PlantLush: Botanical boutique spreads roots in downtown San Jose


Sam Lai

Plants and local art fill the boutique from wall to wall.

Sam Lai, Reporter

Local business owner Leandra Jordan lit up the grey commercial area of downtown San Jose with touches of lush greenery in her botanic boutique, PlantLush.

PlantLush, on East Santa Clara Street, originally opened on March 10 but the uncertainty of the looming shelter-in-place order forced Jordan to postpone the opening day. 

But the pandemic did not stop the plant store from flourishing.

The business boasts a wide variety of houseplants, from succulents to vegetable seeds, offering the community a new indoor hobby.

“Right during the pandemic, a lot of people were spending a lot more time indoors,” said Eden Conghuyen, 22, manager of PlantLush. “They were buying a lot more houseplants, so the store was really busy in the first couple of months.”

While shelter-in-place orders were in effect in Santa Clara County, Conghuyen said plants played an important role in teaching people important lessons.

“Plants teach people a lot about patience and kind of just being able to adapt to your surroundings,” Conghuyen said. “ Plants grow if they’re given the right amount of light and the right amount of water, but when there’s a disequilibrium in that process, they’ll be sad.”

Conghuyen said that people are like plants when they are forced to adapt to a difficult situation and turn it into a positive outcome.

Kenny Jackson, 20, San Jose resident, said that plants have a therapeutic value during the pandemic.

“It gives people something to take care of,” Jackson said. “ I think human beings need something to care and see something grow.”

Tropical plants, indoor plants, California natives, drought resistant, succulents, cactus, and specimen plants can all be found at PlantLush.

Aside from the many plants displayed on the shelves, a large “Black Lives Matter” flag is hung on the top counter.

Jackson, who is Black, said that PlantLush understands her value.

“Giving you signs like ‘Black Lives Matter’ and stuff like that, it makes people feel kinda homey,” she said. 

Spencer Blair, 21, the plant specialist of the store, said that PlantLush wants to create a safe space for the community. 

“We won’t discriminate against anyone,” Blair said. “] We want to make plants affordable for everyone and available to everyone.” 

Plantlush expresses its values through displays of local art. They promote art that is made by local Black artists, such as rocks that feature paintings of Black historical figures. 

“I think one of our missions is to promote artwork and to promote local people on a local level,” Blair said. 

PlantLush is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and is closed on Mondays.