During the pandemic, our love for our gardens and houseplants blossomed (pun fully intended). Lockdowns helped us develop a new appreciation for the green spaces around us, and that growing love doesn’t appear to be wilting yet.
Houseplants are an enduring trend, the results of which are being played out on social media. According to research by Hammonds Furniture the #PlantTikTok feed has around 4.2 billion views, while on Instagram there’s more than 8.1 million searches for #houseplants.
Even Google searches for the term “biophilic design” increased by 21 per cent in 2021, signalling our desire to become more connected to the natural environment in our homes. And those of us fortunate enough to have outdoor spaces flocked to our gardens – most likely because more time spent there was associated with better wellbeing.
If you’re a horticultural novice, it can be bewildering to know where to start. Instagram images of manicured landscaped gardens and pristine indoor jungles may prompt lofty expectations but starting small might be the best way to begin enjoying plants.
That’s where plant subscription services come in. An ideal place to begin your green-fingered journey, they’re just as good for seasoned plant parents. There are those for cacti and succulents, trendy houseplants, seeds and flowering garden plants. Many also come with care instructions to help you keep your new plant babies thriving.
Best of all, these subscription services promise to regularly deliver a new live plant or seed set right to your door, and that in itself is hugely exciting.
How we tested
The surge in plant popularity means there’s now an abundance of subscription services for everything from live plants to seeds, so we’ve tested several to help you narrow down the search. We’ve included those that we think would be best for beginners and others for experienced plant parents, as well as some for indoors and others for the garden or a balcony pot space.
We’ve rated each one on quality, variety, value for money and charm factor. The packaging they arrived in and the frequency of deliveries has also been considered. So, if you’re looking to develop your growing collection and know-how of flora and fauna, then one of these blooming brilliant offerings is sure to impress.
The best plant subscription services for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Beards and Daisies houseplant subscription: £30, Beardsanddaisies.co.uk
- Best for British seeds – Seedlings Cards and Gifts British seed subscription: £36.99, Seedlingstrade.com
- Best for cacti and succulents – Barry’s Cactus Club: £15, Barryscactusclub.com
- Best for growing microgreens – Silly Greens: £5, Sillygreens.com
- Best for growing your own veg – Sow Clever clever growers 12-month vegetable growing subscription: £49.99, Sowclever.co.uk
- Best for pet-friendly plants – Plant Pet Club: £33, Plantpetclub.co.uk
- Best for kids – Mud and Bloom: £13.95, Mudandbloom.com
- Best prepaid subscription service – House of Kojo monthly 12-month service: £299.99, Houseofkojo.com
- Best for outdoor plants – Lazy Flora outdoor subscription: £45, Lazyflora.com
Beards and Daisies houseplant subscription: £30 a month, Beardsanddaisies.co.uk
- Frequency and duration: Monthly; no contract
Everybody loves surprises, and plant surprises have got to be up there with the very best, which is why we love the Beards and Daisies subscription service. It’s perfect for those unsure where to start and experienced plant lovers alike because this service supplies everything you need to start or build your own flourishing collection.
Each month you’ll be sent a surprise plant and pot, plus a postcard with all the guidance and care instructions you could need to keep your new blooms alive. Plus, there’s no commitment, and you’re free to cancel at any time once your collection has peaked – or you can’t move in your home for houseplants.
Our first delivery was a stunning and incredibly healthy rose-painted calathea measuring 37cm from the base of the pot to the top of the highest leaf. It came in a perfectly matched ribbed ceramic rose-pink pot, which looks fantastic in most settings. We were especially impressed with the recyclable packaging and think this subscription would make an excellent gift, too.
Seedlings Cards and Gifts British seed subscription: £36.99 a month, Seedlingstrade.com
Best: For British seeds
- Frequency and duration: Monthly; three, six or 12 months
If you’re keen to support bees, butterflies and insects, including declining native species, this letterbox subscription of British-grown wildflower seeds is the one for you. In our first box, we received a selection including cornflower, cottage garden mix and greater knapweed seeds, along with peat-free compost-coir discs and wooden name sticks to ensure we knew which seeds were for which plant. There was also a gorgeously illustrated monthly plant guide printed on brown cardboard and a floral notebook for documenting your seedlings’ progress.
