During the pandemic, local businesses offer inventive ways to add some foliage to your decor

Plant delivery services are among the businesses that have managed to pivot quickly and elegantly during the pandemic. As many people continue to work from home, these online plant providers have helped transform home offices with beautiful, lush greenery. While we're all minimizing our activities right now, bringing plants indoors can help surround us with things that are alive and that we can nurture.

Whether you're looking for a sculptural, elegant anthurium or a showy, leafy calathea, these local, independently-owned plant providers carry a wide range of inventory to suit every taste, every ability. Even for those who claim to have a black thumb, professional suppliers can show you a whole new world of indestructible sansevieria (snake plants)—beyond what you'd normally find in a doctor's waiting room— as they have access to far more specialty varieties than you'd normally find at big box stores. All these vendors also carry a selection of plant pots, so order a plant and a pot together for an instant décor upgrade or gift it to someone as an alternative to flowers.

If your preference runs more exotic, there's a vendor on this list that specializes in rare tropicals. Keep scrolling to discover where you can buy a plant that's priced per leaf, at $1,000 (not a typo) per leaf. And if you're after Instagram gold, this is where you can also put your name on a wait list for a coveted variegated monstera. 

Worried about the lack of sunlight in your home? Even south facing windows in these northern latitudes could use some help. Keep reading to the end to find out where you can buy a full-spectrum grow light that's so effective and so beautiful it's the grow light of choice at Google headquarters.

1. Plantsome

PlantsomeFacebook/PlantsomeIf you're hesitating because Pinky cat chews up every leafy green you've ever brought home or you only have a sliver of direct light first thing in the morning, fear not! Plantsome has one of the most user-friendly websites, guiding buyers through the entire selection process by narrowing down your searches based on lifestyle needs: non-toxic plants, amount of light, location, etc. It's perfect for anyone who might feel overwhelmed by the plant world, but wants to flex their green thumb. And if you do encounter any problems afterwards, Plantsome has a support app that will help you figure out what's wrong.

Delivery options include curbside pickup or hand delivery, available in Vancouver or Burnaby. All other areas are serviced by Canada Post. If you're getting hand delivery, Plantsome will send you updates by email and text on the day of, to ensure a seamless hand-off. And what you'll receive is a custom cardboard container that resembles an upright wardrobe box. Inside, your plant is carefully wrapped in sturdy kraft paper and nestled into position where it stays upright from store to home. Your plant will arrive fluffy, perky and ready for showing off in your next online meeting.

Plantsome charges $10.00 for shipping on orders under $50.00 (exclusive of tax). For orders more than $50.00, shipping is free to any destination that they service.
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2. The Tiny Plant Delivery

The Tiny Plant DeliveryFacebook/The Tiny Plant Delivery The name says it all. They specialize in tiny plants for tiny homes. Because while we all wish we had 18-foot ceilings and skylights to accommodate a bird of paradise plant, this is Vancouver. "Tiny" doesn't mean insignificant. These tiny plants include beautiful varieties such as jewel orchids with their stunning foliage or neon pothos with their highlighter-yellow leaves. And "tiny" also doesn't mean common. Recently, they had large baskets of hard-to-find silvery anne pothos, which sold out within an hour.

Plants here start at about five inches high and you have the option for full service where they can pot your plant ($3 fee) into a vessel of your choice and even add a drainage hole if you want. Thinking of gifting a plant? They suggest a satin pothos —with its big heart-shaped, dark green leaves mottled with shimmery silver splashes, this is an easy-to-care-for stunner.

Tiny Plant Delivery offers free delivery in Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond. The rest of B.C. is $15 per delivery. Plants arrive wrapped in sturdy kraft paper and secured snugly inside a custom cardboard box. Every order comes with a beautiful hand-written note card detailing specific plant care.
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3. Just Plants

Just PlantsJust PlantsJust Plants specializes in tropical greens and can deliver a small jungle to your home in about a week. Their online shop is full of detailed images that will have your fantasy shopping cart overflowing. Owner Eyra Bojorquez Borbon believes anyone can achieve success as long as they provide the right amount of sunlight, food and water, so she ensures every plant on the website is profiled with these requirements, so you know exactly what to expect.

Delivery is $15 to Vancouver and North Vancouver, $20 to most other parts of Metro Vancouver, with deliveries going out on Fridays. Plants are hand delivered in a paper bag and tissue paper, with a hand-written card identifying your plant and its light and water requirements. They also have a brick and mortar location in North Vancouver that's available for one-on-one plant consultations on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (by appointment only), and restricted public access on Thursdays and Saturdays.
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4. WC Jungle

WC JungleWC JungleIf you're looking for rare plants, West Coast Jungle is your best bet, even if it means getting on a wait list, like the one they have going for the Monstera deliciosa albo veriegata, a rare monstera with striking bright white mottling on its fenestrated leaves. The wait list is "massive" and you'd better be prepared to part with $300 to $500 (with prices only increasing, due to its variegation being caused by mutation, which can't be tissue cultured, i.e. mass produced).

That might seem a bargain after looking at the Monstera adansonii variegata, which is so striking and so highly coveted that it's priced per leaf, at $1000 per leaf. And if the rare plant world is one you'd like to explore, their top tip is to always buy a plant that's been acclimated for a few weeks (i.e. not fresh from transit) and to always ask to see the roots. It might be tempting to pick a plant with the nicest foliage, but a healthy rootstock is far more important.

Since COVID-19 appeared, their business has actually increased as people are spending more time indoors and suddenly deciding to green up their spaces. This has been a worldwide trend, and they've witnessed a global shortage of plants as a result.

They offer hand delivery in Vancouver ($10), Metro Vancouver ($15) and Langley and Abbotsford ($30). They also offer hand deliveries to Vancouver Island and Whistler on alternate months. Everywhere else in Canada, they ship with Canada Post.
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5. Aspect Pendant Grow Light by SolTech Solutions

aspect pendant grow light by SolTech Solutions@algahomea_oasisWhat began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 has led the simple-yet-revolutionary Aspect grow light all the way to Google and Shopify headquarters, illuminating their respective living plant installations. Grow lights aren't a new concept: red light supports plant growth and blue light supports root development. Grow lights are already available in the form of LED strips, incandescent bulbs, HID systems, fluorescent tubes and even plasma screens. And while these are great in a production facility, nobody wants them in their home. This is why interior designers around the world have been so excited about the Aspect—it's a beautiful balance between form and function.

Soltech Solutions was started by a group engineers and entrepreneurs who met in high school and university, and it remains a small, independently-owned business that produces these lights in their home state. The Aspect features an LED chip (rather than a bulb) and if used for 16 hours every day, will last 15 years. The light displays a unique spectrum that was designed for both plant growth and general lighting, so the light appears as a balanced white without a hint of purple. While casting a warm museum-like light on your plants, the Aspect also provides a significant amount of photosynthetically active radiation, commonly known as PAR, which is the wavelength range that allows plants to photosynthesize.

The Aspect comes in two sizes: the small 20W Aspect is best for low- and medium-light tolerant plants, while the large 40W Aspect can keep all plants happy, including seedlings for fruits and vegetables. Every kit comes with the light, hanging hardware and an automatic outlet timer. The small Aspect is $149.99 US, while the large Aspect is $199.99 US.
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