Walking into The Flora Culture, you are greeted by towering walls of plants and ceramic pots, the coolness of a modern Scandinavian home, and the warmness of passionate plant people. Tucked between a French bistro and a spa, minutes away from The Galleria, this quaint “boutique” is a small oasis for plant lovers and plant amateurs alike, which was the intention of owners Matthew and Jemine Oakes.

The shop, which opened in November 2019, focuses on education and experience for first-time plant owners and niche plant collectors alike.

“I think it’s good to go to a place where you can get good information [about plant care],” Matthew Oakes says.

Education

At the store, Matthew Oakes is the resident plant expert.

No, really, he is.

He completed the Texas Master Gardener program at age 13. His mom, Carol, has a green thumb that helped too. She, in fact, volunteers at the shop one day a week and adds her plant knowledge to the mix. The two are practically plant doctors.

“People reach out to us a lot when they have an issue, like a plant pest, that they don’t know how to treat or something else is going on,” Jemine Oakes says. No fear, Matthew or Carol will help.

Plus, they’ll support you even before you get into the dirt. You can bring in a picture of a space in your home that needs a plant, and they’ll help you pick one out, which will fit not only the style of the room, but also your lifestyle and the needs of the plant.

“I also think knowledge really makes a difference,” Jemine Oakes says. “It’s really all about giving knowledge and empowering a client.” 

Experience

“We wanted to simplify the experience,” Matthew Oakes says. “We do stuff like pot a plant for you for free or drill a hole in the bottom of your pot—little things like that that people may not know you need to do.”

The Flora Culture offers interactive workshops, too, such as how to repot plants or propagate overgrown plants. Oh, and did we mention they offer wine, champagne, and charcuterie boards at these classes? Sounds like a Millennial heaven.

They haven’t had a workshop since March thanks to Covid-19, but that hasn’t stopped the Oakeses from educating people on plants; check out their Instagram, and you’ll see they post educational videos often.

Do you just want pretty flowers without the fuss of watering? You can get those at The Flora Culture as well.

Jemine Oakes might not have as much plant knowledge as her husband or his mother, but she makes up for it in floral arrangement design—another service offered at the store. However, she explains Covid-19 majorly slowed the flower supply chain, so they currently only make pre-ordered arrangements.

Life grows on

When they opened last year, the Oakeses had no idea what 2020 would bring. Enter a Covid-19 closure and a boom in houseplant popularity. Jemine Oakes says the higher demand for their plants has helped the business through the pandemic.

“We shut down [in March, because of Covid-19], and we had to change our business pretty quickly,” Jemine says. “We added delivery almost as quickly as possible.”

For a $5 fee, they deliver plants to your door after you buy them on their website.

Between plant collectors digging through new shipments of rare plants on “delivery day” and the person who took up caring for houseplants during quarantine, the Oakeses say The Flora Culture is a safe haven for anyone interested in plants.

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