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At the Sill’s new store, houseplants are alluring yet approachable

Greenery for everyone

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houseplants on shelves
One very lush wall at The Sill’s new Upper West Side store.
Photos courtesy of The Sill

From their NASA-endorsed health benefits to endlessly Instagrammable aesthetics, it’s no wonder why houseplants have found great popularity at a time when more people are living in cities, and often, in small, maybe-very-sad apartments. This week, this life-giving appeal of houseplants is coming irresistibly alive on New York City’s Upper West Side, where online plant shop The Sill just opened a new brick and mortar store to advance its mission of “empowering new plant parents.”

The company, which has been delivering potted plants straight to customers’ doors since 2012, opened its first store two years later on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The new store brings attractive species big and small to a neighborhood where they’re harder, if not impossible, to find.

Everything inside the store seems designed to make choosing and raising a plant a breeze. There’s a wide variety of plants on display, some grouped into categories like “For small spaces” and “Pet-friendly” to help customers contextualize the selection.

Prices, according to founder Eliza Blank, are “competitive with garden centers,” with tiny succulents and air plants going for $5 each and larger statement plants for about $40.

Jenny Xie

A particularly cool touch is a wall of plant care cards that include sunlight and watering instructions and simple “Sad Plant Signs” to watch out for. Anyone who comes by the store can walk out with a plant care card.

The store will also hold regular how-to workshops, as well as guest sessions on plant-themed art, pastries, and more. And then there’s the “Houseplant Hotline” at help@thesill.com, which is always open to perplexed plant parents.

According to Blank, this focus on education and community, is how The Sill plans to stand out from the competition, places like Home Depot and Ikea. Blank says the Swedish furniture retailer, for one, has ramped up its selection of live plants in the last five years.

Looking forward, the next physical Sill store could very well be outside of New York City, Blank says. The company already has a big customer base in California.

Intrigued but not ready to bring a plant home yet? Well there’s always this augmented reality app for visualizing all kinds of plants in your space first.

Eliza Blank at the workshop space of the Upper West Side store.

The Sill’s Upper West Side store opens December 1 at 448 Amsterdam Avenue in New York City.