In Search of Plants : Los Angeles
Places for the houseplant enthusiast to visit in Los Angeles.
by : Egan Thorne
A few weeks ago, I packed my best spring clothes into my carry-on, said goodbye to the dreary Columbus spring weather, and said hello to sunny Los Angeles. I hadn’t been there since I was about 6 or 7 years old, so I flew in with pretty much a clean slate, as far as what to expect. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed at all. During my stay, I hit up some local shops and restaurants where houseplants play a big role.
Located in the LINE Hotel in Koreatown, Commissary combines two of my favorite things: brunch and plants. Commissary takes your traditional glass greenhouse and throws in seating, a bar, and an expansive brunch buffet. With the ceilings lined with trailing plants and the corners stuffed with palms, dracaenas, and ficus trees, it’s impossible to not feel at peace with the world around you while sipping on a mimosa.
Known to locals as “the Cactus Store” or “Hot Cactus”, this shop in Echo Park specializes in cacti. Ancient cacti specimens, many purchased from personal collections around the world, reside in terra-cotta pots on top of staggered and stacked cinderblocks, creating an urban desert feel. They also have a selection of smaller cacti in plastic pots outside, which the extremely knowledgable employees are more than happy to pot up for you to take home. However, the main focus is centered on the specimen plants, and rightfully so. Many of them are tens of years old and have character like you’ve never seen.
During my visit, I was never not surprised by some of the massive cacti and succulents living in the yards of residents. Towering cacti, gigantic agave, and massive bird of paradise plants dominate the landscape. Naturally, the closer to the beach you get, the more impressive the yards get, but Los Angeles (and most of California) provides the perfect climate for a lot of those plants. It never gets dangerously cold, and it’s almost always sunny, which makes for great growing conditions.
With two locations, one in Venice and one in San Francisco, General Store is one of the best shops for local, hand-crafted ceramics. While the shop in Los Angeles has its fair share of indoor plants situated around the store in handmade pottery, the shop in San Francisco has an entire outdoor porch area where cacti and succulents grow wild for patrons to stop by and admire.