Luscious plants hang on the walls and ceilings of Humboldt Houseplants in Arcata co-owned by Shelise and Jeff Ensworth. What started as a form of therapy, grew into a passion for houseplants.
“It really started probably about five years ago when I started taking care of some plants and enjoying them a lot,” Shelise said. “It was a sense of peace, happiness in my life, in my day-to-day time.”
The shop has a selection of shades of green tropical plants, such as Anthurium, Chinese Evergreen, air plants and more. Something unique about houseplants is that they can’t fully grow outside, they are specific to the indoors.
“We’re really knowledgeable team between the two of us and our employee Bree,” Shelise said. “We all have a passion for plants and can answer any question you have or troubleshoot any problems you have with your own plants at home.”
Shelise began branding Humboldt Houseplants on Instagram in April 2022. She built her platform by resharing plants and creating an online community and began selling a few.
In the same year in May, Shelise and Jeff attended pop-up maker market events in Humboldt and sold houseplants. They had an overwhelming amount of support from the local community and in Jan. 2023 they opened their storefront.
“I find myself looking at a plant and it sprouts creativity, it brings you more energy,” Jeff said.
“It brightens the space and also it sparks ingenuity in yourself.” Houseplants can bring joy by observing their growth. According to Shelise, they are “the best therapy you can have.”
Shelise, 26, was born and raised in Humboldt County. She grew up admiring her grandmother’s garden in Trinidad. Jeff, 33, is from Orange County, and in 2013, he moved to attend Cal Poly Humboldt. In 2017, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. The couple bonded over their shared experiences about their grandmother’s relationship with their garden. Their love for plants and gardening bonds them together.
“We really want to nurture the plant community here and also educate people and children,” Shelise said.“That’s another thing we notice is the kids that come into this space are so into plants and it’s one of the most special things for us to see.”
In the future, a short-term goal for the couple is to host classes to teach people how to take care of their houseplants and pot them along with having paint-and-sip events and activities for children.
“By having a plant for about a month you see growth and that is a joy we share,” Shelise said. “By growing plants together we’re like oh my gosh look at how good this one is doing or look at this new leaf, or look at how cool or weird this is. It’s really interactive to have a plant.”
For more information check out Humboldt Houseplants on 1075 St in Arcata or their website at humboldthouseplants.com