Everything, including the cardboard and paper packaging, is fully recyclable, which we love. This subscription would make a charming gift for a budding gardener and local wildlife supporter, and it can be personalised for the lucky recipient.
Barry’s Cactus Club: From £15 a month, Barryscactusclub.com
Best: For cacti and succulents
- Frequency and duration: Monthly; rolling subscription that you can cancel anytime or three or 12 months prepaid for savings
Houseplants are trendy, but cacti and succulents are the it plants on the scene. There are hundreds of species, all of them beautiful in their own way. With this subscription service you can start a collection of spiky plant babies.
Each month you’ll receive an adorable succulent or cactus in its own ceramic pot. Our first delivery came with a healthy and happy Gymnocalycium damsii, a chin cactus to you or me, in a glazed green pot. It’s a fairly small baby and they typically don’t grow much taller than 10cm, but there were plenty of extras, so you get much more than just a bunch of pricks...
Also included in our box was a collectors’ annual in which we can keep the info cards that come with the plants, a cute gold cactus pin and two packets of microgreens seeds (one kale, one broccoli). If you’re unsure what to do with seeds, you can use the QR code on a card that comes in the box for all the information you need. Best of all, everything, including all packaging, was recyclable.
You can probably gather that we are quite enthralled by Barry’s Cactus Club. It’s a fun, generous subscription and not just for cacti lovers. In fact, the only thing that stopped us from naming this our best overall buy is that not everyone can have a spiky cactus in the house if they have young children or certain pets – but there are always unreachable shelves if you can’t resist.
Silly Greens: £5 a box, Sillygreens.com
Best: For growing microgreens
- Frequency and duration: Every week or every two, four or six weeks; cancel or adjust frequency anytime
Love the idea of growing your own food but not so fond of the idea of the hard work? If that sounds like you, you’ll love Silly Greens. This letterbox subscription requires almost zero effort: just rip the top off the box and the seeds will magically sprout and be ready for harvesting within a week or two. You’ll notice the seeds are sat in a clear seaweed jelly – this allows them to thrive and be posted live straight from the Suffolk farm where they’re planted – and the packaging is entirely recyclable.
Each box holds three varieties of microgreens or microherbs; we had pak choi, a brassica mix and Ethiopian cabbage in one, and leek, kale and pea in another. And there were loads of each crammed into the small boxes, so plenty for adding to salads and garnishing dishes.
To help your greens thrive, they are best placed on a windowsill for plenty of sunlight but not too much to dry them out, and they need a little watering occasionally. To harvest, simply cut with a pair of clean scissors. Make the most of them while they’re good because these crops aren’t designed to last, but we managed to get several portions of each. Now’s your chance to garnish like the pro chefs.
Sow Clever growers 12-month vegetable-growing subscription: £49.99, Sowclever.co.uk
Best: For growing your own veg
- Frequency and duration: Delivered quarterly (January, April, July and October); 12 months
From zero-effort growing to something you can get your hands dirty with, Sow Clever’s vegetable-growing subscription will have you living the good life and eating off the land in no time. The box arrived packed with plenty of compost discs, and a handy card with all the info you could need to be a successful vegetable grower, such as the sowing month, when to harvest and other helpful tips.
Our first delivery came with cauliflower, leek and tomato seeds. Throughout the year-long subscription you’ll be able to grow 12 different vegetables, including butternut squash, purple sprouting broccoli and fennel. Instead of a monthly delivery, this one arrives quarterly, in April, July and October.
Plant Pet Club: £33 a month, Plantpetclub.co.uk
Best: For pet-friendly plants
- Frequency and duration: Monthly; one, two or three months
Any cat or dog owner will know that, for some perplexing reason, our pets seem to be drawn to things that could make them sick. Our tester knows this only too well and has had to intervene before when their puppy decided it would be a clever idea to start chewing on leaves that they weren’t certain were safe. But those worries can be a thing of the past with this subscription service.
