The Plant Warehouse

The Plant Warehouse has grown over two decades from a modest market stall in Greenwich to a thriving retail space in East London. This family of houseplant experts is excited to unveil their Houseplant Studio, Upcycled Botanica, at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show this year. With a strong focus on upcycling and space saving, the exhibit demonstrates to visitors that all homes, however small, can be transformed into a remarkable yet affordable urban jungle.

Discover Upcycled Botanica

exterior of Upcycled Botanica The Plant Warehouse at RHS chelsea 2024
RHS Gold Medal

True to their roots

the plant warehouse emel sumen

Starting life as The Flower Warehouse over 20 years ago, mum Emel Sumen spent her days selling cut flowers from a small market stall in Greenwich. After the move to a large retail space of her own she slowly started to introduce houseplants due to their growing popularity… and her love for them! Eventually the small corner dedicated to houseplants grew and grew until they took over the entire space.

Running a business with a small family inevitably means the two become intertwined. Emel’s children, Ezgi and Sumen, spent many weekends at the warehouse amongst the plants, learning about and caring for them. It was not surprising for Emel that both of her children eventually started working with her and developing their passion for plants and horticulture.

the plant warehouse storefront

Now, The Plant Warehouse is a hugely popular houseplant retailer in East London, with a loyal customer base often returning for the family’s expert advice – in particular, rare breeds and cross breeding of plants.

The team has also worked with large brands – dressing spaces for events – most notably working with the Lord Mayor of London.

They remain true to their roots, however, with a stall at Broadway Market each weekend and hosting pop-up events around the city.

Get the latest from The Plant Warehouse on Instagram

Upcycled BotanicaRHS Gold Medal Winner

Set within the confines of a modern new build apartment, using the Studio Retreat building, Upcycled Botanica aims to redefine how people incorporate greenery into smaller homes.

The design at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show showcases a visually striking approach to indoor gardening. With a strong focus on upcycling and DIY, the team turns overlooked household objects destined for landfill into stunning planters and installations.

With urban living on the rise, space is often limited for many plant enthusiasts. But in the age of social media, it has never been easier for houseplant lovers to share their ideas for cost effective and easy, yet quirky ways to embrace indoor gardening.

“Our design is not just a showcase of innovative plant designs but a practical response to the challenges of modern living. By focussing on upcycling as a central theme, we have highlighted how resourcefulness and creativity can transform the most limited space into a green haven without breaking the bank.”

Living coffee tables giving indoor greenhouse vibes, moss-covered cushions on a transformed sofa and an upcycled chess board planter all feature in The Plant Warehouse’s design.

“We want to show visitors how easy it can be to give old items a new lease of life.”

Handmade botanical artwork and arrangements are massively on trend this year. The team’s use of QR codes throughout their design will enable visitors to access DIY instructional videos, that guide them on how to create their own sustainable yet affordable pieces.

“We’re keen to promote an educational and interactive experience. Our exhibit is a direct response to an era where sustainability and affordability are at the forefront of societal concerns.”

Eco-friendly and natural materials like bamboo and driftwood, along with sculptures made from discarded ocean plastic, bring a sense of biophilic design to their exhibition, showing visitors how they can seamlessly integrate nature and natural materials into living spaces.

The team showcase a variety of plants, including vibrant Aglaonemas to add brightness to darker spaces and unique air plants (Tillandsia) to show those new to planting how they do not need lots of space to get started and be creative.

In 2024, more people will be exploring vertical gardening – incorporating climbing vines, soil-less air plants and trailing plants into their indoor spaces using creative wall-mounted displays or hanging planters. This innovative approach not only maximises space but also adds visual interest by bringing nature up to eye-level.

The team’s passion for rare and unusual plants is evident with the Anthurium Veitchii ‘King’ – a popular choice for their customers – and the Colocasia ‘cophama’ Pharaoh’s Mask to create a dramatic and showstopping 3D effect in the space.

Advice for urban growers

“We have seen a shift in our customers and now serve many first-time buyers and young professionals, who, due to the cost of living, often reside in homes with limited outdoor space and want the wellness benefits that indoor gardening provides without it costing a fortune.

“Every single day without fail, we hear the same question; ‘My bathroom has no windows, what plants can I have?’

“Our advice would be to start with low-maintenance plants to gain confidence – plants such as the Snake Plants, Pothos or ZZ plants. They thrive in most conditions and are perfect for urban spaces.

“We have seen time and time again that once customers see success with these plants, they are less daunted by plant parenting, and will often come back to try something more difficult!

“Utilising wall space for vertical gardens or hanging planters is a great way to maximise greenery in smaller homes. This not only adds aesthetic appeal but also optimises space.”

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

21 – 25 May 2024

Meet the Designers

We know what a positive impact well designed spaces can have on quality of life, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with designers who understand the extraordinary benefits of houseplants.

Meet the Designers

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