click to enlarge The Heavy

Photo by Daniela Mikheal

The Heavy

Raising houseplants in Orlando isn’t always easy, but our little green friends are worth it 

Hi, I'm Jenny, and I kill houseplants.

Ferns, ficus, succulents and cacti have all sacrificed themselves and gone to their deaths to avoid my plant-motherhood. I actually gave up on an orchid one time and flung it into someone's side yard, only to see it over there gorgeous and blooming just a few months later. I've tried. I really have.

I've noticed that in the past year or so that something has happened to Orlando (and the rest of America) that has me wanting to try plant fostering again. My friends have all become plant parents, embracing greenery from the tiniest of air plants to the largest fiddle-leaf fig trees. They have dedicated themselves to keeping these small green beings alive.

Instagram can't be the only reason why everybody's suddenly becoming plant people. Maybe it's what you learn to take care of successfully before getting a pet or having a baby. Maybe it's that they provide oxygen, and wellness is big business right now.

Since 2016, plant sales have actually increased 50 percent, to $1.7 billion, according to the National Gardening Association. Fun fact: Most of the growers are here in Florida – because we can grow year round. Our greenhouses are packed and lovely while the rest of the country suffers through something called seasons.

My dream has always been to be a goat farmer, but before jumping onto that path maybe I should start with something smaller. I could start with a succulent for my windowsill. I could ... if I didn't kill houseplants.

My picks for the best places to find houseplants and ceramics in Orlando:

Porch Therapy is one of the best resources for not just houseplants or succulents or gardening, but landscaping too. If you're thinking backyard oasis, get with these people. You can also pick up home goods, containers and gardening accessories.

Palmer's Garden & Goods is a beloved Orlando plant palace. Super duper cool and you can host events here too. Drive by at night to see market lights and dreamy garden parties happening within its fence.

At Palmer Feed Store you can buy flats of peeps (baby chicks), a telephone pole, or vegetable plants and seeds. They can also tell you what types of pest control are safest to use around pets and best for your houseplants and gardens. It's Florida, y'all, nature is b-r-u-t-a-l here.

Florida Cactus Inc. is up in Apopka, which is a teeny bit of a drive from Orlando. Maybe 40 minutes-ish. But SO worth it. Their greenhouses have zero competition around here. The colors and selection will blow your mind.

Hello Happy Plants does online sales only, though she's based here in Orlando. She makes the funniest planters with messages that stick. Put on sunglasses and head to this website, unless you have no sense of humor.

Last but not least, Orlando Pottery Studio. You can actually learn to make and fire your own ceramics here in Orlando, and they also have sales a couple of times a year. Coolest of all, it's owned and operated by the city!

WHERE

Florida Cactus Inc. 2542 Peterson Road, Apopka, floridacactus.com

Hello Happy Plants hellohappyplants.com

Orlando Pottery Studio 363 N. Parramore Ave., orlando.gov

Palmer Feed Store 912 W. Church St., palmerfeedstore.com

Palmer's Garden & Goods 2611 Corrine Drive, palmersgarden.com

Porch Therapy East End Market, 3201 Corrine Drive, also The Heavy, 1152 Harmon Ave., Winter Park, porchtherapy.com



This story is from the Aug. 8, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly's Newcomers Guide 2019. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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