LA's Famed Cactus Store Brings The Desert To New York This Summer

LA's Famed Cactus Store Brings The Desert To New York This Summer

Tara Bellucci
Jun 20, 2017

Looking to take your prickly plant posse to the next level? The folks from the Insta famous Cactus Store—located in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood—are bringing their expertise out east, for a summer long pop up in New York City.

The Cactus Store, which opened in 2014, doesn't just buy generic, identical succulents or cacti; The shop and education center specializes in rare and bizarre varieties of desert plants from around the world, and has become a go to for design minded plant parents.

"Most plant shops will just go to suppliers and get twenty flats of the same thing," Carlos Morera, one of the Cactus Store's three founders, told GQ. "What makes our store unique is that it's really based around the idea of providing specimen plants to the public."

The plants are sourced by the owners, sometimes right from people's backyards. "We're always on the hunt," says co-owner Max Martin. "The 'perfect plants' are usually uninteresting to us. We like ones that feel like they grew in nature and have character and are sculptural in a way that's not in line with most people's idea of a cactus."

This affinity for weird and wonderful specimens has also made the trip to New York, starting with the space. The pop up is located in a greenhouse expressly built for The Cactus Store in the back of a vacant lot on Essex Street in Chinatown/LES, with the rest of the lot serving as a private garden with benches.

Inside, you'll find plants that range in age from five years to four hundred (!!), and for prices that go from $30 to $4,000. "We treat it a little more like a really special antique store," Martin says.

Even the planters have stories. Co-owner Jeff Kaplan told Curbed that "some of the terra-cotta pots were handmade in Mexico in the '70s and '80s, which the Cactus Store inherited from one of their sources who passed away and left behind two shipping containers full of them."

The NYC spot is open now through October, and will host artist, music and educational programming throughout the summer.

The Cactus Store is located at 5 Essex Street in New York, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm.

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