Paola Bassanese is a freelance author and writer specialising in food, lifestyle and entertainment.
Indoor Plants in Ireland
Do you love indoor plants and live in Ireland? I have discovered that buying house plants in Ireland can be a bit of a mission, but a good one!
House plant fans in the States have plenty of choice when it comes to buying plants: alongside traditional bricks-and-mortar garden centres and plant shops, there are DIY shops that also stock plants and many online suppliers, not forgetting organised plant swaps.
In Ireland the house plant fever hasn’t quite caught on as much as in other parts of the world, and most garden centres tend to stock outdoor plants to cater for the demand for plants from the general public. However, they should think about catering for an ever-increasing number of millennials and other demographics who enjoy indoor plants. These types of clients are likely to live in urban areas without access to a garden. In Ireland, this segment of the population is on the rise.
A quick look on Instagram will show thousands and thousands of results for indoor plants with varying hashtags like ‘indoorjungle’ or ‘plantsofinstagram’. It’s time for Irish retailers to catch up.
The Market for Indoor Plants in Ireland
According to the Central Statistics Office in Ireland, apartment dwelling makes up 12% of the total households (data from 2016). During the period 2011-2016 the number of apartments being occupied was approximately 205,000. Detached houses made up 25% of the total (about 715,000 occupied detached houses in 2016) and semi-detached made up 28% of the total. Urban areas saw an increase in population of 80% in the years 2011-2016. Three-quarters of the population live in urban areas, with 44% of the urban population live in Dublin. Dublin City has the largest population living in apartments representing 35% of the total households. Dublin is the 5th most expensive city to live in the world because the current supply of housing does not meet the demand for apartments.
Now, without going into too much detail into a socio-economical analysis of housing in Ireland, two things emerge:
- Dublin has a larger target market for indoor plants and has more shops selling indoor plants compared to the rest of the country
- The increase in population in urban areas and interest in indoor plants should be noted by retailers.
Gardener and TV personality Diarmuid Gavin noted “we’ve fallen in love with the idea of creating indoor gardens”. From Victorian times onwards, house plants have been chosen to add interest to interiors.
Where To Find House Plants in Ireland
If you are looking for house plants, it is useful to either live in Dublin or take a trip there to buy them. Here’s a quick list of places in Ireland where you should find a range of common house plants, in order of availability:
- B&Q (DIY store)
- Woodie’s (DIY store)
- Tesco (supermarket)
- Aldi (supermarket)
- Lidl (supermarket)
- Dunnes Stores
- Garden centres.
It’s worth noting that, as mentioned earlier, garden centres are not your first port of call if you are looking for house plants.
If you are not looking for rare plants but are interested in starting a house plant collection, supermarkets are the most convenient places and tend to offer the best value for money.
When it comes to house plants, people are mostly divided into:
- hobbyists and
- those interested in adding focal points to their homes with plants.
For the first category, online buying from specialist sites is normally the best option because it’s unlikely that rare plants are available in retail shops. For the second category, the hobbyist, any plant will do, especially if it’s at a reduced price. Spending little and often allows to build up a nice selection of plants. For the third category, waiting for the right plant is better, because statement plants are larger and more expensive. They also need to fit with the style of the interior design. For example, for a tropical design indoor palms are perfect but, because they are slow growers, larger plants come with a high price tag.
Buying Indoor Plants Online In Ireland
Although there are a few Irish online shops selling indoor plants, home delivery options can be very limited. For example, you need to live in Dublin and Dublin County if you’d like to order plants and get them delivered to your home from Urban Plant Life.
Ikea has an online catalogue of indoor plants that is quite comprehensive, however they don’t offer home delivery. You can order online and then pick up the plants you’ve ordered at the shop. On a side note: have a look at this interesting article from Gardenista which mentions Ikea’s foreseeing vision of indoor plants being an integral part of interior design (even taking pride of place on the cover).
Johnston Garden Centre does deliver throughout Ireland and the delivery charge is very reasonable. Waiting times can vary depending on the volume of orders they receive. Plants are on average more expensive than Woodie’s or B&Q, for example, however garden centres take better care of them compared to DIY shops because they employ trained gardeners.
PlantStore can deliver across Ireland, their delivery charges are higher than average and their plants tend to be bigger in size and with a limited selection of plant types. They specialise in plant installation for offices but they also cater for the domestic market.
Hints and Tips To Grab a Bargain
Supermarkets tend to get one big delivery of plants every so often. I tried asking one supermarket by direct message on Instagram if they would let me know when they get their plant deliveries and which types of plants they order but regrettably they said they weren’t allowed to tell me. However, you can check on Lidl’s website, for example, which will display what plants will be on sale on specific dates. In the case of Lidl it is advisable to rush and buy the plants on the day they are delivered because they sell out very quickly. Lidl tends to stock a good amount of indoor plants, often larger statement plants like dracaenas, which are very low-maintenance. Bear in mind that Lidl plants tend to change each week so it’s a case of “you snooze, you lose” if you spot a plant you like and don’t buy it on the spot – you are likely to regret not purchasing it because it is unlikely to be back in stock.
Aldi has different types of house plants in stock each week, sometimes with additional plants to what they display on the website.
It is worth knowing that the longer these plants stay on the shelves, the worse they will look and, therefore, they will be less appealing to the customers. When these plants are approaching their ‘sell by date’ (although there is no label with a date on them or other actual way to know this apart from checking their appearance) most supermarkets will have to reduce the price to clear the stock. It is not cost-effective for supermarkets to pay staff to look after plants so it’s easier to simply try and move stock as quickly as possible. Journalist Jane Perrone, host of the On the Ledge podcast, explains this in a blog post. Similarly, DIY shops will also reserve a section of their premises for clearance plants that are still unsold after a while, so that they can make space for new stock. That’s how I acquired a gorgeous Stromanthe Triostar Sanguinea, for example, at ¼ of the retail price in a DIY shop. It was in the clearance section of the store because its leaves were drying up. I inspected the plant carefully and saw that the overall structure was still very healthy with green, fleshly stems. There were only a few dry patches in each leaf, which was likely to have been caused by under-watering.
Similarly, I acquired a phalaenopsis orchid from a supermarket at about 1/3 of the retail price. It hadn’t been watered for a while and the leaves were floppy and puckered, but still green and healthy with a good root system. After taking it home and watering it, it quickly perked up after a few days.
To recap, this is how you can buy house plants at a reduced price:
- check if the store has a clearance section
- go back to the same shop/supermarket a few days after their plant delivery and see if any prices have been reduced
- inspect the plant carefully before you take it home ensuring there are no pests or diseases, otherwise it will infect your other plants.
What Type of Plant Person Are You?
© 2019 Paola Bassanese
Paola Bassanese (author) from London on August 13, 2019:
Thank you Liz, yes supermarkets really upped their game. Next step is for them to stock even more house plants!
Liz Westwood from UK on August 13, 2019:
In the UK my first port of call for house plants would be a supermarket. They make it easy to pick up plants along with the weekly grocery shop and they are good gifts. This is an interesting article with helpfu tips for anyone looking for house plants in Ireland.