Anyone who’s been to Columbia Road in East London on a Sunday can attest to the irresistible prices on everything from bumper bunches of roses to leafy houseplants. While making the pilgrimage there is a fun few hours to while away an afternoon, if you haven’t got a car or happen to live nearby, lugging your new plant baby home can be a back-breaking mission.
Our collective obsession with greenery surged during 2020’s lockdowns, when, according to the RHS, there was an 80 per cent increase in sales of foliage houseplants. Little wonder London’s residents, trapped inside concrete cages, sought to bring the outdoors in by starting or growing a houseplant collection.
As well as being rather nice to look at, the benefits of keeping houseplants include air purification, lowering stress levels and improving productivity and focus - so you can totally justify getting a new plant for your WFH desk.
How to keep houseplants alive
Bloom & Wild’s plant expert Keira Kay has a few tips to keep things flourishing
Watering: “It’s best to check before you water your plants to avoid overwatering them, as that can cause plants to rot. Use your finger or a skewer to check the top couple of inches of soil. If it’s moist you can hold off for a couple of days, if it’s dry then it’s time to water the plant.”
Dusting: “The foliage of a plant gathers lots of dust, so have a dedicated microfibre cloth or feather duster to give the leaves a good clean. This will also aid photosynthesis, as dust blocks the light from the surface of the leaves.”
Humid-loving plants: “During the cool, dry months it becomes harder to keep your humid-loving plants happy. But there are lots of ways to boost the humidity levels quickly. Like leaving a bowl of water near the plants, misting your plants with a spray bottle, and bringing plants into the bathroom while you shower!”
Pamper: “I like to treat my plants every now and then! If you eat hard-boiled eggs, the water they were cooked in is rich in nutrients your plants will love. Allow the water to cool and then water your plant with it. You can also pop the crushed shells into the soil for even more goodness!”
Settings: “Many plant failures are due to placement because, just like people, every plant likes different things. Work out if your plant will be in a sunny, shady or humid spot before shopping. Our website has lots of information to guide you!”
Now we’re on the other side of lockdown, we’ve put together a directory of plant-delivering companies that any burgeoning gardener would love at their (soon-to-be green) fingertips.
So, voila - here it is. We’ve rounded up the best florists, homeware companies and purveyors of plants to bring you a little green book of the best places to buy. Stick up your feet and have a browse; your new arrival will be here before you know it.
Here are the florists and companies delivering houseplants to your door.
Bloom & Wild House Plants
The internet florist has long been known as the place to order letterbox flowers as well as bouquets, but did you know they also sell houseplants too? The selection, though small, spans bonsais, money trees, peace lilies, succulents and more. If you can resist the call of leaf du jour, the Monstera, go for the pineapple plant instead. It’s a real conversation starter.
Place your order before 5:30pm (Monday-Friday) for tracked next-day delivery on selected plants.
Patch does things a little differently to other botanical shops - not only does it sell individual, glossy-leafed lovelies, but it offers them in considered sets for various rooms of the house too. Splash out on the bathroom bundle (£45 without pots), which is full of plants that thrive in humidity while the Unkillable Set (£70) is a godsend for plant parents with a knack for committing planticide.
If you’re curbing your spend to just one new addition, go for corn plant Rick (from £8), which needs minimal watering and does well in shady spots. We’ve had ours for years and despite bouts of accidental neglect, it’s still trucking heroically on.
London deliveries are made between 1pm-10pm on Monday-Wednesday, and 9am-6pm for Thursday-Sunday with updates on text and email the day before delivery for more precise times.
Elvis dedicated an entire room in his Memphis mansion to the jungle, complete with lush ferns, tropical-inspired furniture and a grass-effect carpet. While your home may not have Graceland’s proportions, you can recreate the effect (to a degree) thanks to Lazy Flora.
The online store has all sorts of potted stems to curate an urban jungle of your very own. Opt for the Home Jungle Indoor Plant Bundle (£65) which comes with four plants, including the iconic Monstera Deliciosa - currently The King of the plant world. There’s also a fab selection of edible plants to browse, should you want function as well as form.
Flowerbx Houseplant Collection
Catwalk-worthy plants (if these could strut, trust us, they would) are on show over at Flowerbx. The selection is small but oh-so chic with Boston Ferns, a trailing ivy plant and spiky Aloe Vera all waiting to freshen up your indoor space. The tall and elegant Fiddle-Leaf Fig (£215) with it’s violin-shaped leaves, will transform your space into a private oasis. Set it on the floor close to the window and clear of any shelves - this baby can grow to 6ft and up. A gentle misting every so often is all it needs to thrive - easy.
