Houston abounds with gardeners and plant-lovers, whether they’re growing vegetables outside, creating stunning flowerbeds, filling a private greenhouse or building an indoor jungle.

The local nurseries are fittingly diverse, offering selections to satisfy everyone from the pickiest collector to the patio gardener. Below are our top 11 picks for where to buy indoor and outdoor plants in Houston. We included only shops within city limits for this compilation, so all of these locations are a short drive away for Houstonians.

Cornelius Nursery

Where: 2233 South Voss RoadMultiple locations

What: Part of the Calloway’s Nursery chain, Cornelius on Voss is the place to go for reasonably priced indoor and outdoor plants. The store, which includes a large greenhouse and an outdoor tree and shrub section, also sells pots, tools, fertilizers, pesticides and even home decor in a smaller indoor shop near the entrance.

Tip: Holidays are often marked by sales allowing 30 percent off one item, making them the perfect time for your next big plant purchase. Sign up for a free loyalty account for consistent discounts on larger totals.

Buchanan’s Native Plants

Evergreen hardy shrubs at Buchanan Native Plants, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Houston.
Evergreen hardy shrubs at Buchanan Native Plants, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Houston.Marie D. De Jesús, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Where: 611 E 11th St.

What: This local nursery in the Heights is dedicated to native plants, as the name indicates. That makes it the perfect spot for beginning planters, who can find tons of options suited to the Houston climate. Local nurseries often boast the most dedicated and knowledgeable staff, and Buchanan’s is no different. The nursery invites buyers to ask employees questions.

Tip: Buchanan’s free monthly to-do list for gardening in Houston is a godsend for new and old gardeners alike. You can even use it to guide purchases, as it lists when to plant common kitchen garden items.

Plants For All Seasons

Where: 21328 State Highway 249

What: This family-run garden center is a favorite among local gardeners, and for good reason — its large selection includes everything from succulents and indoor plants to outdoor trees, shrubs and flowers. It’s also a great place to grab rarer items like live insects or large air plants, and will often be among the first locally to stock newly trending tropical plants.

Tip: Use Plants For All Seasons’ online tools to calculate your soil and mulch needs or find the right time to plant vegetables in Houston’s climate. For prominent outdoor planters, the store’s Pot to Trot service will design custom arrangements in your containers.

Joshua’s Native Plants and Garden

Joshua Kornegay, owner of Joshua's Native Plants, points out various flowering plants that help feed hummingbirds and butterflies in a file photo from 2008.
Joshua Kornegay, owner of Joshua’s Native Plants, points out various flowering plants that help feed hummingbirds and butterflies in a file photo from 2008.Craig Hartley, Freelance / For the Chronicle

Where: 502 W 18th St.

What: Tucked into a corner lot in the vibrant Heights neighborhood, Joshua’s is an unexpected plant haven in the city. Winding but well-organized corridors lead customers through the outdoor native plants and open to the store’s back side, where succulents and indoor plants abound. Step into the massive warehouse to find tons of pots, standing planters, statues and sculptures.

Tip: Find your most eclectic garden pieces and outdoor decor in the warehouse, which holds everything from antiques to metal sculptures to fountains.

JRN & JRN 2/Vuon Cay An Trai Houston

Where: 4809 Breen Drive & 11701 Alief Clodine Road respectively

What: Houston’s JRN nursery locations offer enough varied plants to impress indoor and outdoor gardeners alike. Prices are reasonable, even for trending items (looking at the $19.99 hoya obovata splash here). The nurseries boast a pronounced Vietnamese influence, offering hard-to-find Southeast Asian fruit trees and impressive bonsais. Digging through the pot areas is almost certain to result in cheap, unique finds.

Tip: For home decor aficionados, this is the place to score a spetacular centerpiece. Spend on an elaborate, multi-tiered orchid arrangement; splurge on a gorgeous bonsai setup.

Houston Garden Centers

Amaryllis at Houston <a href=Garden Centers.” />Amaryllis at Houston Garden Centers.Jill Carroll / For the Chronicle

Where: Multiple locations

What: The huge red and yellow canopies of Houston Garden Centers are hard to miss, so indulge yourself and follow the beacon to this plant giant. Focused mostly on outdoor plants, the garden centers offer large selections of annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, vines, ferns and succulents. This is a good spot to buy bedding mix or mulch in bulk.

Tip: Use the online What to Plant Now guide to find the best shrubs, trees, perennials and annuals for your outdoor garden from a huge selection, including photos and care.

Tall Plants

Where: 9191 Katy Freeway

What: Blink and you’ll miss it — Tall Plants is located in a small lot right off the freeway, but the nursery lives up to its name. The store features huge climbing pothos with sheet-like leaves, gargantuan palms, towering fiddle-leaf figs and other big and tall plants. Venture inside to find smaller indoor plants as well, including full hanging baskets of trailing vines and succulents. Outside, you may find palms, hibiscus and even a staghorn fern so gigantic that its slow rotation from a hanging metal contraption seems to defy gravity.

Tip: If you know you want an indoor showstopper, this is the spot to splurge on a plant that will tower over you. Ask the employees and they’ll package your huge purchase in paper and even help load it in the car.

The Cactus King

Where: 7900 Interstate 45

What: Brimming with character, The Cactus King is a nursery with a specialty. Succulents are king at this eclectic business, which aims to help us regular gardeners have the same access to succulents as professionals, according to its website. The family-run nursery holds an impressive 15 greenhouses filled with all kinds of cacti and succulent species, but those won’t be the only things to turn heads; numerous funky sculptures dot the spread out nursery, seemingly created from found or junk items.

Tip: Make sure to wear closed-toe shoes when you visit, and bring cash.

RCW Nurseries Inc

Where: 15809 Texas 249 Access Road

What: This rolling four-acre nursery sits at the intersection of 249 and Sam Houston Tollway, but you’ll forget you’re still in the city once you’re inside. Explore row after row of trees and shrubs grown by RCW and acclimated to the Gulf Coast, according to the nursery website. This is an ideal spot to shop for roses, of which RCW carries hundreds of species.

Tip: The nursery’s tree care advice and planting guide are invaluable if you’re buying a new outdoor tree. The library going back through 2010 and beyond includes detailed care guides for various plants.

Another Place in Time

An arrangement from Another Place in Time.
An arrangement from Another Place in Time.Sharon Steinmann, Staff / Houston Chronicle

Where: 421 W 11th St.

What: This evocatively named Heights nursery specializes in tropical and rare plants, making it a staple among local collectors. The location carries an impressive number of species considering its size, and the prices can compete with any area nursery. Even better, Another Place in Time offers deals of the week and special sales, meaning scoring a wishlist plant on a discount is a real possibility.

Tip: APIT sports an active social media with regular updates on new shipments(!) and notices about sales and deals. Follow the nursery’s pages to snag your favorites before they sell out.

Zone 9 Tropicals

Where: 1015 Arlington St.

What: Located just near Buchanan’s, Zone 9 Tropicals is a weekend-only plant collector’s paradise. The nursery is often among the first to stock trending rare items, and shows plants and prices on its website, where you can also place online orders. The shop’s tropical specialty means most plants will only survive indoors in a Houston winter, so this business is geared toward indoor gardeners.

Tip: This shop runs out of a bungalow and yard on a residential street in the Heights, so parking can be difficult. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a few blocks.

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