Top 10 Places for Houseplants in Orlando

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I kill houseplants. Ferns, aloe, ficus, cactus, succulent have all sacrificed themselves and gone to their deaths to avoid my plant-motherhood. I actually gave up on an orchid one time and flung it into someone’s side yard, only to have it be gorgeous and blooming just a few months later. My friend LeAnn Siefferman, professional ceramist and successful gardener, told me she’d teach me but I’m stalling. I’ve tried. I really have.

Hi, I’m Jenny, and I kill houseplants.

I’ve noticed that in the past year or so that something has happened to Orlando and the rest of America that has me wanting to try plant fostering again. My friends have all become plant parents; embracing the tiniest of cacti to the largest of fiddle leaf figs or tastiest fiddle fern. (Those are edible, btw.) They have dedicated themselves to keeping these small green beings alive. Beings? The blog, Plants are the Strangest People, seems to think so and gives names like Tyler and Jayvvon to Anthuriums. I know you came her for a list, so let me get on with it.

My picks for the best places to find houseplants and ceramics in Orlando:

  1. Porch Therapy is one of the best resources for not just houseplants or succulents or gardening, but landscaping too. If you’re thinking backyard oasis, get with these people. You can also pick up home goods and containers and gardening accessories here. Located at East End Market and The Heavy.

  2. Land of Alice Studio is available to ship you plants. That’s right, you can order plants by mail if you’re not able to get out to the shops. How convenient is that? Since very few people are doing it, she’s ahead of the trend. Go ahead, you know you want to.

  3. Palmer’s Garden & Goods is a beloved Orlando plant palace. Super duper cool and you can have events here too. Drive by at night to see market lights and dreamy garden parties happening within its fence. I did buy a lime tree here once that I planted in my friend’s yard over top of my dead cat. I have ignored that lime tree for two years now, letting my friend be the one to worry over it and water it and hope that fur or bone don’t resurface. I’m a good friend. Ha ha ha! (Sorry, Laura.)

  4. Palmer’s Feed Store where you can buy flats of peeps (baby chicks), a telephone pole, or vegetable plants and seeds. I’m just going to wait here while you click through to look at the picture menu. Scroll to ‘Pest Control’…impactful, right? I want that kind of pest control. They can tell you what’s safest to use around pets and best for your houseplants and gardens. It’s Florida, y’all, nature is b-r-u-t-a-l here.

  5. The Nook on Robinson is kind of a wild card entry but they have plants and amazing concrete containers provided by Till Plant Co. Go there and grab a kombucha and a new lil green friend if you’re far from the trailer location of Till.

  6. Florida Cactus Inc. is up in Apopka which is a teeny bit of a drive from Orlando. Maybe 40 minutes-ish. But SO worth the drive. Their greenhouses have zero competition around here. The colors and selection will blow your mind. So if it’s a cactus you want, it’s a cactus you’ll get.

  7. Craft & Common is where to stop in for delicious treats, killer coffee drinks and to find plants and sundries. It’s also where you can sit and sip for hours with friends under a neon sign in queen size wicker chairs. #Heavenly

  8. Hello Happy Plants is online and I want to think that she’s here in Orlando, so I just will. Best planters with messages that stick. Put on sunglasses and head to this website, unless you’re colorblind, and then just go ahead and click through.

  9. Orlando Pottery Studio is last but not least. The fact that you can actually learn to make and fire your own ceramics here in Orlando and that the place has been around for ages. After advancing to doing your own home ceramic work, check out Orlando artist Richard Munster’s kiln.

  10. The Sill is not in Orlando per se. It’s plants by mail. Gorgeously done with lots of resources. It’s the anti-Amazon of plant shopping online. They trademarked Plant Parenthood, I mean, can I even type that without paying them? Follow them on Insta with #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, also registered.

Instagram can’t be the only reason why people are suddenly becoming plant people. Plants are actually really cool. It’s what you can learn to take care of successfully before navigating a new relationship or getting a pet, or have a baby. Maybe it’s that they provide oxygen, and wellness is big business right now. So are plants though.

Since 2016, plant sales have actually increased 50% to 1.7 billion dollars according to the National Gardening Association. Fun fact, most of the growers are here in Florida but few of them sell online. Plant and garden stores themselves don’t have online shops available since they’re afraid of plants not arriving the way they were expected to. (If you’re looking to start a new business, this one is ripe for picking. Get it? So bad.) The article cited only underlines the fact that we can grow year round here. Our greenhouses are packed and lovely while the rest of the country suffers through something called seasons. The idea of gardening and growing your own food is just one leap further. Not such a big a leap from contributing your front yard to Fleet Farming to buying a little piece of land.

Lake County is just next door and has a few farms available. You could be like the Pasture Brothers and start raising your own chickens. Did you hear that Ikea is teaming up with designer Tom Dixon to come out with a new gardening tool line? The hope is that it will inspire urbanites to grow more food at home and in their communities. My dream has always been to be a goat farmer, but before jumping onto that path maybe I should start with something smaller. I could start with a succulent for my windowsill. I could…if I didn’t kill houseplants.

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Visiting the Deli Llama

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Lake County just got a new sandwich place that is super delicious. The menu above should say it all. The Deli Llama. Tons of gluten free, carnivorous, and vegetarian options.

