Crazy Plant Bae Brings Greenery and Tranquility to People’s Lives
“There’s a different plant for everyone,” said Teresa Thomas, founder and owner of Crazy Plant Bae. “Just because you tried a plant once and it didn’t work, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a green thumb. You just have to keep trying.”
Plants and gardens have been Thomas’ family business for forty years, in various iterations. Her mother had a plant store back in the 1980s, but illness eventually forced her to close it down. Then at the onset of the pandemic, one of her sisters began selling plants again, primarily online.
“Then we decided to do a pop-up in an event space my family owned here,” Thomas recalled. “That went well, so we expanded to a larger location.”
That location, at 716 North Claiborne in Treme, offers an eclectic mix of plants, pots, terrariums, arts and crafts. It is home to the Black Women’s Collective, which showcases a variety of products produced by local artisans, ranging from bath, body and beauty products to teas to cleaning products. Many of the offerings are plant-based.
“During the pandemic, so many people used their extra time to create products, but then they had to go back to work,” Thomas observed. “So we created a platform for these women to show their work.”
Another way that Crazy Plant Bae functions as a community space is by hosting programs and workshops for small groups, on subjects ranging from creating terrariums to cultivating herb gardens even to yoga and meditation. Thomas also brings these programs into the community, at schools, senior centers and similar spaces.
One of the most popular workshops gives participants the opportunity to paint their own plant and flower pots. “People create these individual masterpieces,” said Thomas. “Then you’ve got this gorgeous plant pot that you’ve created yourself.”
In addition to selling plants, Crazy Plant Bae also rents them, for the short and long terms. Thomas creates colorful displays for events, ranging from corporate meetings to weddings; she also prepares installations for hotels, offices and the like. For these longer-term situations, she also provides plant maintenance.
These plant design services are also used by individuals for their homes, or sometimes offices. “It’s a question of where you can put plants and how they look,” said Thomas. “We come in and see what will work in the space.”
This service is both similar to and very different from what Thomas calls plant consultations, where people have some ideas about what kind of plants they want and the overall effect they are trying to create.
“A lot of people are still very new to plants,” she elaborated. “We may see something we like, but it may not be something we can take care of. You have to consider the space, the amount of light, the time you have for your plants, even pets and kids. We pinpoint the plants that will work best in the space you have.”
Thomas pointed out that some popular plants, such as poinsettias, are actually poisonous to pets, so choosing both indoor and outdoor plants must be done carefully.
While houseplants are the primary focus of Crazy Plant Bae, Thomas’ own background includes urban agriculture. Consequently, she also offers guidance and supplies for small outdoor plantings, including edible plants, outdoor planters and raised beds, and plant maintenance products. She provides consultations in this area as well, including helping neighbors establish community gardens.
Thomas definitely finds a mission in her work. “We are reconnecting people to house plants, to the land, to growing their own food. There are so many benefits to getting your hands in the dirt.
“The pandemic put us in the mindset of having peace in the home,” she continued. “Plants help you to slow your life down. When you take time to water them, it’s a reminder that life doesn’t always have to move so fast.”