Oh, to be on the shopping beat in the coronavirus era.
For weeks, I've been slated to publish a story today about bringing flowers to a dinner party: the best ones to buy, how to pair them with a vase, and how to set them up so that they don't become a burden to the host. But, for obvious reasons, nobody's having dinner parties right now— except for those virtual ones.
Yet flowers and plants still make people feel good. So I started thinking about the best houseplants available online. After all, with most people staying at home for the foreseeable future, we could all use a little company—and the gentle and methodical care a plant requires can be very soothing.
Gone are the days when buying flowers meant ordering an astronomically expensive bouquet over the phone. Now, you can buy actual houseplants online. Plenty of online plant stores let you filter by size, ease of care, pet-friendliness, and more—and they often boast cute planters and pots as well.
My favorites are The Sill, Bloomscape, and Urban Stems. I have both ordered and received plants from all three of these sites, and have found the process to be seamless. If you're nervous about your lack of green thumb (or don't know how green the intended recipient's thumb is), don't worry—all the plants below were chosen because they're easy to care for.
I love The Sill for its cute tiny plants and equally adorable clay pots. Founder and CEO Eliza Blank tells me that when she's deciding what plant to gift, she "really loves a mini succulent for the windowsill—it doesn't take up a lot of space, which is the best part, but still makes people smile."
Right now, The Sill is experiencing a slowdown like many small businesses. All five retail locations are closed, and corporate employees have agreed to take a pay cut to cover the base pay for their retail counterparts. So if you have a loved one who might benefit from a cheery little cactus or ZZ plant, buying from The Sill is a great way to support a small female-founded and -operated company during uncertain times.
$65.00, The Sill
$18.00, The Sill
Bloomscape's founder Justin Mast is a plant person through and through: He's a fifth-generation greenhouse grower. His site is my go-to for bigger plants, like a fiddle leaf fig, or the Monstera I got for my birthday a few months back. Bloomscape is able to deliver such robust plants partly because they ship directly from their greenhouse instead of having plants sit in sub-optimal conditions in a warehouse for weeks before shipping.
If flowers are still what your heart desires, or if you want to gift something that requires nearly zero care, UrbanStems is your best bet. They only work with Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, meaning your flowers are grown sustainably by farmers provided a living wage.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious