Jeff and Lauren Nielsen began Verdant Dwellings by accident. In December 2017 they decided to sell some monstera deliciosa on Facebook for Christmas money for the children. At the time, Jeff was productions manager for one of Victoria’s largest wholesale indoor plant production nurseries and Lauren was a doctor of Chinese medicine.
People would collect the plants and ask if they could get other varieties, which often Jeff could, so they decided to do a small market once a month. They were quickly invited to large markets on the Mornington Peninsula and became regulars.
In early 2018 they put some of the plants online and developed a shipping system whereby the plants did not have to be fully or partially bare-rooted but could be left in their nursery pot for shipping. Jeff worked on the boxing system and Lauren worked on the website and they began shipping to Victoria, NSW, the ACT, South Australia and Queensland.
The business grew, and in August 2018 they took over a warehouse in the Dromana Industrial Estate as a storage and retail sales space. With a strong desire to grow plants as well and hold on to purchased ones until large, healthy and strong, they took on the larger 400 square metre factory next door in January 2019. This freed up the first factory for pure retail shopping.
With two factories next door to each other, both Jeff and Lauren quit their jobs to focus on Verdant Dwellings full time. By now they had been granted biosecurity certifications by the State Government to ship to strictly biomaterial import-controlled Tasmania and then later WA. They now have a full indoor growing nursery, large retail space, and ship Australia-wide, only excluding the NT.
In 2020, they took over another factory to handle their weekly packing and dispatch volume and put on employees for the first time because they could no longer manage everything themselves. They decided to drop markets due to the demand on the website and retail space and focus on increasing the store’s opening hours.
Verdant Dwellings is now the largest indoor plant retailer on the Peninsula and much of Melbourne, with more than 200 square metres of retail space featuring hundreds of varieties of plants that are shipped across Australia each week.
Verdant Dwellings’ retail store at Factory 3, 5 June Ave, Dromana, is open Tuesday-Friday from 10am-2pm and Saturday 9am-noon.