UK: Online tropical plant retailer launches first store for ‘millennial gardeners’

An online store selling hundreds of exotic houseplants has opened its first retail space in response to a growing trend for indoor gardening across the UK. 

Grow Tropicals will specialize in exotic and rare tropical plants and indoor gardening accessories. Its new 3,500 sq ft store and tropical hydroponics nursery in Leeds will open its doors when lockdown rules are relaxed at the end of March. 

Jacob James, 27, started the business during lockdown 1.0 as a side hustle – he held three two-day test sales in 2020 that sold over 600 plants in a matter of hours. Fueled by a boom in demand driven by Covid and increased interest from millennials, Jacob is now focusing on the business full-time. 

The company will grow and sell rare and exotic plants, making it the UK’s only retailer with an ongoing focus on conservation and sustainability. 

Demand is currently outstripping supply in the rare tropicals market, leading to many enthusiasts importing plants from questionable sources in Asia with huge environmental impact. So-called ‘plant flippers’ buy unacclimated plants, often collected from the wild, then sell them on at an inflated price.  

Grow Tropicals will help reduce this activity, by offering sustainably and ethically sourced plants at reasonable market prices, while absorbing some of the import costs that have been introduced post-Brexit.  

Jacob said: “The houseplant and horticulture market has boomed over the past year due to Covid and Brexit, as more people are spending time at home and want to create ‘green’ space. “I am excited to launch our first ever distribution center and tropical hydroponics nursery in Leeds.  This new space will allow us to grow and sell rare tropicals to our customers that have been both ethically and sustainably sourced; something which I am extremely passionate about.  

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