Millennials and Zoomers love houseplants. I know this because my millennial Zoomer daughter says so. She also says you aren’t cool unless you have at least five houseplants. That explains the overnight success of Plant Daddy Co., a hot new East Sac store selling tropical houseplants.
The shop is the offspring of self-proclaimed plant daddies Jake Dill and his husband, Luke Swanson, a pair of millennials with a passion for houseplants. Billed as “the greenest and gayest plant shop in Sacramento,” the store is filled with plants from floor to ceiling, everything from a tiny African violet to a 13-foot Norfolk Island pine with spindly branches that droop elegantly toward the ground.
Why houseplants? And why now? “There are a lot of new plant people because of the pandemic,” explains Dill, who spent 15 years working in the luxury retail industry. “People are home and need something to fill the void. They also want something to take care of.” Instagram, too, plays a role, with people showing off their newly spiffed-up quarantine quarters, replete with the de rigueur fiddle-leaf fig tree seen in every design mag these days.
The shop has a number of eye-popping plants, such as an Alocasia gigantea that looks like something out of Jurassic Park, with thick, jutting stalks and leaves the size of a baby elephant’s ears. Prices range from $15 for a 4-inch plant to almost $600 for the largest specimens. Dill and Swanson can hardly keep up with demand, selling out their inventory every week. Their customers include kids whose parents bring them in to pick out a plant to brighten up their desk in this era of distance learning. “It’s been insane,” says Dill. “We can’t keep up.”
With people coming from as far away as San Francisco to shop at Plant Daddy, Dill and Swanson are looking to expand their customer base by offering nationwide shipping. Meanwhile, they are happy to inject light and life into a very dark time. Says Dill, “Houseplants bring calmness and tranquility to your home.”