The RHS has opened its first ever standalone shop at Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent, to meet the demands of the new generation of young houseplant lovers.
RHS The Plant Space, a haven for all things houseplant, officially opens today. With an area of 1,600 sq ft, the new store is a pilot which could potentially be rolled out to other areas and will cater for all, from novices to green-fingered pros.
Sales of RHS houseplants have risen by 32% in the last three years since the pandemic, when people who did not have gardens wanted some greenery in their homes and to begin growing.
Last year, a study by the RHS and the University of Reading found that attractive plants that are happy and healthy give a boost to well-being in homes and offices. Healthy plants with a dense canopy, similar to that of many of the nation’s favourite houseplants such as weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), Calathea and Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), resulted in the most positive effects on the way people felt about their indoor environment. Palms were also found to have particularly positive associations, as they reminded people of holidays and happy memories.
Queries to the RHS website relating to houseplants have risen by 13% this year so far. The vast majority of queries by members contacting RHS advisory services relate to cultivation, followed by assistance with identification and then over-wintering.
Houseplants will make up the bulk of RHS The Plant Space’s offer, ranging from common everyday varieties to some larger specimens and specialist stock such as terrariums. Shoppers will also be able to buy anything needed to care for and display the plants purchased. The shop will also offer homeware and books, and some lifestyle and home product ranges.
RHS shop to host events
There will also be at least two in-shop events per month, ranging from talks and demos including on how to make your own kokodama or build a terrarium, or how to care for potted bulbs.
The RHS already has garden centres in its five gardens across the country and a considerable online presence. RHS The Plant Space will be an addition to its existing retail complement.
Damian Powell, the RHS’s Head of Retail, said: “The RHS is very excited about the opening of the new pilot store, RHS The Plant Space, at Bluewater shopping centre. This new store concept will focus on immersing our customers into the amazing world of houseplants, where there will be a wide variety of plants available.
“From easy care to building your own terrarium, our team will be happy to support our customers with selecting the right plant for them. There will also be a wide variety of advice available, engaging workshops and everything you would need to care for your plants at home.”
James Waugh, Centre Director at Bluewater, commented: “We are delighted to announce the opening of the first ever RHS stand-alone store, RHS The Plant Space, here at Bluewater.” “We’re always looking for ways to diversify our offering, and The Plant Space is such a unique store which we know will draw attention, not just locally, but from further afield too. We can’t wait to see our guests browsing the fantastic array of houseplants available in store, and taking part in the workshops.”