Web Analytics Made Easy - Statcounter

Growers rejoice!: Seattle is a Plant Gay's paradise

Share this Post:
Photo courtesy of The Plant Shop
Photo courtesy of The Plant Shop

Editor's note: Plant Gay [plahnt gey] — n. A member of the LGBTQ+ community with an affinity for or fascination with gardening, houseplants, or plant facts. The term accurately applies to an individual regardless of their gender, creed, or sexuality insomuch as they are not heterosexual.

Gays and plants go together like straight dudes and trucks. Every LGBTQ+ welcoming basket comes complete with a Pride flag, a burlap tote, and at least one leafy houseplant. Seattle has more than enough plant stores for every type of Plant Gay out there.

The Plant Shop — Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

The Plant Shop
Nestled in the middle of Capitol Hill sits a small urban plant shop. Nearly every square inch of the store is covered in potted houseplants, ranging from the smallest succulents to large indoor trees. Like a small jungle in the middle of one of Seattle's historic neighborhoods, the Plant Shop is crawling with surprises for those willing to search for them.

One of its most charming surprises is plant tender Emilia Glaser, who has been with the store for six months. Working there has been a source of joy for Glaser since they moved to the city earlier this year.

"I'd been working in restaurants for a long time, and I've always just really loved plants, and I just really needed a change of pace," they said. "I started working here, and it's just been nice to have a very different vibe in my life."

One of Glaser's favorite parts of The Plant Shop is the affordability of the products. "I feel like our prices are fair compared to a lot of places. We have a handful of collector plants, but I feel like we try to have stuff in all price ranges, so people can have access to them, which is cool," Glaser said. "We have our discount plant section, so we try to find stuff that everybody can work with."

Up the twisting industrial staircase, shoppers can find the discount plant section, where those in need of a little extra TLC are marked down in price, but of course, not in value. The Plant Shop also offers great prices for beginner plants like philodendrons.

Glaser has seen their fair share of new plant parents at the store and laughed as they recalled some of the questions. "I mean, people frequently ask, 'Do all plants need light?'... Photosynthesis is a part of their life, so yeah."

Still, The Plant Shop is always ready to help concerned plant parents. Whether it's providing unique soil blends, new or vintage pots, or helping diagnose an issue (which is usually overwatering), the plant lovers at store are always there to help the Capitol Hill Plant Gays.

When it comes to the perfect plant for the herb-loving homosexual, Glaser says the shop has a variety of LGBTQ plants to choose from.

"I feel like calatheas are a Gay-vibe plant because they're so colorful and patterned. The Makoyana, the 'peacock' one, and also the Triostar, the pink one. I just feel like they're bright and colorful," they said as they pondered.

"Also, there's this one called the Warscewiczii, they're like velvet, and I feel like they're such a rich texture. I love calathea, and the Plant Gays know how to take care of [them], but a lot of people can't," Glaser said.

The Plant Shop is at 411 E. Pine and online at https://plantshopseattle.com/.

Urban Earth Nursery — Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

Urban Earth Nursery
Perhaps the most magical space in the fairytale neighborhood of Fremont is the Urban Earth Nursery. Entering the garden gates takes plant lovers far from the noisy gray of the city and into a utopia of colors, smells, and spring surprises.

The paths at Urban Earth Nursery take twisting turns through outdoor gardens, into small greenhouses full of fruits and veggies, and under lush arches of sweet roses and peonies. At the very end of the path sits a small cabin, where smiling, fairy-like faces await each explorer.

One of those belongs to Sydni, who has been working with Urban Earth Nursery for nearly two years. She describes the place as "a really enjoyable, rich work environment, where my day consists of tending to things and connecting with other plant enthusiasts, who happen to be some of the best people I know."

Urban Earth Nursery is a unique space that provides plants for any grower. "[There are] all types of plant enthusiasts or beginners. Lots of people come here looking for indoor plants, so we can help pretty much anyone... from a Seattle basement apartment to a full house with a big backyard, and everywhere in between," Sydni said.

Because much of the shop's inventory is outdoors, it tends to carry many seasonal plants. However, classic houseplants are always available inside as well. "Indoors, it mostly stays the same, but we [also] bring in new and exciting products. That's the fun thing about being a small shop: We like to keep our product diversity, and we can bring in what excites our customers," Sydni said.

"For outside, it's very seasonal, so we can carry what's in season, what will thrive at the time of year when people are buying plants."

As spring blooms into full force, Urban Earth Nursery is seeing a spike in herb sales. "Herbs and veggies are always really popular right now," said fellow Urban Earth plant enthusiast Natasha. "Sun gold tomatoes are a hot commodity right now."

"Just this morning I sold a lot of strawberries. So fun, easy to grow, and delicious!" Sydni added.

