What do you not find? Funky, unique seeds and bulbs you do not see in an ordinary garden. The chocolate lace flower, for example, blooms in a fantastic spectrum of dusty pink, maroon and burgundy. Apricot lemonade cosmo, aptly named after its bright orange petals and deep, purple core, or the white cap peony, has edible flowers that taste as good as they look.
Co-founders Willow King and Julie Carson created Plantgem as a destination for those seeking to find the unexpected. The DTC gardening company sells in-season supplies that you won’t find anywhere else. Plantgem, hand-curated by passionate farmers-florists and breeders from around the world, is a one-stop-shop for the most discerning green thumbs.
“We saw an opportunity to create a truly modern garden brand, one with a curated catalog with different varieties [of flowers] which really makes our hearts sing, “Carson tells Well + Good.” We wanted gardening to be more inclusive and loose and funky than the more traditional offerings. “
Carson and King met more than ten years ago and were quickly linked together over their shared love of flowers. But not just planting old flowers, the ones they could only buy at their boutique florists. Purple pansies and buttery daffodils would not cut it. They wanted to grow above-ground seeds and bulbs to compete with any botanical garden.
Take peonies, for example. Everyone loves peonies, they are amazing. But come spring when they start to bloom, drive around your neighborhood and you will find limited varieties of peonies in most gardens you come across. But there is hundreds of different varieties of peonies growing in a rainbow of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes. But because the big-box retailers all come from the same or similar wholesalers, you will still find cookie peonies in yard, after yard, after yard.
“We continue to be amazed at how many varieties blow our minds that you don’t see in any of the conventional channels,” King said. “I think it’s part of the movement of small flower farmers who revive heirlooms, make their own breeding or work closely with smaller growers and move away from the ‘big-box’ varieties to interesting color schemes and – habits.”
These independent breeders and local flower farmers are Plantgem’s lifeline. Based on garden trends, seasonal and personal preferences, Carson and King put together a selection of seeds, bulbs and planted roots that are ready to plant. Fear not, you do not have to be a gardener as all the products available online are seasonal (everything you buy right now is meant to be planted in the fall to bloom next spring). Planet Gem provides specific, detailed care instructions for each variety.
Whether the seeds germinate or not is less important than the journey of Carson and King. “People do not know that they can actually cultivate these things. But we do not give them something that is really difficult to cultivate,” King said. “We have lots of master gardeners with space to play with who are excited to shop our varieties, but we’re also trying to reach out to people who are working on their fire escapes in Brooklyn for the very first time.”
Plant save seeds, bulbs and roots
Plant Gem, Ranunculus Butterfly Theseus Bulbs (5 Tubers) – $ 34.00
The butterfly ranunculus is Carson’s personal favorite flower. It blooms with a surprise of shiny, opalescent petals. “I planted buttercups in my garden in Colorado and I had forgotten them – two and a half months later I have these little beauties.”
Buy a pack of five tubers or bulbs that you can plant now for spring flowers of red and pink colors.
Plant Gem, Tulip Black Parrot (5 Bulbs) – $ 17.00
You’ve never seen tulips like these before. Black parrot tulips grow in a moody, dark purple-red color, replacing smooth petals with wrinkled, shaggy petals. Plant them in the fall, anytime before the ground freezes (the winter cold is actually good for them), and watch them bloom until spring.
Plant gem, white cap peony root – $ 34.00
Do you want the white hat peonies we mentioned? Buy these live roots to set in the fall and winter to bloom in the spring (just note: it can take a few seasons to get reliable blooms. Patience!) These are certainly not your cookie peonies – the magenta red petals outweigh a brilliant white center for a smarter look.
Plant Gem, Chocolate Lace Flower Seeds – $ 6.00
The classic seed packets you would find in the hardware store have just been given a serious upgrade. All the seeds of the brand come in a slim black tube with instructions on how to plant. To cultivate these blonde beauties, plant the seeds after your last frost in late spring. As summer rolls around, you will have a shower of dusty, delicate flowers that are an excellent homemade dye.
Plantgem, Fritillaria Meleagris Mixed – $ 15.00
Fritallaria is often called the “Snake’s Head”, thanks to its reptile pattern on the petals. The colors range from dark purple to pink, all stained with light spots. They are also super low maintenance – just plant in the fall and enjoy next year.
Plantgem, Moonstone China Aster Seeds – $ 6.00
Asters are annuals, so they bloom only once a year. But do not let that deter you – these naughty boys bloom for a long time and burst into a pale belly that looks good when they grow in your garden bed or are cut into a bouquet.
Plant Gem, Amaryllis Rilona Pear – $ 18.00
These amaryli bulbs produce 2-3 stems each with several flowers on each stem so you are sure to get satiated by flowers. You plant them indoors and they grow in a burning orange that will stand out in a sea of greenery that makes up your indoor jungle.
Plantgem, Muscari Pink Sunrise Onion (12 Onions) – $ 25.00
Do you want to grow a string of pearls? Muscari is the second best thing. They bloom in small pink spikes that resemble the gemstone, naturalize, or spread out in delicious beds as they grow. Like aster, it is super elastic, so plant your bulbs and enjoy.
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