Stepping off the sidewalk and through the door of Botany Houseplant Shop is like stepping into another world. Immediately, one’s senses are engrossed in the pleasure of verdant colors, a boost of oxygen and the overall peace imparted by a thoughtfully curated space.
Owner Leslie Buettner knows well the life that plants lend to indoor places. She opened her store in August 2022, and reports that in its first few months her store has been well-received.
“Initially people would open the front door and just stand there — awestruck, scanning the store,” Buettner told The Sopris Sun. It’s a far cry from Independence Run & Hike, which inhabited the same space prior to moving next to City Market. “I want people to experience enjoyment just from walking in, for it to be a calming yet stimulating experience.”
With years of experience in retail and a love of plants derived from 14 years living in Portland, Oregon, Buettner moved to the Valley keen to share her enthusiasm for houseplants. This is the first business that she has owned.
The room is arranged such that cacti and succulents enjoy ample natural light from the west facing window. Her plants also benefit from supplemental full-spectrum LED lights. A humidifier hums in the back, though the species are intentionally selected to thrive in Colorado’s dry climate.
There is a work table in one corner and a sitting area in the middle of the room “for people not interested in looking around for a long time accompanying someone who is,” informed Buettner. The aesthetic invites a person to linger, enjoying plant-inspired artwork and puzzles for sale, and the inspiring plants themselves. “I definitely would love a revolving flow of different local artists and makers related to plants, directly or indirectly.”
A few of her favorite plants in the shop include Rhaphidophora decursiva, a vining plant that naturally grows sideways; Hoya, another vining plant that flowers in dramatic clusters; and Philodendron brasil, a vigorous hanging plant with three distinct shades of green in its leaves.
Buettner noted that a surprising number of people wander in; whether returning from a meal at Dos Gringos or 450 Teppanyaki, visiting a professional office upstairs or perusing the other stores that comprise La Fontana Plaza, the store pulls in curious customers that often plan to return and purchase a plant.
Shelves not holding living members of the vegetable kingdom display all the essentials for responsible plant ownership, including many pots of different sizes and styles, environmentally-friendly pest control products, misting tools, plant food, pruning scissors, soil and cute watering cans. “You gotta have a watering can, might as well make it a cute one,” said Buettner.
“A lot of plants are ready to be bumped up in size,” she explained, “and potting mixes are not intended to be a plant’s long-term home.” She encourages buyers to ditch the plastic and select a new pot for their purchases, offering to do the potting in-store with a custom blend of soil. “Fresh soil and a new space will lead to a happier plant with stronger growth.”
One shelf is dedicated to gorgeous hand-woven, hand-dyed baskets to nest these pots within. The company that provides them, Amsha, sources from artisan co-ops in Africa to help women achieve economic independence.
Botany Houseplant Shop (586 CO-133) is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The business also hosts events, including the Roaring Fork Drawing Club and a natural dyes workshop guided by Katie Browne. “Houseplants 101” will be taught on Feb. 1 and “Succulents 101” on Feb. 8; both take place from 5 to 6 p.m.