About a month into lockdown, I had to face the horrible reality that I would be trapped in my NYC apartment, with its NYC square footage, NYC rent and NYC population density for another 11 months to complete my unfortunately timed lease. I counted down the days to my inevitable cross country move and, with it, the ability to buy plants from The Sill, the hip houseplant startup built for millennials.
I have been reading about The Sill, an online and storefront nursery that has popularized houseplants among urban millennials for several months, but was nervous to take the plunge as I was going to making the move from NYC to Miami and did not want to have to lug the plants along with everything else for the cross country drive. After spending a month in Miami, I was ready to take the plunge and experience purchasing on The Sill.
Navigating The Sill’s website was actually a really great time. There was a very limited number of plants, which made hours of mindless browsing impossible and really had me focused on what my objectives were. Not only is their design very sleek and easy, they do a great job of bundling different plant varieties together, such as a plant bundle for people with animals or people with limited ground space. These were beneficial for people like me that are urban and are not going to be replanting outside. In short, it felt like they really understood the needs of their urban, virginal houseplant purchaser. Ultimately, I settled on a Parlor Palm/ Snake Laurentii bundle and a set of three succulents.
As a spoiled Amazon customer I was surprised to pay for the shipping and to have to wait a week for the plants to arrive. However, considering these are plants that I am hoping will arrive happy and healthy, it makes sense that there would be additional difficulties and time required than to ship, for example, an iPad. My package arrived within the 5-7 day window, very smartly packed with very minimal damage to the plants.
The Sill seems to have solved plant shipping, as the Parlor Palm and Snake Laurentii were within a tall box, reinforced by cardboard and with an additional orb of ecofriendly straw around the leaves to keep everything safe. Additionally, there were dedicated succulent boxes that kept them secured, and only a single part had fallen off in transport. What really made The Sill stand out was their “plant parent” instructions, which felt far more personal than a receipt.
So my first impression was that the Parlor Palm and Snake Laurentii were much smaller than I had imagined. The photo posted led me to believe that the palm would be small, yes, but maybe a foot or so. The plant that arrived was roughly 4 inches tall. Additionally, the Snake Laurentii appeared to be even taller than the palm, but clocked in around 5 inches. Now, this isn’t a problem as I understand that these plants will grow, but this bundle cost $55. After a week of waiting, I would understand if someone were less than impressed by the smaller showing.
A week after the plants arrived and they are thriving. There doesn’t appear to have been any over or under watering (miraculous!), no sign of any fungus and the the supplier definitely did not skimp on the quality of the soil as I have managed to squirrel some of it away for other plants that need the extra boost. This sets The Sill apart from many of the cheaper avenues such as Whole Foods and Home Depot.
I love that The Sill is really hitting a demographic in their approach, design, packaging, concepts and experiences. I think they will be a successful company and am excited to watch them grow. However, I think the best companies to compare The Sill to, after receiving my order, would be Soul Cycle. People have access to bikes and cheaper fitness classes, so why pay $36 a class? The community, the exclusivity and the feeling of self care. I love plants. And I love these plants, too. But I spent $100 on these 5 unpotted plants, instead of acquiring them all up at a nursery for $40.
If you enjoy feeling like you are a part of a greater community, are buying for a loved one that would appreciate the sleek details and care instructions or you are intimidated by house plant purchasing and want to ensure that what you are buying/ where you are buying from is sufficient, then The Sill is probably a really great choice for you. If you love plants and have purchased before, want a large variety to choose from and are not wanting to shell out more money than you really have to, there are really great and interesting nurseries that may be a better fit. I’m excited to see where The Sill goes and support any ethical company that is making the world greener. A discount for The Sill can be viewed here.
UPDATE: It’s been roughly two years since I reviewed The Sill and the plants that I bought have flourished. As houseplants have grown in popularity, The Sill’s curation of the easiest and trendiest plants has made it valuable. Additionally, I’ve noticed that The Sill NYC has larger plants inside of their store. So if you are local you are better off traveling to The Sill’s store instead of ordering online.