Local community is the special ingredient that turns your city and neighborhood into a home base. In celebration of the opening of Common Addams, our biggest home in Chicago to date, we interviewed a few businesses making a big impact in the Chicago area. Keep reading for some plant apartment tips from Sprout Home.
Nowadays, people are much better at keeping their phone battery alive than any plant they try to grow in their homes. Which is why Sprout Home is more than just a plant store, it’s every apartment dweller’s dream. Their Chicago flagship store is filled with hanging plants, succulents, terrarium supplies, blooming florals, and most importantly, knowledgeable and friendly staff on a mission to help people find the plant perfect for their lifestyle and needs.
We were so inspired by this mission, that we reached out to Stephen Hill, Sprout Home Chicago’s Creative Director, to learn more of their origin story and how anyone can incorporate more greenery into their space.
Hi Stephen! Can you take us back to the origin of Sprout Home? How did the business start?
It all started when our founder, Tara Heibel, discovered a love of plants by building gardens around rehabbed homes in the eclectic West Town neighborhood of Chicago. She was so inspired by the impact green spaces had on people’s mental health and interactions in an urban environment that she opened the first Sprout Home in 2003 with the goal to help city residents reconnect with plants in their homes.
The way we see it is that gardening has been a long-standing tradition for generations. However, Sprout Home focuses on bridging the gap between this tradition and the spontaneity and excitement that comes from combining unusual plants to create refreshing new spaces.
Sprout Home has grown with Tara’s guidance of many gardeners, florists, and other creatives to be what it is today, with locations in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood as well as the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. We offer workshops, unique design opportunities, and an inspiring retail environment for the garden and for the home. Our staff specializes in approachable and unmatched design recommendations for both the budding and experienced plants person.Also…where else can you peruse plants while listening to playlists each named after and inspired by different genera of plants?
Plant-inspired playlists? Sign us up! Outside of selling plants and florals, how does Sprout Home interact with the local community?
We love our neighborhood, that’s why we’re here! Like any small business, Sprout Home is very much a part of the local community and flavor of the city. I often remind myself how lucky I am to see familiar faces every week. With so many routines and to-do lists, it’s really a joy to interact and connect with others that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the fortune to meet!
In terms of sourcing locally, we do our best to curate products that are unique and often not found elsewhere, or at the very least, not all in one place. Our inventory sustains not only the needs of our customers but also directly supports small studios and makers from pots and planters produced in private studios to plants grown in small family-run production greenhouses.
Sprout Home also offers public workshops for everything plant-focused from a fun tutorial on terrarium basics, Kokedama and more. We want people to bond over their new love of plants, so we offer opportunities for private workshops for large groups, a unique birthday celebration, or even an office team-building exercise!
Why is it important for people to have more plants in their spaces — especially in cities?
Why not? In urban areas, many of us don’t have in-ground spaces, and when we do, they’re often not very large. However, any plant, even just a few in the home environment, offers something that furniture or art cannot. Your sofa definitely can’t adapt to new environments and change during seasonal shifts! Plants also support our well-being from the boost of oxygen they provide and their ability to force us to slow down and nurture.
Personally, having a little plant thrive within my own home sustains my sense of wonder, feeds my intellectual side, and inspires ingenuity every time I cut flowers from my garden guide vines along my living room wall. Yes, you read that correctly: I have vines growing over my wall inside my apartment!
People can be intimidated by the idea of starting to take care of plants, but it’s important to remember that the process of learning how to take care of a thriving micro-garden in your own home will give you an added sense of wonder and joy! You don’t need to be a perfect plant-parent to cultivate a healthy and blooming environment within your own home.
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Want to hear more about Sprout Home and all-things plants?
*Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Sprout Home has closed for business at this time, but there are still gift cards available. In addition, they’re currently still offering outdoor garden design and installations, as contact with others is minimal to none. Customers who are interested in having a garden design or landscape work done can inquire on their website through this form. To help support the staff during this time, you can find their relief fund here.