When you cannot travel to the tropics, you can still bring the tropics home.
Perhaps it’s the need for green, or the need to care for something and watch it grow when everything else feels uncertain, but those who sell houseplants have noticed tremendous ‘growth’ in demand.
Our homes are now our offices and classrooms and we are “greening” them up.
The family owned Les Serres Robert Plante Greenhouses in Navan has had a major growth spurt of its own.
The interest in all things that grow has led to a major expansion—30,000 feet of new year-round greenhouses.
“We have always sold houseplants,” explains Colin Matassa, the Manager of Houseplants for the company.
“But there has definitely been a big increase in demand for indoor plants over the past two years. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of people have ended up spending a lot more time at home than they previously did, especially those working from home every day.”
Matassa says that many have started collecting houseplants.
“A lot of people spending time at home over the past couple years have gotten into houseplants as a hobby — starting out with easy to care for plants, learning how to care for them, and slowly adding to their collection with new and harder to find plants,” says Matassa.
“Due to the increased demand, we have drastically increased production of all the succulents and houseplants we grow on site, as well as bring in new houseplants on a weekly basis from some of our other local growers to provide the residents of Ottawa with the absolute best selection of houseplants, succulents & cacti — whether they are looking for an easy houseplant to keep alive, or a rare gem to add to their growing collection.”
The family business has been around since 1980 but during the pandemic, Robert Plante Greenhouses has added a state-of-the-art greenhouse.
In 2021, tens of thousands of additional greenhouse space was added to the sprawling property at 4228 Navan Road.
“This had been a long-time goal for the business. Prior to January 2020, the business was previously only seasonal, open from April to October each year,” says Matassa.
Now Robert Plante Greenhouses is nurturing those customers who wish to visit for more than their spring annuals and fall mums; those who are addicted to green throughout the year.
Colin Matassa shares his top ten houseplants:
Philodendron White Wizard: A trendy new philodendron that has beautiful white variegation on its leaves. Houseplant collectors will definitely have this on their wish-list for 2022 if they don’t already own it.
Pothos: An easy-going, low maintenance houseplant that is fantastic for any skill level! Pothos are vines that can either trail down in a hanging basket, off the side of a desk or shelf, or they can climb up if you give them a trellis or pole. They are one of our top houseplants for beginners due to how easy they are to care for. They can even go in lower light areas of your home.
Monstera Deliciosa: This is a classic, very popular houseplant. No doubt you have heard of them or seen a photo of a nice Monstera, with its big fenestrated leaves. These are sure to give tropical vibes no matter where you place them! You can get a tiny one and watch it grow over time, or get a bigger one for instant gratification!
Snake Plants: Another classic, low-maintenance houseplant that is still as popular as ever. These are known for being impossible to kill. If you tend to forget about your plants, this is for you. It can tolerate neglect and even survive if you forget to water them for a few weeks. They come in so many different styles too!
ZZ Plants: Similar to snake plants in terms of care, except these have leafy green leaves! Everyone should have at least one in their home, no matter the skill level. Another great plant to start out with, you can set it and forget it. For the collectors, they even come in a black-leafed variety called the ZZ Raven with dark black leaves.
Calamondin: Calamondin are miniature orange plants that thrive all year! They constantly produce little fruits and flowers, and smell absolutely amazing inside the home. As a miniature orange, they are edible but much more sour then a regular orange. They are often used in drinks, recipes, and much more. They can be brought outside for the summertime if you wish.
Alocasia Black Velvet: These Alocasias have black, velvety leaves and are simply stunning to look at. These once “rare” houseplants are not much more readily available and cheaper than ever! It’s a great time to add one to your collection.
Cacti: Cactuses (or cacti) are very popular in our greenhouses! We have the largest selection anywhere around Ottawa, from small ones in 2″ pots all the way up to big 8 foot specimens. They are easy care, drought tolerant and come in so many different varieties.
Donkey’s Tail Succulents: The Donkey or Burro’s Tail is a trailing succulent plant that is a staple in our greenhouse! We are known for growing the most lush and full baskets right here in our greenhouses. At any given time, we have thousands of baskets growing in our greenhouse. These truly have a unique look, with green plump leaves, and they are quite slow growing. Place them in a spot with bright light and allow their soil to dry in between each watering.
String of Pearls: Another staple houseplant! String of Pearls are a succulent that trails and has little round leaves that look like pearls. This continues to be a very popular houseplant.
Les Serres Robert Plante Greenhouses can be found at 4228 Navan Rd. in Navan, Ont.