A Trip to Columbia Road Flower Market: My Favourite Buys

After looking at my living room and noticing a lack of greenery, because, you know, I killed all my other plants, I wanted to go ahead and do a big plant shop. It’s lovely to walk into a home that resembles a garden, and it’s honestly such a therapeutic process to repot them, water them and watch them blossom, literally.

I grew tired of buying whatever was on offer at my local B&Q and spoke to my good friend Alia Shakir (yes, I exclusively befriend people with names similar to me) and she recommended I visit the Columbia Road Flower Market in Shoreditch. Weirdly, despite it being a 30 minute bus ride from my place, I’d never heard of this gorgeous little haven: set up on an edgy street paved with kitsch coffee shops and inviting antique stores, it really is a fun day out. The hipster in me was excited from the get go, and from reading this post you’ll find that it was for good reason.

Before You Go

From doing some research I found that the most important rule of visiting the market is getting there early. It’s only open on a Sunday between 8am and 3pm, no matter the weather, and it gets mind-bogglingly busy fairly quickly. If you do want to snag a deal, the traders slash their prices after 2pm to get rid of stock but be warned, you might be left with a sad wilting cactus after everyone has grabbed all the good stuff if you choose to come nearer to the end of the day. I’d also recommend taking someone with you to hold your plant purchases so you can continue to have hands-free to browse comfortably. It’s a small market but there is a great deal of choice: you’ll find yourself walking up and down over and over again, pretty much trying to stop yourself from buying one of everything. And finally, don’t forget to come ready with rucksacks to store your new friends safely: the last thing you want is to buy a pretty calathea and end up with a pretty dead calathea because it got smushed in a crappy plastic bag en route to its new home.

My Best Buys

Chris (my boyfriend) and I arrived for 8:30am, and the street was already beginning to fill up with tourists and keen millennials looking to decorate their homes for the perfect jungle vibe, so we had a bit of a challenge on our hands. After grabbing a delicious latte from Jack Garcia Coffee we began our hunt. The biggest surprise of the trip were the prices: I simply assumed that steep London prices would prevail here especially, but lo and behold, everything was as cheap and cheerful as it gets.

My first buy was a gorgeous English Ivy (£6.00), pictured in the feature image, followed by a large Croton (£18.50) to be the centerpiece of the living room. Soon after that was a Calathea (£9) for the table, and two little cacti: the Flaming Katy and Fairy Washboard (2 for £5) for spots yet to be determined. I have done a fair bit of research on how to keep them alive this time, and have bought potting soil, fertilizer and a plant mister, so the game is on. Stay tuned for a post about how to keep your plants alive in a few months, though the creation of that post is very much dependent on whether or not I actually manage to do that, but of course, fingers crossed.

Want to order plants straight to your home? Use my code ‘Aila Bicer’ at https://www.patchplants.com/gb/en/ to get a free plant with your first order!

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