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There's a magnetic pull to leafy nooks—they clear our air, soothe anxiety, and help keep us focused and productive. In other words, plants make us feel better.

Luckily, there's no shortage of beautiful places to score a wicked succulent in the Bay Area, and lord knows we've whiled away many a Sunday at Flora Grubb. But just as coming upon an unexpectedly lush interior delights us every time, and as an exotic bloom on an otherwise minimalist desk can brighten a dreary workday, finding new jungle-licious moments restores our energy and give us something fresh to Instagram about. And when we need something truly unique—a rare hybrid orchid, a deftly nurtured Japanese bonsai, or a sculptural arrangement—these local shops provide an ever curious plant-buying experience.

(Courtesy of Living Green)

Living Green

If you haven't been to the masterfully curated warehouse that is Living Green, as a plant lover, you haven't lived. Filled with all the weird and wonderful things you'd need to create an exotic garden retreat—antiques sourced from cultures and places all over the world, ceramics from the famed Gladding McBean, specialty furniture, and of course plenty of tropical foliage, you could easily spend hours wandering through the mystical indoor-outdoor showroom in Bayview, which gets bonus points for also housing the hip Guerrero Gallery. Living Green springs from the mind of founder and landscape designer David Dalbok, who's well known in aesthetic circles for his gorgeous green spaces and vertical gardens. // 1485 Custer Ave. (Bayview), livinggreen.com


(Courtesy of Ixia)

Ixia

It began as a flower stand near Stonestown, but since it opened on Upper Market in 1983, Ixia has been well known to dwellers of the Castro and beyond for its dramatically earthy windows, dressed with organic sculptures of floating branches, driftwood, soft mosses, and reeds of bamboo. After 32 years in business, founder Gary Weiss sold the business in 2016 but its tradition remains—this is still the place for naturalists who find inspiration in curious arrangements. Of course you will also find the usual pretty blooms and tropicals—bromeliads, orchids, and anemones—as well as more modern artful takes on smaller bouquets for special occasions. // 2331 Market St. (Upper Market), ixiasf.com


(Courtesy of Utsuwa Floral Design)

Utsuwa Floral Design

This ultra-zen setting has gone haywire with lush blossoms, sun-soaked bonsai, green sprigs, and branches and air plants strewn about the occasional Buddha statue. Owner and Tokyo native Hiro Hayama learned ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, from his grandmother, and bonsai techniques from his great uncle, an award-winning bonsai master. After maintaining his shop in Tokyo's Suginami district for 12 successful years, Hayama brought his act to San Francisco in 2010. Go for the Japanese bonsais as well as a variety of cacti, orchids, and hanging plants. // 1288 Polk St. (TenderNob), utsuwa.myshopify.com


(Courtesy of Plants and Friends)

Plants and Friends

When the much-loved Birch closed its doors, Hayes Valley was lacking for greenery. Plants and Friends opened in October 2017 with the hope of creating an experience beyond your regular ole garden center. With pastel blue walls, the space is part nursery, part home goods store with a selection of plants that will fit on your floor, coffee table, and shelves. There are hanging varieties and pet-friendly ones too. Owner Nick Forland crafted the woodwork that supports all the roughage; there's even a potting station in the back. // 542 Laguna St. (Hayes Valley), plantsandfriends.club


(Courtesy of @betweenballoons)

Flowerland

Come here for a plant, a caffeine fix, and an Instagram shot. With a slew of indoor/outdoor plants and endless pretty corners, Flowerland is a lovely afternoon hangout. Don't write it off as a hipster hot spot though—this place has been a fixture on Solano Avenue in Albany since the 1940s. In 2008, current owner Carly Dennet took over the place and gave it a makeover, though the old marquee sign remains. Shop a variety of California native plants, unusual blooms, and, of course, a solid cup of brew from Highwire's coffee trailer. // 1330 Solano Ave. (Albany), flowerlandshop.com


(Courtesy of e&B photography)

Shelldance Orchid Gardens

Just south of San Francisco on Highway 1 is a hidden oasis with history. In 1949, Herb Hager transformed an artichoke field into a state-of-the-art greenhouse to raise and hybridize orchids. He eventually moved to Salinas, and leased the nursery to a group of artists and horticulturalists. In 1976, Hager's Vallemar Orchids became Shelldance Nursery (named for shells found in the area reminiscent of Carmen Miranda's headpieces), which quickly took on a community and environmental focus—you can take classes in meditation and yoga, and even host your wedding here. You'll find sprawling grounds and multiple garden rooms (often used for events), as well as an art gallery and gift shop. You'll be enchanted by the canopies of white moth orchids and gardens of bromeliads, gesneriads, and begonias. Benches draped in Spanish moss invite you to take a seat. // 2000 Hwy 1 (Pacifica), shelldance.com

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