While London’s not short on green spaces, gardens are a luxury in the capital. Living in a garden-less one-bed, my window box just doesn’t suffice. This means that if I pay a visit to one of my favourite London plant shops, I can rarely bear to leave empty handed! In true #JungalowStyle, I’m on a mission to fill my home with greenery and satisfy my passion (addiction) for botanical-inspired interiors. Although a few have been sacrificed along the way, I’m slowly getting better at caring for my plant family and can identify the needy ones.
As the trend for cacti, succulents, ferns and pretty much anything else that looks mildly exotic, is going nowhere fast, I’d thought I’d share some of my favourite spots to buy houseplants in London. They’re also well worth a trip if you’re feeling a bit fed-up with the urban jungle.
Best for: unusual plants
I’d been waiting to tick Forest London off my botanical bucket list for a while. Their Instagram posts promise a haven of greenery with plants trailing from the ceiling, but, as a West Londoner, I was a little put off by the locations in East Dulwich or Deptford. I eventually made it to the Deptford shop and it was exactly what I’d hoped for. Packed with unusual plants and an incredible range of beautiful pots, Forest London is an affordable choice for houseplant fans. The team is friendly, knowledgeable and will also pot up your plant in your chosen pot, before carefully wrapping it. Although smaller than some of the other spots on this list, nearly every surface is covered in green. In other words, you’re spoilt for choice and will struggle to know what to choose (given the trek, buy as much as you can carry, I’d say).
How to get to Forest London in Deptford
Forest London is right outside/underneath Deptford station, in Deptford Yard Market, a development of shops and restaurants under the railway arches. It’s just one stop, or a six minute overground train journey, from London Bridge, making it the perfect location to visit before or after browsing Borough Market. I dare you to leave Forest London or even Borough Market empty handed – it’s nearly impossible!
Opening hours: 10am-6pm Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm on Sundays
Address: 137, Deptford Market Yard, Deptford High St, SE8 3NU
Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden
Best for: gifts, pots and accessories
I’ve already dedicated a post to Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden as I loved it that much. The younger sibling to the original Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, their Convent Garden lifestyle store is the perfect pit-stop for plants in central London. Filled with a vast array of foliage, furniture and homewares, Petersham Nurseries is a great choice for gifts and treating yourself. The shop is immaculately laid out and offers plenty of pots, baskets and rustic garden-style accessories to complement your plant babies.
How to get to Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden
Petersham Nurseries is in central London, a short walk from tube stations Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line) and Leicester Square (Northern Line and Piccadilly Line).
Opening hours: 10am-8pm Monday-Friday, 12pm-6pm on Sundays
Address: 27-31 King St, WC2E 8JB
Columbia Road Flower Market
Best for: getting the most plant for your pennies and enjoying a truly London experience
Next is one of East London’s most popular markets, Columbia Road. It’s blooming with flowers and plants come Sunday morning. If you don’t like tight spaces, be warned, it gets very, very busy. To me, this adds to the charm, but it can get quite intense if you visit during peak times (10.30am-1pm).
Aside from the immense choice – there’s everything at Columbia Road, the incredible prices will keep dragging you back (and out of bed) on a Sunday morning. Three bunches of tulips for £10? Yes, that’s right. A huge, sturdy succulent for £4 and a young cheese plant for £8? You’re not dreaming, you can find bargain houseplants in London. There are also permanent shops selling pots, lifestyle accessories and tea and coffee, so you’ve got the makings of a great Sunday morning. And if London’s drizzle is getting you down, the market’s colours will brighten your entire being (and your home). That’s my kind of self-care.
Tips for visiting Columbia Road
- Take plenty of cash (if you’re weak like me, you’ll buy a lot and it’s fair walk back to the cash points along Bethnal Green Road)
- Bring sturdy flat-bottomed bags. The traders will often give you a plastic carrier bag which means your beautiful plants will face a perilous journey home on the tube
- Check out all the stalls to compare prices and quality before buying
- Arrive around 9am and you’ll be able to browse the sea of cut flowers and plants more freely
How to get Columbia Road Flower Market
Take the tube to Bethnal Green (Central Line) or Old Street (Northern Line) and follow your phone’s map (and the many other visitors) to the market – roughly 10-15 minutes from Bethnal Green station. To those who don’t know the area well (myself included), Columbia Road seems to appear magically among residential buildings – follow the flowers and you’ll find it!
Address: Columbia Road, E2 7RG
Trading hours: around 8am-3pm on Sundays
Best for: escaping the city and getting inspired
If you fancy a day trip without leaving London, Kew is a great way to spend a relaxing Saturday or Sunday. After wandering around the park, you can escape into one of the many glasshouses. The iconic Palm House is the ultimate #jungalow, complete with spiral staircases that look down on the canopy below. You’ll have plenty of opportunities for Insta snaps. And if you love cacti, don’t skip a visit to the impressive Princess of Wales Conservatory. After you’re feeling inspired, you’ll struggle to leave without a purchase from the Victoria Plaza shop. They’ve also got plenty of plant food to help you keep any needy plants going.
How to get to Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens tube station is on the District Line, or you can arrive by train to Kew Bridge. If you’re driving, there’s a large car park (paid). Though, it’s best to arrive early at the weekend for a space. You can also catch the 65 bus.
Address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE
Opening hours: 10am-5.45pm
Wheeler’s of Turnham Green
Best for: urban gardening
Nestled alongisde Turnham Green tube station is one of London’s urban garden centres, Wheeler’s of Turnham Green. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or want to do some potting up, head to this W4 treasure trove of pots, plants and everything in between.
How to get to Wheeler’s of Turnham Green
The clue’s in the name. Exit Turnham Green tube station (District Line and Piccadilly Line) and you’ll find Wheeler’s on your right. You can also get the 94 bus. If you turn left and follow Turnham Green Terrace towards Chiswick High Road, you’ll find great independent boutiques and food shops. Cassius & Coco is a firm favourite and also stocks beautiful houseplants, like calatheas and ferns.
Address: Cato’s Yard, Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1LR
Opening Hours: 9am-6pm
We might be living in the city, but there are plenty of places to stock up on greenery and enjoy some urban gardening at every budget. Have I missed a hidden gem? I’m always on the look out for new London plant shops to discover, so feel free to get in touch!