Trailing, climbing, hanging, well-known and rare . . . indoor plants for every taste and budget
‘We were so unprepared. We turned up at Gunnersbury Artisan Market with a battered wallpaper table and an old gazebo that wouldn’t stay up. Frankly, we were petrified. But we sold every plant. And that was the beginning…’
Lewis Cox, co-owner of Urban Tropicana with his husband Steven Desouza, is recalling the couple’s first tentative venture into selling face-to-face to the public. Previously, they had sold plants grown in their garden online and, after Gunnersbury, they moved onto a stall at Chiswick Flower Market, a shop in Northfields and, since November, the gloriously jungly Plant Shop on Turnham Green Terrace.
‘Plants have always been part of my life,’ says Lewis. ‘I had taken voluntary redundancy from BA because of the pandemic and so we thought, why not create a business out of a passion? It has all happened so fast. We now have links with nurseries worldwide: the majority of plants come from Holland, we work with a cactus farm in Spain and just yesterday we received rare anthuriums from our supplier in Ecuador.
‘The stock changes seasonally with plants for every taste and budget, from traditional snake plants and peace lilies to more exotic specimens, such as new colours and varieties of orchid. Also, we work closely with Sarah Gerrard-Jones (aka the Plant Rescuer) to put together Rescue Boxes of damaged plants that will thrive given a little TLC.
‘Many people make a choice based on look, that’s natural. Our job is to ensure the plant will thrive in their home or office/workspace: that’s why we always ask about light conditions and, of course, we’re happy to give advice on care (don’t over-water is the Number One tip) and make recommendations.
‘Everyone on the team is very knowledgeable and we love talking plants. We’ve had a lovely welcome to Chiswick and Steven and I are so glad we took the plunge into this business – it really doesn’t feel like a job!’
(The Plant Shop)
21 Turnham Green Terrace
Chiswick W4 1RG
020 8616 0910