If you go to Calvert’s website, you’ll begin to see a clearer picture of how plant people really feel.

“At Calvert’s, our mission is to beautify your space with tropical plants for your home, office and everywhere in between,” the site reads.

According to Victor Goetz, owner of Calvert’s in OKC and Cohlmia’s in Tulsa, the businesses bring in plants from Florida, California and Arizona.

“We carry all types of plants, but we specialize in tropicals,” he says. “It’s a cool place – we’ve been a nursery since 1907!”

Goetz says that a typical day for Calvert’s includes buying, designing, installing and caring for plants all over the metroplex. He adds that the care of different type of plants varies and that they carry many varieties that are low maintenance.

At Southwood Landscape and Garden Center in Tulsa, employee and plant expert Paul James says the business is working hard to be self-sufficient.

“We actually grow a substantial number of the plants we sell at our greenhouse production facility, which is just a mile and a half from our retail operation,” he says. James notes the business is especially well known for mums and pansies. 

ad

“Our plants are irrigated with water from a natural spring on the property and the plants are acclimated to our climate,” he says. “We do buy plants from other sources, but we’re trying to grow more ourselves every year.”

There are a few hurdles to jump over when caring for such a high volume of plants.

“Weather is a challenge for sure, be it the heat of summer, the cold in winter, or the inevitable storms that blow through,” says James. “The biggest challenge is making sure everything gets watered, and we have several employees whose only job is to water.”

Over the years, Southwood has also expanded its product line to include gifts and home décor of all kinds for use indoors and out, as well as items such as Christmas trees.

It seems a genuine fondness for plants is required by all plant store owners. Jen Semmler, owner of The Plant Shoppe in Oklahoma City, agrees.

“We require [employees] to be obsessed with plants,” she says. “And also to possess a love for people and the community.”

This popular site for plants carries a wide selection of interior house plants, including tropicals, succulents and tillandsias (a perennial flowering plant of the evergreen species).

As for taking care of a massive quantity of plants, Semmler says having a schedule is the secret to success.

The Credentials

Looking to work in a plant store? James offers some sage advice.

“We look for people who fit into our culture, especially those who are passionate about plants and committed to customer service,” he says. “We have people with backgrounds in chemistry, forestry, business, marketing – you name it. 

“We do have people with degrees in horticulture and related fields, but a lot of our staff we describe as ‘plant geeks,’ many of whom have no formal training in horticulture but who, nevertheless, have significant knowledge of plants.”