Local Plant Shop Reviews

Theron Luett, Staff Writer

Walking down the streets of Des Moines, I stumbled across the Art Terrarium, the dream store for any plant lover. Entering the shop is like entering a hidden jungle, filled with plants of all shapes and sizes. From lining the floor and walls, to hanging from the ceiling, I knew that I would be leaving with the perfect plants for my home. As I strolled past the countless tables of green, I could clearly see how well these plants were taken care of. Each pot was well fertilized and watered, and if there were any dry or dying leaves they were hardly noticeable and very few. Not only do they have plants, but they also offer a variety of plant accessories. This includes different sizes and colors of pots which will look great both indoors or outdoors, macrame rope hangings to hang plants from, and books with great plant keeping advice.

Although prices are not as cheap when shopping here, the quality and variety of plants that are offered are definitely worth the extra bucks, from plants as tall as 5-7 feet such as the Licuala Grandis plant, that the store restocked earlier this month, to small pots of string or pearls. I ended up buying two plants from Art Terrarium, one medium sized marble queen pathos for $21.99, and a 6” sized cactus for $20.00. Since then, they have been healthy and easy to take care of, thanks to Art Terrarium’s Instagram page @art_terrarium. They have an informative and fun page where they keep customers updated on their new shipments and daily plant tips. Their online store offers plant care tips, gift ideas for plant lovers, delivery, and booking for private shopping appointments which is helpful during the pandemic.

Goode Greenhouses which is also located in Des Moines, is a great option to go to when plant shopping. They offer a wider variety for gardening supplies and outdoor plants. As I walked in, I entered a large section of fertilizer, soil, shovels, and outdoor gardening gear. They have multiple rows of pots that vary from plastic, metal, and glass. Approaching the back of the store, I walked into a large and airy greenhouse filled with rows of blooming plants such as seasonal flowers. The plants seem well hydrated, but more than most of them have wilted leaves and seem to be needing more nutrients.

Fortunately, the price of these plants make up for what they lack in great quality. One large Philodendron was $27.99, but all non blooming plants had a 30% off sale. Price was consistent and depended on size of the plant. Every small plant was $7.99, which is cheaper and a more reasonable price for their size. This is a great place to go when looking for any type of plant in bulk. Whether it be plants for outdoor gardens, or just looking for a bit more green to spruce up a home, make sure to stop by at Goode Greenhouses.

I have been wanting to stop into Earl May Garden Center in Grimes ever since my mom raved about their open selection of garden plants, and the cutest succulents. Entering through the doors I could have explored the tables of air plants, succulents, cacti, hanging plants, and big leafy plants for hours. I was most excited to see their multi color and multi sized air plant selection. Most plant stores do not usually offer air plants, although they seem to be one of the easiest plants to take care of. They were priced $5-$15 depending on their size.

When I go plant shopping I am usually looking for plants that grow well in low light, since most of them will be in my room. Earl May had their plants arranged in labeled sections for low light plants, and plants best kept in the sun. This was very helpful so that I could prevent having to search through rows of random plants all in one grouping, and instead go straight to what I was looking for. Each plant seemed healthy and full of life, all were well hydrated and colorful. Earl May does have their prices on the higher side, but they offer free potting with each plant purchase which makes a great deal in the end. One medium Philodendron were $30, and most medium sized plants were $15. I bought a large air plant for $12, and a 2” succulent for $6. Earl May also offers curbside pickup, which is always a great option when busy. It was a great trip, and I definitely plan on going back to splurge on my favorite air plants!

The last plant store that I highly recommend stopping by, is Back Alley House Plants located in Ames. Entering through the door, I was led down a long hallway with plants hanging from the ceiling, a perfect and welcoming pathway! Not only did I first notice their collection of easy to take care of plants, which covers every nook and cranny of their shelves, but their surprising variety of plants that towered over me such as the 7 foot fiddle leaf fig plant that sat by the door.

Each plant pot was labeled with the plants name, and quick instructions for how to best take care of each specific type of plant. With each pot looking well cared for, there were no worries for discarded plant care here! This plant store’s prices were amazingly reasonable. I was shocked when I saw that their Cat Palm plant was only $60, Cat Palms can grow up to 6 feet! Compared to prices for large plants I’ve seen other places, trust me when I say this is an amazing price. I left feeling successful in my plant adventure of the day, by bringing home a small Peperomia Happy Bean for $10, and surprise, another air plant for $3. While visiting Back Alley House Plants for the first time, I learned so much about this local small plant business. For example, they sometimes collaborate with Art Terrarium to offer their customers new and unique plants! Check out their Instagram page for shop updates, plant care, or questions – @backalleyhouseplants or hop onto their website- backalleyhouseplants.com for store hours, local delivery, and store pickup options.

I had so much fun exploring Iowa’s local plant shop’s and sharing my favorites with everybody. Remember to stop by at these fun plant loving shops anytime, and don’t stop be-leaf-ing in the power of plants!