Spring Spruce Up:  Great Garden Centers in the Carolinas

by Kristy Tolley

Cultivate your green thumb with help from an independent garden center.

By Cindy Whitt

Budding plant enthusiasts and experienced green thumbs alike can discover something new at one of the locally-owned garden centers in the Carolinas. These shops were essential businesses during the pandemic and have safety guidelines in place so you and your family can have a worry-free shopping experience. We’ve highlighted seven stores staffed by plant lovers with extensive knowledge, expert advice and unmatched enthusiasm for helping you discover the joys of horticulture. Whether you’re an avid plant owner or a total newbie in the garden department, you’ll be well tended to at one of these garden centers!

Sip and Shop for Plants

Stop by the garden bar at Atlantic Gardening Company in Raleigh, North Carolina, and treat yourself to one of the local brews on tap. Then, stroll through six acres of outdoor plants, trees, and shrubs. The 5,000-square-foot greenhouse is stocked with rare indoor plants, air plants and one of the most diverse selections of orchids in the state.

Visit a DIY Terrarium Bar 

Located in downtown Durham, North Carolina, The ZEN Succulent is a neighborhood plant shop specializing in succulents and cacti. Make a custom plant habitat at the DIY terrarium bar with help from staff and leave with your own unique creation and tips to keep it healthy. They have a second storefront in nearby Raleigh.

Guilford Garden Center

Find Insta-Worthy Plants 

Snap a selfie for your feed with the trendy indoor plants near the #urbanjungle sign at Guilford Garden Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. The shop is easy to spot with its bright blue exterior adorned with a hand-painted sunflower. They don’t sell non-native invasive plants, so you can be sure whatever you purchase will be safe for your home and garden.

Visit a Whimsical Cottage 

A local favorite for over 40 years, House of Plants in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a former mill cottage converted into a cozy storefront. Peruse their wide range of indoor and outdoor plants, fresh-cut flowers and a curated collection of gifts made by local artists. Their outside space boasts a large selection of yard art and pottery.

Build a Plant Showpiece

Call ahead and ask for a container arrangement lesson from the staff at B.B. Barns Garden Center in south Asheville, North Carolina. Using an assortment of filler, spiller and thriller plants from their vast selection spanning four and a half acres, you will leave with your own unique indoor or outdoor arrangement.

Start an Herb Garden

Stock up on your favorite herbaceous and aromatic plants at Carolina Garden World in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Every summer they sell more than 50 different species and varieties of herbs. The shop is also known for having unusual and hard-to-find plants, and the staff is happy to help you find the right one to add to your collection.

Shop and Save 

Locals have shopped at Wilson’s Nursery & Garden Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina, for more than 68 years. The nursery has grown to include 23 greenhouses and 10 acres of land, allowing them to produce 75 percent of the plants they sell. They pass the savings onto customers, so you’ll find competitive prices on native plants, trees and shrubs.

Plant Perks

Have you ever noticed how homes in magazines always have plants artfully placed throughout a room? Designers know the secret to bringing texture and warmth into a space is by adding greenery. And plants aren’t just pretty to see. Caring for them is a calming activity that helps you unwind and relieve stress. As you hone your green thumb, you’ll be proud of what you have accomplished when you watch your plants grow and thrive.

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