I love to garden. My Instagram stories often contain a daily walk through our garden. It’s a borderline obsession. I am of the firm belief that anyone can garden. The key to successful gardening is education. Most of what I know I learned from other gardeners, gardening books, trial and error, and having good relationships with the folks at my local Houston gardening centers.
Locally owned Houston gardening centers and plant nurseries know our city better than the big box stores. They typically stock plants that will grow in our area, including natives. They are also a wealth of information and knowledge, and in my experience, they’re always ready and willing to talk about plants and gardening.
Houston has many great nurseries and gardening centers, and these are my top 5 favorites:
4537 N Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX 77018
Wabash is like someone took all my urban gardening and homesteading dreams and dropped them all in one store. It’s been a Houston staple for over 100 years and it’s my go-to for veggies and herbs (and the occasional ornamental plant or fruit tree too). They are a wealth of knowledge. I’ve gone in with questions like, “I have weird white goo on my pepper plants, what do I do?” Or, “I read about this exotic vegetable I want to try to grow, can you get it?” If they don’t have the answer they’ll find out for you. They’re big on education and hold regular classes on everything from beekeeping to organic soil prep.
Wabash is also a feed store. My daughter always visits the baby bunnies, chicks, and chickens (as I daydream of having a few yard birds of our own). Occasionally they’ll have puppies or kittens. They have a resident parrot who will silently judge you from its cage. Want to take up beekeeping? They can help. Need organic feed or treats for your dog, cat, chicken, or rabbit, they have it. Want to buy a chicken leash, Wabash is the place. Bonus, they’re expanding soon which means more parking and hopefully a dedicated classroom space to come.
502 W 18th Street, Houston, TX 77008
Joshua’s is one of the few places in Houston that still feels like Houston to me. It has a level of quirkiness that I’ve only ever known in this city. They have a wide selection of Texas natives as well as landscaping staples and an array of succulents and cacti. The staff and Joshua himself are always around to help and answer any questions.
My favorite part of Joshua’s, besides the plants, are all of the incredible treasures in the warehouse. There’s pottery, antiques, sculptures, and an incredible collection of rare gems, rocks and crystals. You can find fountains and iron mermaids. You can even choose a geode and Joshua will crack it open for you. It’s such a fun place to explore and definitely one of my favorite places in all of Houston.
611 East 11th Street, Houston, TX 77008
I remember first visiting Buchanan’s with my mom when I was very young and it was next to Hickory Hollow on Heights Blvd. Now it sits on 11th street and they are forever expanding. Buchanan’s is a huge garden center and there is something there for every single kind of gardener.
If you’re looking for an exotic indoor plant you saw on Pinterest, you can probably find it in their expansive greenhouse. They have a massive selection of natives and vegetable and fruiting plants. One of our favorite things is all the signs they have on their plants, noting what species of butterfly they attract. They have fountains and pots and even a selection of home goods in The Bungalow. It’s worth a visit, even if it’s just for the floral eye candy.
1015 Arlington Street, Houston, TX 77008
Zone 9 Tropicals is a gem of a nursery. It is a true backyard jungle, literally, as it’s housed in the backyard of a Heights bungalow. They are a treasure trove of the rare and ornate. I once walked in and said, “I was drinking a coffee on a patio in a Guatemalan Rainforest and the arbor was covered with the most amazing yellow and red flowering vine.” They knew exactly what I was talking about and had one in stock.
Zone 9 Tropicals is also a great local place for sourcing awesome indoor plants like Monsteras, Calatheas, and Philodendrons. It’s definitely one of my favorite secret spots. They sell online as well, but go, walk the nursery, you will not be disappointed. Make sure you check their Facebook page for current hours as they are limited.
21328 TX-249, Houston, TX 77070
Plants for all Seasons on 249 is a great nursery for just about everything. They have a beautiful greenhouse, full of special indoor plant species and loads of tropicals including carnivorous plants. They always have a large variety of herbs and vegetables. My daughter loves shopping their annuals; pansies in the cooler months and marigolds in the warmer months. They have bushes and trees and a huge selection of larger plants in gallon containers.
Plants for All Seasons 249 is my go-to for specialty soils and soil conditioners and amendments. If you have questions about your soil, ask. I also take a lot of inspiration from all the assorted container planting arrangements they have around the garden center. It’s tried and true and if I’m looking for something specific like Creeping Jenny or Yellow Pansies, they usually have it.
You don’t have to be a master gardener to have a garden. You just have to learn a little bit and go to one of the Houston gardening centers or nurseries that is going to set you up for success. Strike up a conversation; these local businesses are there to help.