Delivery takes three days.
M&S Flowers & Plants
The trusty high street bellwether offers more than value packs of pants and Colin the Caterpillar confections. Head to the Flowers & Plants department to find all sorts of lush, green plants, just begging to pretty up your space.
We like the look of this Tradescantia (£25) which comes complete in a straw-weave basket set on a stand with hairpin legs. The total height is 32cm so it’s ready to display on a hallway console or your WFH desk, it barely needs watering and does best in the shade.
Choose nominated delivery to fit with your schedule.
Celebrated florist Appleyard London is a great place to pick up a new houseplant, which it offers alongside a selection of luxury bouquets. Leaf through the online shelves of spider plants, bonsais and bushy ferns - there’s plenty to see. Our fave? With air pollution a real concern for city-dwellers, the air purifying bundle (from £64.99) of three plants can go some way in helping clean your air indoors.
Same day delivery is available on selected products before midday, and you can get next day if you order before 6.30pm.
Houseplants are all good and well, but something that can flower, or better still, produce food, will really earn its keep. Find this Calamondin Orange Tree (£57) at Bloombox Club, which can happily sit inside the home as well as outside in the garden or on your patio. The self-pollinating shrub will produce a small citrus fruit that’s a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange. It will need repotting at some point and will need to be kept indoors in a heated room above 12 degrees come winter; something to bear in mind.
Elsewhere browse dozens of plants for the floor, shelf, indoors and out, as well as a nice selection of pots and accessories.
You’ll score free delivery if you subscribe, but if you don’t want to commit, you will still benefit from a flat rate of £6.95 to mainland UK addresses. Expect a knock on our doorbell within five working days of ordering.
Floom Indoor Plants
Like Deliveroo for flowers and plants, Floom brings the best of local florists to your door, which means the selection is fresh and tailored to your postcode. From our EC1 nest, we’re within reach of all sorts of botanicals, from Monsteras to dinky terrariums that require very careful and precise watering via pipette (£45).
Delivery can be as soon as same day, depending on the florist and the time of day ordered.
RHS Indoor Houseplant Collection
No roundup on houseplants could possibly be complete without a mention of the Royal Horticultural Society’s online shop. The experts have it all with a selection to rival any garden centre. Gaze at the teeny cacti (£14.44 for a mixed set of six) and get your measuring tape out for this kentia palm, which can reach 1.2m high.
If you’re looking for something that stands out from the crowd, we like this fishbone cactus (£16.99), with squiggly leaves that will prove to be a real talking point.
The Little Botanical
Online greenhouse The Little Botanical offers plants of all kinds, as well as accessories and gifts. Check out its blog The Hot House for green-finger tips on care, maintenance and trends. Craving a long-lasting pop of colour to your interiors? The Mini Orchid Duo (£44) has all the prettiness of a bouquet but will last much much longer. Split the set with a friend or keep them both for yourself.
Delivery is made with DPD couriers, dispatched from Monday to Thursday. You should have your new plant within five working days.
If you hadn’t guessed from the name alone, Hortology specialises in plants - garden variety and beyond. Shop everything from palms and foliage to hydroculture with some plants reaching heights of over 75cm. If you’re worried about curious pets nibbling at the leaves, head for its pet-safe selection, which includes Asplenium Osaka - Japanese Bird’s Nest Fern (£9.99).
A well-behaved, low-maintenance plant, its ruffled leaves make it a highly decorative addition to your home. And the fact that its shadow resembles Sideshow Bob is a major draw for fans of The Simpsons.
Find plant paradise over at the fabulously named Leaf Envy, which offers a selection of green beauties for specific needs: think air purifying, pet friendly and low light varieties. You can also pick up pots, tools and accessories and it's an excellent portal to pick up a present if you've a big event in the diary. We're feeling the Caladium White Star (£38), so pale and interesting it looks like a 3D illustration.
Elephant & Cactus
Bring the outside in with Elephant & Cactus's selection of houseplants and vibrant Kenyan baskets. The south London-based company specialises in succulents (which founder Helena calls fat plants), known for their hardy properties. We're making space for the show-stopping Zebra Plant, which is covered in the same stripes as the animal. At £6, it's a total bargain.