The women at Urban Earth Nursery also answer many beginner questions. "Those are my favorites!" Sydni said with a laugh.

"One of my old co-workers was asked to replant a plant... with the ashes of her bunny... Later she was like, 'Why did I say yes to that?'" Natasha said.

"We also got one of these little plants, it was a string of watermelon, and someone said, 'Is that real watermelon?'" she added. "It was a little indoor succulent, and they thought it was real watermelon.

"But that's why we're here: to translate. If you don't spend time looking at... plants, sometimes you forget where... or how things grow."

They say some of the biggest mistakes new plant owners make is overwatering. "I think when people start, it's just so exciting," Sydni said. "You want to water, but the most common mistake I see when I come through here is people are overwatering their plants. That can end up hurting them more than helping them."

The Queerest plant Urban Earth Nursery carries, according to Sydni and Natasha, is the fittonia plant, an evergreen perennial native to South America. "They're colorful," Natasha said with a laugh.

"Everyone should own plants," Sydni said. "They make you happy, they help you focus, and learning how to care for something is just so great, and so healing for me and my life path and journey. I recommend it for everyone."

Urban Earth Nursery is at 1051 N. 35th, and online at https://www.urbanearthnursery.com/.

Root — Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

There is perhaps nothing more quintessentially "Seattle" than Root. The unique Ballard combination coffee and plant shop offers a constantly changing selection of international roasts and a thoughtfully curated collection of tropical plants.

Emily Harman, one of Root's many skilled baristas, has been with the store for the last year but says there's nothing like it. "I've been a barista for four years at this point. I love coffee, and also, recently, in the last couple of years, have gotten more into having houseplants. The opportunity to do coffee, which is a skill that I have, and then also learn more about plants and teach other people about plants... has just been fun."

Because the business is so unique, Harman says they often get people in with questions about the nature of the store. "We get a lot of people who ask if the plants are for sale, which is not a weird plant-specific question. But we are a plant and coffee shop," she said.

Because the selection at Root tends to be a bit more exotic, most plant buyers enter with experience under their belts. But that hasn't stopped a few from asking some odd questions. Harman was once asked "if a cactus needs sunlight," to which she informed them that cacti, as well as all other plants, do require sunlight.

Root is the definition of aesthetic, from the beautiful handmade lattés to the simplistic wall art and, of course, the stunning plants. The largest in the store sell for several hundred dollars, and from their expert maintenance to their monumental size, they appear to be worth every penny.

As a plant-oriented store, Root offers seasonal workshops for gardeners 21 and over to get their hands dirty and enjoy some wine tasting. Its last event, a foliage garden workshop, was on miniature gardens, design, and care.

The Gayest plant offered at Root, Harman said, currently would be "maybe just one of the super phallic cacti?" directing me to the window of these beautifully groomed plants.

Aside from just selling plants, Root is an experience sure to liven up your Instagram feed and wire your day with some of Seattle's best coffee.

Root is at 5000 20th Ave. NW and online at https://www.root-plants.com/.

Indoor Sun Shoppe — Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

Indoor Sun Shoppe
If you're searching for variety in your garden, look no further than the Indoor Sun Shoppe. One of the largest and oldest indoor nurseries in the city, it has a wide selection of plants, gardening tools, and accents that will make your home and yard pop this spring.

Open since 1970, it's a family-run business that isn't afraid to answer tough plant questions. Gardener Hailey Murphy has been working at the store for a year and a half but has always thought of it as a family home.

"The original owner is my grandfather, so I started working here as a little bit of a necessity," Murphy said. She left her job in veterinary medicine to help with the family business when it was hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I originally started just being the person watching the door and essentially being a hostess for the plant shop. I didn't know that much about plants, because I had grown up around them — I had become desensitized to them almost... I have a unique perspective on plant parenthood, because I didn't learn anything about plants until being immersed in this environment," she said.

Murphy has seen a spike in interest in plants since the start of the pandemic, which she credits to the internet. "There's a lot of information out there [on] the internet and Tik Tok and that kind of thing," she said, which has led to some people being a bit misinformed about plant care.

"We are open to answering anybody's questions. Sometimes we'll discourage specific things that people might see recommended on the internet. We cater the plant care to make it simpler and a little more how you might want to take care of a plant in Seattle versus in California or something like that," she added.

"There're all sorts of crazy things I see out there in terms of how to take care of plants, but we're always happy to take any questions if people are confused about it. We're not going to shame people for not knowing otherwise."

One thing Murphy has learned in her time at the Indoor Sun Shoppe is that you can't be afraid to mess up. "Don't be afraid to ask questions, especially of someone locally who grows plants here. [And] don't be afraid of killing plants. Start small and cheap. Know [that] everybody kills plants — even people who have been growing plants for years and years and years kill plants. It's one of those things where you have to be hands-on with it and try it, and, yeah, you have to kill a few plants to learn, so don't be afraid to [do so]."

