ZZ plants grow from large, thick rhizomes that resemble potatoes. Rhizomes are subterranean plant stems that are often thickened by deposits of reserve food material. In short, these rhizomes store water, which is why this green gurl does well during droughts and in the houses of plant parents on the go, who occasionally forget to water."
“The Snake Plant has easily become one of my favorite green gurls! These extremely resilient, adaptable, and easy-to-care-for kweens can grow anywhere from 8 inches to 12 feet high in their natural habitat. While these kweens can be quite adaptable to a myriad of lighting situations, I find that they thrive in bright, ambient light with some direct sun. You do not have to water this plant often... every two weeks in the warmer months and every 3-4 weeks during the colder months. Snake plants also absorb excessive amounts of carbon monoxide, emit oxygen, and filter other toxins released into the air from common household products.”
Follow @PlantKween on Instagram, and buy their book You Grow, Gurl! for more advice and inspiration. Now, hop on a train or bus and get your own greenery — here are just some of the city's many fantastic offerings when it comes to plant-buying.
This garden center is worth the trip. Billed as NYC's largest wholesale-retail plant nursery, Brooklyn Plantology has everything you could possibly need, whether you have an outdoor garden or are just looking to fill your apartment with greenery. The family-owned business has been around for a long time, and there are experts on hand who can help guide you through their large selection.
Be sure to follow them on Instagram @BrooklynPlantology as they will sometimes announce big sales there.
Brooklyn Plantology is located at 26 S Market St in Canarsie, Brooklyn
The Sill is an online plant retailer with brick-and-mortar shops around the city — in Cobble Hill and Williamsburg, and the Upper West Side. Their staff is friendly and helpful, reflecting their motto: Plants make people happy. You’ll find plants in all size ranges here, and if you need help navigating, staff can help you identify which plants will work best in your apartment, given your own lighting scenarios.
In addition to plants, you’ll find some basic tools (watering cans, moisture meters, planters and soil), and the Sill even hosts workshops (often in collaboration with other local businesses) from time to time to help you take your plant hobby to the next level. These include make-your-own-planter classes, and more.
The Sill is located at 448 Amsterdam Ave on the UWS; 190 Berry St in Williamsburg; and 195 Pacific St in Cobble Hill
Expanding on their success as a plant subscription service, Horti now has a massive location in Williamsburg called Horti Play. Thoughtfully designed, and spacious enough that you explore the plants in uncrowded conditions, Horti Play has been a welcome addition to the city’s thriving plantscape.
Horti Play is located at 432 Rodney St in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Plantshed has a few locations around the city, with their first shop opening in 1981, and roots in the city’s plant life for decades for that. “Since the 1950s our family has been immersed in the floral and botanical community in New York,” the owners state on the shop’s website.
Their plants are healthy and gorgeous, and you can get them in nice planters, as well. You can even order them online and have them delivered if you have your eye on a heavy one.
Plantshed is located at 723 Amsterdam Ave; 555 Columbus Ave; 1 Prince St; and 193 2nd Ave in Manhattan
BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
Who better to trust with your plant needs than the Brooklyn Botanic Garden? Their gift shop and garden center features live plants, and there’s no shortage of expert advice around there to help you decide which to take home.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located at 900 Washington Ave, adjacent to Prospect Park in Brooklyn
CREST HARDWARE & URBAN GARDEN CENTER
Did you know that New York’s beloved Crest Hardware also has a 5,000-square-foot garden center? They claim to be Brooklyn's “most diverse Urban Garden Center,” with a large selection of plants, pottery to house your plants, soil, tools and all of the garden accessories you could need to bring the outdoors inside (or, if you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, to help your garden flourish). Be sure to check out their new garden photobooth, too.
Crest Hardware & Urban Garden Center is located at 558 Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
NY CITY SUCCULENTS
You'll find more than just succulents here, this family-owned shop is a gem, with a great selection of plants, experts on hand to help you choose the correct plants for you living space, and they even offer workshops if you want to take a deep dive into the plant life. For example, a recent workshop focused on how to arrange your houseplants.
NY City Succulents is located at 32-57 Steinway St in Astoria, Queens
Don’t sleep on IKEA’s plant section — you’ll find some good stuff there and you cannot beat their prices. Large plants that could cost over $100 at another plant shop, go for around $38 here. There are also plenty of small options, including succulents, and don’t forget to pick up some planters while you’re there.
IKEA is located at 1 Beard St in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Note: you'll need to take the B61 bus to get there.
YOUR LOCAL BODEGA
In recent years, particularly during the pandemic, bodegas began offering plants alongside their bouquets of flowers. And like those flowers, they are some of the most reasonably priced in NYC.
NYC FLOWER DISTRICT
Lastly, there’s the mecca: Manhattan’s Flower District. Don’t let the name fool you, in addition to flowers (and wonderful selections of dried flowers) you’ll find a lot of houseplants here, too. Just head to 28th Street between 6th and 7th avenues, and you’ll find the greenery overflowing onto the sidewalk (weather permitting!). Dip into any storefront (keep an eye out for Foliage Paradise and Fragrance Plants & Flowers) and take a look around, you’ll find plenty of inspiration and, very likely, the perfect plant to take home.
Bonus: this is only a few blocks from the 28th St station, so if you take the 6 train you’re in for a treat with Nancy Blum’s “Roaming Underfoot” floral mosaics.
The Flower District is located on 28th St between 6th and 7th avenues in Manhattan (note: go before noon, as many spots will close after that)
These plant shops are all close to subway and bus stops around the city
Do you have a favorite plant shop in NYC? Tag @MTAaway in your photos on Instagram.