We Asked 4 Designers What They Always Buy at Trader Joe’s, and They All Said the Same Thing

published May 18, 2024
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Trader Joe's retailer storefront, Saugus Massachusetts USA
Credit: QualityHD / Shutterstock

There are plenty of reasons to shop at Trader Joe’s. There’s the food, of course, but also the Instagram-famous crackling candles, the top-tier cleaning products, and let’s not forget about the viral mini totes

But there’s another section you may have overlooked at this popular grocery store chain: The surprisingly great plant department. From seasonal blooms to potted plants, it’s so good even the pros — aka interior designers — can’t pass these offerings up. Because let’s face it: No space feels complete without a cheerful vase of flowers or a thriving houseplant. 

“I am a firm believer that you should always have some fresh flowers or branches in your home,” says Brady Tolbert, interior designer and creative director of Bobby Berk. “It can instantly bring life into a space and make it feel more inviting and soothing.”

So grab your shopping bags and check out the four Trader Joe’s plant picks designers always add to their carts when they see them in stock. 

Credit: Design: Shaun Crha, Photo: Charlotte Lea Photography

Fresh Flowers

From pretty peonies to fragrant lilies, the Trader Joe’s plant section features an array of beautiful bouquets to choose from. Designer Shaun Crha of Wrensted Interiors always opts for a bunch of unassuming chamomile flowers. “They’re such a cheerful addition to any room, and they won’t break the bank,” he explains. “To keep them looking their best, change the water daily and clip off any extra leaves below the waterline.”

Credit: Design: Kerry Vasquez, Photo: Sara Tramp

Trendy Houseplants

If you’re looking for a longer-term commitment than a bouquet of cut blooms can offer, Trader Joe’s has you covered with trendy affordable houseplants. “Honestly, the quality of the houseplants for the price is unbeatable,” says designer Kerry Vasquez. “Right now, my local Trader Joe’s has monsteras in, and I wish I had room for another!” She suggests potting yours in a planter and pairing it with a plant stand to instantly elevate your space.

Credit: Design: Brady Tolbert, Photo: Tessa Neustadt

Seasonal Stems

TJ’s floral arrangement offerings vary with the seasons, but spring brings a bounty of choices. Tolbet plays favorites, though, noting his “go-to is two to three bunches of white tulips.” He also recommends committing to one type of flower and buying stems in bulk. “The simplicity of repeating the same flower in a large vase versus creating your own mixed arrangement feels graphic yet timeless,” he explains.

Credit: Julia Arceri

Greenery and Foliage

Pro tip: Don’t overlook Trader Joe’s sprigs of greenery and bunches of branches. They can liven up a living room mantel, offer a neutral alternative to colorful floral arrangements as a kitchen table centerpiece, or even bring relaxing spa vibes to a bathroom. “I pick up a bundle of eucalyptus to hang in my shower,” says designer Justin DiPiero. “When the steam hits, the whole bathroom is filled with a wonderful smell.”