The Indoor Sun Shoppe gets its plants from all over the state and even flies some in from as far as Florida. "Our air plants and succulents come from farther out," Murphy said.

Recently, the store has begun hand-selecting plants again, thanks to COVID restrictions being weakened.

Because of the store's large variety of hand-chosen plants, Murphy has the perfect LGBTQ+ plant for any Plant Gay who may enter the store. "The Tradescantia Nanouk would probably be my answer," she laughed. "One time someone came up and said it was the most Bisexual plant they've ever seen, and that just stuck in my memory forever, and now that's what I see when I look at that."

The Indoor Sun Shoppe is for all plant lovers. "We're welcoming of people of all identities, and we just want people to feel welcome in the store and... able to talk to us about any questions they have," Murphy said.

The Indoor Sun Shoppe is at 160 N. Canal St. and online at https://indoorsun.com/.

The Seattle Plant Daddy — Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

The Seattle Plant Daddy
If you're looking for pure, Queer, leafy fun, the Seattle Plant Daddy is a must-stop. The sexy little shop in Wallingford is dedicated to providing exotic plants at affordable prices. It gets its vibe from fun and kinky plant lovers who give back to the store in their own special ways.

On the wall separating the back room from the main entrance sits a small Polaroid camera; several NSFW plant photos line the walls. It's the wall of "Naughty Plant Pics" provided by growers and showers from across Seattle.

"That is all Joe," said plant lover and store patron Lacee Crosby. Joe, Lacee's brother, is the owner of The Seattle Plant Daddy, and she says the risqué plant pictures were all his idea. "We had some people in the old store want to come in and do some photo shoots... so we were just like, 'Sure, go ahead, enjoy, be one with nature, have fun,'" she said, laughing.

Crosby has been working at her brother's shop for a year now and says she loves it, "because I think it's just free therapy in general. You can come in and have a bad weekend, and it's just therapy being with the plants. We have people who come in on their lunch breaks and be one with them for a minute."

The Seattle Plant Daddy offers a wide selection of house plants, including moss balls, succulents, and every leafy plant imaginable. This spring's popular plant is the easy-to-care-for philodendron Pink Princess. "The Pink Princesses were very hot there for a while. People were coming from all different states to get them, because we had great prices. So that's always a hot one for people," Crosby said.

Crosby recommends that one or any in the philodendron family for new plant parents hoping to dip their toes in the soil. "Anything philodendron is great for beginners. You can't miss out on that. If you're somebody who doesn't like to water or forgets to water, we have so many cacti, so that's great, too. We try to keep a wide variety for the collectors and the beginners, which makes us pretty unique as well," she said.

Aside from the plant diversity, Crosby believes customers also love the local appeal of each Seattle Plant Daddy plant. "I think that this store's just been great, because it's owned locally, it's got all the love and care from my brother in it. He works in the store 90% of the time, so there's not a bunch of employees. So really, it's his blood, sweat, and tears that go into every ounce of it. I think that makes for better-quality plants. We're that one-on-one with our whole neighborhood and the community," she said.

Some of The Seattle Plant Daddy's plants travel to great lengths to make it to its shelves. "We get them from growers all over. Some of our stuff comes from growers in Brazil, so he works with growers all over. He also has greenhouses where he's propagating and growing things," said Crosby, who also contributes her skills to the store.

"I own a farm in Snohomish, so I am more of the outdoor part of it. I do all the organic produce and things. So between the two of us together, he's the expert, [but] I bring that part of it to it."

For a store that decorates with NSFW Polaroid pictures, it is no surprise that The Seattle Plant Daddy had already selected and displayed the Gayest plant in a place of honor. Crosby could not choose just one, so went with two: "The penis cactus and the booby Cactus," she said proudly. While the store has tragically run out of the booby cactus, Crosby showed off the elegant penis one, and also pointed out the Gayest plant, possibly to ever exist: the double-penis cactus, which proudly sits in the highest place in the store, basking in the sun.

"They're awesome, and they sell out so quickly! A lot of times they're a bit wider," she said.

Regardless of what Gay plant you're looking for this spring, Seattle's growers have them all! From colorful fairy gardens to Bisexual botanicals to the ever-erect penis cactus, each of these lovely gardens is just waiting for you! It's no secret plants bring an unexplainable joy, a pop of color, and a whiff of the outdoors to every Queer home. Pick up a pot and head on down to your local garden today!

The Seattle Plant Daddy is at 1325 N. 46th St., and online at https://www.seattleplantdaddy.com/.