Shades of Moss is a vibe.
Go around to the back of the unassuming white house on East 7th Street, walk up the creaky stairs, and follow the sound of the easy-listening lo-fi music, which owner Barry Greene says plants like to hear. There you’ll find the small plant shop in Elizabeth.
The greenery, the incense, the music, and the comfy seating all serve as welcome invitations to slow down and unwind.
“It’s not the biggest space, but it’s our space. It’s our space as plant lovers, as a community to come together and not just learn about new plants but share tips,” he says.
Greene got his start caring for plants 10 years ago after getting a job at Lowe’s and being randomly assigned to work in the garden center. Even after leaving that job, Greene’s interest in gardening continued. And this July he left his day job and turned his plant care hobby into his own business.
“It was important to me as a Black man to show other Black men, I love these plants and you can love them too, let me show you,” Greene says.
Right now, Shades of Moss sells a variety of beginner plants like pileas and monsteras. Greene says he’ll add more exotic greenery as his clients develop their skills.
“I really want someone to be able to come in here and say ‘I’ve never had a plant before, can you help me?’
“When I say I’m a community plant shop that’s what I mean,” Greene says. “I want the community to move together so no one gets left behind.”
The plant shop which sells house plants from around $6 to $25 also has vinyl records, illustrations from local artists, and tools to keep your plants happy.
Greene is happy to share plant care tips in the shop but for plant owners who need a little extra help, he offers private shop sessions and makes house calls, too.
House Call | 1 hr | $25
Greene will assess your home’s lighting and help owners nail down a routine to ensure their plants stay alive. He can also diagnose wilting or dying plants.
Repotting Session | 30 min | varies
Sometimes house plants need more space to grow or fresh soil. Greene can take you through the process.
One-on-One Consultation | 1 hr | $25
Consultations can serve as repotting sessions for root bound plants, or as time to troubleshoot what’s going wrong with one of your house plants. General questions about being a plant parent are also welcome.
Private Shopping Session | 1 hr | $25 deposit
Use the shopping session to learn which plants will be the best fit for your space and lifestyle. The $25 deposit will go toward your purchase.
Shades of Moss is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The exact address is 1419 East 7th Street. Take the driveway to the parking lot in the back and head up the stairs to the second floor. Call 704-561-1198 if you need help.
Barry’s tips for your plant babies:
(1) Greene says his biggest piece of advice for house plant parents is to be patient.
“It’s really about patience, for those that don’t have a green thumb,” he says. “It’s about balance and patience and working them into your schedule.”
(2) Don’t over water your plants.
“It’s better to underwater than to overwater your plant,” Greene says. “There aren’t too many plants that you need water daily. You should water about once a week for most plants.”
(3) Find the right spot.
Assess your lighting. Don’t try to put a plant in an area that doesn’t have light.
(4) Bring outdoor plants inside as the temperature drops.
Greene says to bring tropical plants indoors now that it’s getting colder. But acclimate them slowly (because patience). Maybe take them from your patio to the area right in front of your patio door and then further into your space.
(5) Don’t be afraid to try new things.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to house plants. Green says trial and error is a big part of caring for plants.