House plant popularity during pandemic has local stores struggling to keep up with demand

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More people are buying plants in the pandemic.

At Soil Service Garden Centernter on Troost Avenue, indoor plants are more popular than ever. Lakin Powell said she already has more than 40 plants but came in to get more. 

“There’s something to look at in my house every day,” Powell said. “I don’t just have to stare at the wall.” 

Powell came into the store with her friend Jackson Pattison to help him pick out his first plant. 

“I thought about getting a cat but I thought this would be easier,” Pattinson said. 

Nationwide, plants sales are soaring the pandemic. Some people choose to buy green to avoid feeling blue. Studies have found indoor plants have a positive impact on emotional health. 

Devin Bankston drove by Soil Service and stopped in to buy his first plant. He said he sees them as a form of therapy.  

“I was just reading through to find out which is best for my situation,” Bankston said. “I have kids in the pandemic myself, three of them at home with a dog and they’re on virtual learning so yeah I really need a plant.” 

Soil Service assistant manager Leslie White said the store has seen an increase in demand over the last year. Like other industries, she said COVID-19 has slowed down shipping, making it harder to keep the stores stocked.  

“Shipping is behind. Trucks were being used to get things to the medical industry. Now they’re rolling out vaccination deliveries,” White said. “There’s back orders on things still from last year that we’re waiting for, so it’s difficult to get things in right now.” 

Even with the high demand, between the Soil Service Garden Center and its sister store across the street, White said workers can help people find what they need. 

“If you can get something easy to start with, then you can build their confidence. That’ll take off from there,” White said. “Ask the professionals when you go in, get a little guidance. I usually try to start with something easy that maybe thrives on neglect.” 

White also said it’s important to get plants that work with the natural lighting situation in your home. 

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