Around town with Allison: So fresh and green! Berkeley’s best plant shops

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There are many things that I love: coffee, kale, cute shops with knick-knacks you don’t actually need and plants. All the plants. Whether it be succulents, freshly cut flowers, a small house plant, air plants (or for me, all of the above), plants make a great addition to any room. The more, the merrier! (I have seven plants in my room alone right now.) The questions I get asked the most are: 1) How do you keep your plants alive? And 2) Where’d you get that?

In response to the first question, incorporating nature into your daily life is easy with the right plants for your home. Like people, not all plants need the same thing. If you don’t have a lot of sun, don’t get a plant that needs a lot of sunlight!

In response to the second question, I wanted to share some of my favorite plant and flower shops with you all in hopes of inspiring some of you to channel your green thumb. Warning: You won’t be-leaf how amazing these spots are.

Flora Arte

Location: 2070 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

With fresh flowers, air plants, potted plants and succulents, Flora Arte is a great place to get plants if you’re trying to stay relatively close to campus. This cute flower shop is located just around the corner from Trader Joe’s on University Avenue and is only a short walk or bus ride away! Being the very indecisive person that I am, I’m not the easiest person to deal with when it comes to shopping. I’m literally that person who’s having a crisis in the middle of the store because she can’t make up her mind about anything. The owner, Jin, has been simply amazing at helping me decide what plants best fit my needs on every one of my visits. And you better believe that I’ve had many.

Wisteria Rockridge

Location: 6307 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

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A lot of people have their favorite restaurants, but I have favorite florists — Wisteria Rockridge is one of mine. Who knew that a quick ride on the 51B could bring you to one of the most aesthetic flower shops in Oakland? Technically on the border between Oakland and Berkeley, this cute shop has a wide assortment of beautiful flowers, air plants, succulents and other house plants. Whenever I walk by this spot, I can’t help but stop and admire the tiered display of colorful flowers that spill ever so slightly onto the sidewalk. If you’re like me, you’ll definitely need to have some self-control, because I literally want to buy everything in this shop.

Cactus Jungle

Location: 1509 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

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Two words: cacti galore! The name truly speaks for itself. Cactus Jungle is home to many different cacti, succulents and every plant in between. Not to mention, the shop also has some cute knick-knacks inside that are definitely worth browsing. This is my go-to spot for succulents because of its wide assortment of plants and pots. I can literally spend several hours here just wandering around. If you’re ever on Fourth Street, definitely consider stopping by to admire the beautiful collection of plants at Cactus Jungle!

Berkeley Horticultural Nursery

Location: 1310 McGee Ave., Berkeley, CA 94703

This place is no joke. Stretching an entire block, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery has every single plant you could ever imagine and more. You could spend an entire day here just browsing through all the different plants. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid with my aunt on our weekend adventures. We would roam the many aisles of this place, just like a kid in a candy store. Now that I’m older, I try to drive over to explore all the new goodies here from time to time. Although I’ve been here many times before, I discover something new every time. The next time you’re in the area, spend a couple of hours here and maybe you’ll even bring home a new plant friend. Or two.

The Gardener

Location: 1836 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

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This trendy spot is literally what I would want my future home to look like. An actual melting pot of aesthetically pleasing home goods and plants, the Gardener is another one of my favorite spots to find plants and other goodies. You can definitely expect to see me browsing the Gardener’s plant selection. With its wide assortment of air plants, succulents, large cacti and exotic orchids, it’s really no wonder why the Gardener is such a popular spot among plant lovers and friends alike.  

So go out there and buy some plants, friends. All the plants. And if anyone gives you crap about your plants, you can tell them to succ it.

Allison Fong writes the weekly blog column on places and activities to try in and around Berkeley. Contact her at [email protected].

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