Plant Pet Club will send you either a single houseplant in a perfectly fitting pot or two plants in growers’ pots – the choice is yours. We opted for the former and received a striking calathea rufibarba tropistar in a trendy, industrial-chic cement pot.
The plant arrived vibrant with health, its velvety leaves richly green on the top and burgundy on the underside. It was well-packaged to keep it safe on its journey to us and there were no bruised or broken fronds, plus everything was recyclable and the company even uses a carbon-neutral delivery service. Along with the calathea came a postcard with comprehensive care details, including guidance on light, watering, feeding, grooming and toxicity, which gave us plenty of confidence that we could help it thrive in our home.
A brilliant feature of this service is that the brand starts by sending plants that are easy to care for and progresses by sending trickier species as the subscription moves along. We think this is brilliant and will help nurture new plant parents’ confidence.
Mud and Bloom: £13.95 a month, Mudandbloom.com
Best: For kids
- Frequency and duration: Monthly; one, three or six months
Children love nothing more than getting creative in the garden and watching seeds they have planted themselves flourish. And this is a brilliant subscription to keep them happy and encourage their little green fingers.
We were blown away by the number of fun things to do that came in our first box. Our young testers loved planting the cabbage seeds and checking the pots each morning to see how much they’ve grown, and we enjoyed reading the information cards together to learn about what we were planting. Beyond things to grow, the box included several garden crafts and everything needed to create them. We especially loved making a colourful windsock.
If you’ve more than one child, there’s also a sibling subscription available for more than enough activities for two little ones for only a few pounds more. But even the single box is excellent value for money, with so much packed in for hours of fun in the garden.
House of Kojo monthly 12-month service: £299.99, Houseofkojo.com
Best: Prepaid subscription service
- Frequency and duration: Monthly; 12 months
For those wanting a monthly plant delivery but not the monthly bill, paying upfront might be the route to go. We’d recommend House of Kojo’s prepaid subscription service. Just shy of £300 might sound hefty, but it works out at £25 a month, so not at all bad for a houseplant and pot.
Our first month gave us a beautiful Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), which arrived in bud with lush dark-green leaves and was a show of fragrant flowers within a week. With it arrived a magenta ceramic pot that wonderfully offset the plant’s colours, and a detailed care card.
We were also pleased to see that all the packaging was either recyclable or biodegradable. This subscription service can be sent in the form of a gift voucher for the recipient to redeem, making it a fabulous present for a lucky loved one.
Lazy Flora outdoor subscription: £45 per delivery, Lazyflora.com
Best: For outdoor plants
- Frequency and duration: Monthly or every two months; pay as you go, six or 12 months
Rookie gardeners and old hands alike, who are looking to transform their outdoor space into a plot that would fill even Monty Don with pride, will love this subscription service. Each month you will receive eight fantastic garden plants up to 30cm tall ready for popping in the ground with the help of the included planting-up guide.
Most importantly, these plants will be selected based on your garden and how much light it gets. You can choose between full shade, fewer than three hours of sunlight a day, or some sun, more than three. Our tester found this particularly useful given their shady garden and how they have struggled to know which plants can survive in these growing conditions.
We received a selection of shrubs and colourful flowers, including bergenia, saxifrage, stachys, juncus and sedums. All arrived in perfect health and continue to thrive now we’ve planted them, but we wouldn’t have been too worried if they had died within the first month because they all come with a 30-day guarantee.
The verdict: Plant subscription services
A surprise indoor plant delivery each month is sure to brighten up anyone’s day, and we love that about the Beards and Daisies houseplant subscription. The plants and gorgeous pots are sent securely packaged to ensure they arrive at their new home in excellent condition, and we love that we also got reliable care instructions to help our plant babies thrive.
We’re also huge fans of Barry’s Cactus Club and would recommend this subscription to anyone on a budget or with a particular penchant for cute cacti and succulents. Meanwhile, Mud and Bloom is a must for parents and grandparents who want to spend more time in the garden with their little ones.
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