Take a trip up to Tavares from Orlando. It’s just around the lake from Mount Dora. Lake Dora, that is. On old 441 about ten minutes from Downtown Mount Dora. Downtown Tavares is cute, walkable, and has those lakeside breezes. The Deli Llama in an old gas station, but the decor makes the place feel like home the second you walk in.

They are going to start serving coffee in January so watch out coffee lovers…you may have a new destination on your hands.

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This is the Hot Mess sandwich. I got it to go so the photo presentation isn’t perfect. The taste however, was. Hot capicola, house-made turkey, house-made pimiento cheese, dressed arugula, and cherry peppers. It’s got some heat to it.

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The Deli Llama

124 E Alfred St, Tavares, FL 32778

Hours:
11AM - 8PM Monday through Thursday
11AM - 10PM Friday
11:30AM - 10PM Saturday
Closed Sunday

thedelillamacoffee@gmail.com
(352) 508-5044

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Visiting The Orlando Cat Cafe

Visiting The Orlando Cat Cafe

We took a walk through the cat room and got to hang out in the kitten tent. I had a couple favorites, but all of the cats and kittens are unique personalities. Grab a coffee and treat and buy your ticket at the Axom coffee counter, then go hangout with these adoptable friends.

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Visit Mini Animals at Lil' Bit of Life Farm

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Lil’ Bit of Life Farm’s message is "Healing with a little help from our friends".  Owner Tracey Rinehart has poured her heart and soul into developing her mission to provide healing with four-legged friends.  "Horses train us to have balance, feelings of strength, coordination, confidence, grace, and peace." Tracey’s first horse, Bailey, taught her these very things, and she wants to share.

Also home to the G.R.I.T.S. 4-H Club, the organization is service oriented assisting living facilities and businesses in the Lake County area.  Our visit to Lil Bit of Life Farm was timed with a few events in mind.  Tracey had just gotten some ducks, there were new baby pigs, and the goats were about to give birth.  We saw it all in our tour.

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Check out these activities held at the farm:

  • Horsemanship - No riding involved. The experience is a hands-on course in learning how to care for your mini friend. You will bathe, groom, hoof care, and walk them while building a friendship relationship. Memory, fine motor skills, judgment, and focus are improved.

  • Obstacle Course - No riding involved. Designed with obstacles and patterns with you and your mini leading the way. Build relationship and trust. Learn positive leadership skills, team building skills, and build self-confidence.

  • Teaching Kindness - This program focuses on teaching empathy and compassion through interaction with small animals. The lesson plans are based not the principles of Humane Education. You will work with small farm animals, including goats, bunnies, and minis.

“There is something good about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.”

The benefit to Lil Bit of Life Farm is so much more than just the experience of meeting Tracey and her animals.  It’s the difference that they make in Mount Dora and Lake County. 

Schedule a visit to the farm:

Groups large and small are welcome!  There’s plenty of parking and the farm is easy to navigate. 

  • Birthday Party entertainment

  • Day Camps for Youth (5-13) on scheduled days

  • Photos for daycare and pre-school with a miniature horse

  • Schedule an hour of quality family time with a mini

Lil' Bit of Life 

(407) 461-3091
Mount Dora, FL
@lil_bit_of_life
http://lilbitoflife.com

Howey Mansion: Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida

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Howey-In-The-Hills is a quiet town in Lake County that is a testament to old Florida. In between the fields of citrus trees and the amazing Yalaha German Bakery is a beautiful grandiose home that was once abandoned – Howey Mansion

William J. Howey, a politician, real estate developer and one of the state's greatest citrus growers, had the 20-room mansion built in 1925 on a 15-acre property. Howey died in 1938 and left the home to his much younger widow who lived in it until 1981. In 1984 Chicago heiress Marvel Zona became the Howey Mansion's second owner until she began living in a nursing home. Since 2009 the home was vacant, but in July 2017 brothers Brad and Clay Cowherd purchased the home and have since been reviving it. 

To address rumors and what many of you are probably wondering – Howey Mansion is not haunted. None of the wonderful people who work there have reported supernatural activities and ghost hunters who have toured the space have said they sense no ghostly spirits are haunting the home. 

The mansion is in the style of Mediterranean Revival with a red Spanish tile roof and makes great use of color from the walkway leading up to the home, to its exterior and flooring inside. Katharine Cotheal Budd, who developed temporary lodgings for women who visited male relatives at military training camps and is the first woman inducted into the American Institute of Architects, designed the place.  

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The home opens up to a foyer with a pretty blue ceiling and curved walls with Florentine beige marble squares on the lower half. In fact, these walls were created in complete secrecy by an Austrian artisan who banned all other workmen from the home and locked the doors as he compounded and poured the wall mixture in the foyer. 

There is so much more to the history and detail our amazing guide Alexis was able to share. Definitely book a tour to check this place out for yourself. Follow them on Facebook for restoration and event updates. 

Tours are generally offered Tuesday through Friday at 11am OR 2pm and Saturdays at 10am and 11:30am.

To get an idea of what you'll see and hear on a tour, check out the abbreviated version we got on our weekend show.