Jason Allen 07/08/23
London’s Best Plant Shops | Paint the Town Green
Did you know, a survey by British Business Energy found London to be the greenest city in Europe, with 47% of the capital classified as ‘green’?
Did you also know that if it weren’t for your habit of letting your plant-life wither and die, that number would definitely be over 50%?
OK, maybe we’re projecting there. Maybe. But stocking up on new greenery constantly feels like a ‘thing one ought to do’, but then never gets round to. However, with the plethora of plant shops London has to offer, there’s really no excuse. So don’t get green with envy at the verdant homes of your friends and family – just peruse some of London’s best plant shops; for when you’re ready to turn over a new leaf…
Breaking news: East Dulwich home to fabulous London plant shop shock! Yes, of course SE22 is home to an exquisite repository of houseplants – Forest is a fabulous, family-run affair, with mother Fran and daughters Alice & Maddie at the helm. Both stores on North Cross Road and by Deptford station stock houseplants of all varieties (including a thoughtful ‘pet safe’ section, featuring phlebodium ferns and areca palms that will survive the friendly ravages of your cockapoo). There’s a range of homeware, too – offering everything from vases to hand cream – plus enticing nationwide delivery.
Address: 35 N Cross Rd, East Dulwich, SE22 9ET | Arch 133, Deptford Railway Station, SE8 4NS
Columbia Road Flower Market
The legendary East London market offers more than just flowers. Every Sunday, from 8am to 2pm, you can expect to find top quality shrubs courtesy of 4th-generation traders A.E. Hartnett & Sons, superb cacti from mother-daughter traders JD Succulents & Cacti Ltd, and tree ferns (and a lot more besides) from Leahurst Nurseries. Obviously as well as all of the above, the market offers an inimitable, bustling atmosphere – truly one of a kind.
Address: Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
Properly bohemian and eccentric, Petersham Nurseries is a haven within a haven – an idyllic slice of higgledy-piggledy country life, located in already-ridiculously-beautiful Richmond. The great project of founders Gael and Francesco Boglione, Petersham is now led by their daughter Lara. The rustic empire now encompasses the gardening, homewares & plant shop, a farm, a wine business, and a host of restaurants both at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden, and the original, famously stunning dining-room-in-a-greenhouse, the Petersham Nurseries cafe in Richmond… at this point, Petersham is as much a state of mind as a place to buy extremely nice plants. But it is that, too.
Address: Off Church Lane, Petersham Road Richmond, TW10 7AB
The Nunhead Gardener
A big local success story, Nunhead Gardener started off as a tiny plant shop under a railway arch in Nunhead… and has since blossomed. The store is now now part of a group with outlets in Elephant Park, Camberwell and Mayfair, and offers a 360° service catering for all your horticultural needs – including shrubs and trees, plant and lawn care, herbs, climbers and pots – and friendly, super-knowledgeable service to go with.
Address: 1a Oakdale Rd, SE15 3BW
The Flower Appreciation Society
Flowers are blooming marvellous. The Flower Appreciation Society certainly thinks so, and we’re inclined to agree. The Hackney-based London plant shop doesn’t just sell flowers and plant life, it’s also home to a regular itinerary of workshops designed to impart plant-whispering skills to even the most resolutely un-green of fingers. Drop by and say hello – they’re really terribly friendly – and feel your gardening skills take root.
Address: BE Studios 72A Southgate Rd, N1 3JF
They don’t come more venerable than this West London institution – as garden centres go, Clifton Nurseries lays claim to being London’s oldest (indisputable) and most beautiful (very difficult to argue with, frankly). Nestled by Little Venice in the heart of Maida Vale, where it’s been trading since 1851, Clifton’s secret ingredient is its stunning glasshouse, home to a dazzling array of foliage, exotic flowers, houseplants, and a cat (not for sale, but still well worth meeting).
Address: 5A Clifton Villas, London W9 2PH
Camden Garden Centre
One does not simply ‘pop in’ to the Camden Garden Centre. It is a place one goes to lose hours, possibly whole weekends, before emerging, dazed, with armfuls of plant-life and ancillary equipment you had no idea that you simply had to own. With a range of stock (from hardy perennials stunning roses to planters and landscaping materials) wide enough to cause the normally level-headed to radically re-shape the next six months of their life – it is, essentially, the IKEA of London plant shops.
Address: 2 Barker Drive, St Pancras Way, NW1 0JW
You want it, they’ve got it. The good people of the Conservatory Archives in Clapton & Holloway are here to help you tell your Euphorbia ingens variegate from your Howea forsteriana, and whichever you need (they’re a cactus and a fern respectively, btw) they’ll take care of you. They’ve scaled back operations at their original Hackney emporium – now more of an exhibition space with a plant shop attached – in order to expand with an even bigger location near Caledonian Road. A fully fledged garden centre, it displays a beautifully curated range of plants and accessories in a skylit Victorian stable building.
Address: 3-7 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0NS | 3 Middleton Mews, London, N7 9LT
The Boma Garden Centre
A perfectly self-contained oasis of plant life in Kentish Town, stocked with house plants, garden plants, seeds, tools, compost and more. If you fancy yourself as something of a plant whisperer, there’s a kind of rescue shelter here where you can pick up withering plants that need a little TLC for next to nothing. For the less experienced, there’s plenty of healthy vegetation to choose from too – and a fleet of well-versed staff to help you get there.
Address: 51 – 53 Islip Street, London, NW5 2DL
Battersea Flower Station
It would rightfully get in on name alone, but it also happens to be a superb – albeit tiny – plant shop, garden centre and florist, fulsomely-stocked with hanging plants and beautifully-arranged bouquets. The Battersea Flower Station also boasts perhaps the friendliest staff of any plant shop in London (although this is a hotly-contested claim, as plant shops seem to exclusively attract the permanently cheerful). Open seven days a week, so pop in for a mooch whenever you like – you’ll inevitably wander out having bought something beautiful.
Address: 320 Battersea Park Rd, SW11 3BX
Upgrading to flowers? Here are some rose-scented London date ideas…
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