Courtesy of Summer Santiago
A DJ, rare cacti and an ice cream truck were just a few of the unique offerings available at the Twin Cities Houseplant Event on Sunday afternoon. Hosted in the PlantyQueens parking lot, the event featured a variety of local vendors, selling everything from trailing pothos plants via The Greenery, an Ojibwe-owned plant and mercantile shop, to salmon tacos from Onyx Eats.
Despite the heat and strong gusts of wind, first-time plant buyers and seasoned caretakers alike flocked to the line leading up to the PlantyQueens tent. According to Nicole Larson, PlantyQueens employee and popular plant-focused creator on TikTok, the line was out of the parking lot at one point.
“Plant people love plant people,” said Larson. She said that she’s traveled across the country and has yet to find a group of people with the same sense of community as the Twin Cities plant community. According to Larson, she can’t think of any other industry where everyone comes together to sell the same product in such a collaborative space.
PlantyQueens is owned and operated by best friend duo Lillie Rosen and Maya Sirrah. Sirrah, who grew up surrounded by plants, sparked Rosen’s love for them. With full-time jobs elsewhere, Rosen and Sirrah began their PlantyQueens venture through a “planstagram.” From there, they worked to grow their following and foster their love for plants before founding their shop in August 2020. They sell plants and related products via their website and have a studio in Minneapolis available for in-person shopping. What sets them apart from other plant shops, according to Rosen, is their direct communication with customers.
The houseplant market has experienced a boom in business over the last year, according to Rosen. PlantyQueens has experienced great success in e-commerce since their founding. Much of their clientele has sought out the more high-end plants they carry, according to Sirrah. People have also turned to plants as a hobby and also a means to look after their own mental health.
“Houseplants aren’t just a purchase for people — they’re a safety net,” said Rosen, in reference to the impact plants can have on mental health. “With the pandemic, people are tired of taking care of themselves and so they want something to take care of. Houseplants do that.”
“I’m new to the plant community. I started with a pothos, and now I’m moving onto the more difficult ones,” said Molly Green, a student at Drake University spending the summer in Minneapolis. Green cites the pandemic as her reason for getting into plants, as she needed something to simply pass the time spent at home. She heard about the event via TikTok.
“The [Twin Cities] houseplant community is amazing,” said Rosen. “It’s like one giant family. Minnesotans are already so nice, but the community here is so friendly.”