Plants Map started five years ago with the mission of connecting people with plants. Since then, the site has grown with plant collections being documented by individuals, organizations, public and corporate landscapes, schools and universities, municipalities, businesses and more.
As new users add plants on the website, co-founders Bill and Tracy Blevins have learned how these groups and people are using digital tools in unique and different ways to enhance horticultural experiences for themselves and others.
Using those insights has been the basis for the development of new features to make the site a more useful destination to document, learn about, and connect with plants.
In May, Plantsmap.com introduced new features that take the mission of connecting people with plants even further. The information-rich Plant Finder search tool set the stage for the capability to offer Buy It plants to its website visitors and community.
Buy It plants opens new possibilities
Now, with just a few clicks, plant seekers can not only find a plant that meets specific search criteria such as sun preference, USDA hardiness zone, flowering period and more. They can also search for plants to purchase from online vendors or garden centers.
“We believe the Buy It plants tool will help connect plant enthusiasts and plant collectors with high-quality nurseries and vendors from all over the U.S. who list their collections on Plants Map,” says co-founder Bill Blevins. “Right now, the trend in acquiring plants is buying online, just like you see in a lot of other sectors. We are connecting people with plants, and with places that can have that plant at your door in a few days for a reasonable amount of money.”
The powerful search capabilities of the Plant Finder, launched last summer, make Buy It plants an even more valuable tool. By using the detailed filters on the left side of the Plant Finder page, plant seekers can find an array of different vendors for the plants they seek, introducing a relatively easy new way to add to their collections.
“For plant collectors, we know all of the plants that are in the local nursery and around us, and the only way to get unique plants was to hunt for them which sometimes meant driving a long distance,” Blevins says. “Now, with Buy It plants, you can explore those plants in your browser, and two clicks later have one at your door in a week.”
The Buy It plants tool, available only to Resource profiles on Plants Map, gives plant sellers maximum flexibility in how they list their plants, and that includes an option to list plants available for in-store pickup. This is by design, as Bill and Tracy Blevins see online sales for in-store pickup as an important tool for garden centers who want to encourage people to visit and experience the serendipity of finding something they didn’t know they were looking for. Sellers can also offer plants available for local delivery.
Connecting plant seekers and plant sellers
For plant buyers – Start with the Plant Finder. Plants Map built this plant search engine with the specific needs of plant collectors in mind. Here, you can find plants to visit, core plants to quickly add to a collection, plants of interest and plants to buy. You can filter for these searches, as well as for many other categories, with the options down the left side of the page.
Watch a demonstration on how to use the Plant Finder here.
No matter how you search, you can recognize Buy It plants by the price tag icon that appears in their profile picture. Plants Map designed this feature to help visitors distinguish between plants that are listed for informational purposes on the site and plants that are available for purchase from an online vendor or garden center.
For plant sellers – Becoming a Resource profile on Plants Map allows plant sellers to offer Buy It plants. Only organization profiles can become Resource profiles. Learn more here.
Once enrolled in the Buy It plants service, a business can easily toggle the Buy It option on and off on their individual plant pages. Sellers can choose to customize their Buy It button to say buy it, visit us, learn more, or contact us which allows the service to fit both plant vendors that are online or have a garden center location.
Connecting public gardens and horticulture
The new Buy It plants feature adds another layer to the interconnected web Plants Map’s founders see in the horticultural world. While plant buyers and collectors connect with vendors to grow their collections, co-founder Tracy Blevins says public landscapes and horticultural tourism are an equally important part of the big picture.
Botanical gardens, arboreta, and other horticultural destinations using Plants Map are opening people’s eyes to the importance of attracting pollinators, using native plants. and choosing the right trees for their landscapes. The interactive Plants Map tags that identify plants in public landscapes are also one of the most common ways new visitors come to the site, where they can then connect with plants to buy.
“There’s a spark of interest that happens when someone sees a plant at a public landscape, scans the tag and learns about its story or purpose,” says co-founder Tracy Blevins. “This type of engagement encourages them to participate in growing plants they may not have been familiar with before.”
This garden tourism in turn drives demand that keeps plant-based businesses thriving.
In addition, the organizations that care for public landscapes constantly need to find new places to buy plants. These new capabilities help forge better connections among three groups—public landscapes, plant vendors, and plant collectors—that have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to strengthening the horticultural community and economy.
“It’s all starting to come together now,” says co-founder Tracy Blevins. “We are very thankful to our early Buy It plants adopters: Conifer Kingdom, Rare Roots, Prairie Nursery and Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. We can’t wait to announce more in the near future.”