Style Scoop: These Are the Trendiest Houseplants in Honolulu
We chat with the crew at Kaka‘ako’s newest plant shop, Mari’s Urban Garden, about plant therapy, the best low-maintenance plants and its ultra-rare $1,500 monstera.
There’s no denying that houseplants are having a moment right now. To get the scoop on what the buzz is all about, we chatted with Erica Mangus, manager of Mari’s Urban Garden, a little oasis of a botanical shop in Kaka‘ako and one of our new favorite spots to pick up a plant baby or two.
When did the shop open? You’re a family business, right?
Erica Mangus: We opened February 2021. And yes! Owner Mari Lau’s dad, Fred Lau, owns Mari’s Gardens, which is an 18-acre farm and plant nursery in Mililani that’s open to the public.
How did the idea to open Mari’s Urban Garden come about?
EM: Mari went to college in San Francisco and while there she started collecting a lot of houseplants in her dorm. After she graduated, she moved back home and felt inspired to open a plant shop in an urban setting, like the ones in S.F.
Why do you think houseplants are having such a moment? And who has been buying them?
EM: They gained a lot of popularity during quarantine. When people were staying home it was a way to bring life and a bit of nature into the home.
It’s also very on-trend décor-wise. We’re seeing a lot of younger people in their 20s and 30s who are looking for easy plants for apartments or the office.
One of your Instagram posts mentions plants as a form of therapy…
Yes! Raising a plant from when it’s young and taking care of it can be like therapy. I think they can definitely contribute to happiness.
What are the trendiest plants to have right now?
EM: I would say monstera and anthurium. Any tropical plant, really. Begonias are also really popular. And the string of hearts—it’s a trailing plant that’s kind of like a succulent with heart-shaped leaves.
I saw that you have a collector plant section…
EM: Those are our rare plants. We have a variegated monstera right now that’s $1,500. It has a genetic mutation that makes the leaves white. We also have a couple of Philodendron gloriosum, which have heart-shaped leaves with white veins. And we have a couple of philodendron white princess plants, which have white marbling on the leaves.
Which plants would you recommend for people like me who always forget to water?
EM: For new plant parents or ones who don’t have a lot of time for watering, I always recommend the ZZ plant and the snake plant. They’re both low-maintenance. The ZZ plant can do low light and only has to be watered every couple of weeks. And both are known as good luck plants.
I love that you have a dried flower bar! I haven’t seen that anywhere else…
EM: We just launched it at the end of last year. We have premade arrangements in vases or as bouquets. Or you can choose your own varieties. We have a lot of the ones that are popular right now, like pampas grass, colorful bunny tail grass and eucalyptus, and flowers like lavender and straw flowers. Sometimes we’ll even dry our own roses.