It’s no secret Minnesotans relish our outdoor growing season—and we equally enjoy bringing some of that green stuff into our homes. But what if it isn’t “easy being green” and we’re all thumbs versus having just two of the green variety? We’re fortunate to have options, from large-scale specialty retailers to long-standing independents as well as some under-the-radar neighborhood über-indie players that have recently caught our eye.
Take, for example, PlantyQueens in Northeast Minneapolis (2807 NE Johnson St.), Lost in the Forrest in St. Louis Park (1639 West End Blvd.), and shop-on-wheels The Window Box—each specializing in curated assortments of primarily houseplants to help breathe life into your home and workspaces.
Margaret Stokman’s The Window Box thrives in the prime outdoor season via a super-cute mobile retail concept that pops up at local markets and retail areas with a rotating selection of plants and pots. But a growing aspect of her business is the at-home service and consultation side. “I find people gravitate toward my services to refresh their spaces when the temps start to drop,” says Stokman, who grew up tending gardens with her mother, a longtime plant lover. “Even if it’s gray outside, there can still be growth happening in our spaces.”
Stokman’s in-house services help people discover options that are realistic for their lifestyles and fit their personal interior style. “I’m passionate about helping people really understand plants, too,” says Stokman. “So many people buy plants that don’t fit their spaces—not everyone has south-facing windows for a cactus or knows what medium light means, and that’s where I come in.” Her clients’ needs run the gamut, from simple species recommendations to full-on shopping, potting, staging, styling, and year-round maintenance.
In Minneapolis’s Bryn Mawr neighborhood, Emilia Bianela runs Greenhouse Salon and Shop (408 Cedar Lake Rd. S.), a multipurpose salon and storefront specializing in plants, plant accessories, and a selection of vintage home décor. There, she hosts plant care sessions (think: terrarium building and kokedama care workshops) for the plant-curious while also serving as the resident consultant for plant purchasing. Recently, Bianela has also seen an increasing number of homeowners—and businesses—engaging her remote services, especially as the summer days dwindled.
While Bianela, who grew up in Florida surrounded by tropical and fruit plants and trees, has always leaned on indoor plants for decorating a space, it wasn’t until she became a Minnesotan that her love for indoor plants became what she now calls an obsession. Still, she’s always stressing to clients that they don’t need to boil the ocean. “The power of just one or two great plants can completely transform a room—and our mood.”
November 1, 2022