For Rare Cacti
Cactus Store, 5 Essex St.; cactus.store
In a tiny greenhouse on the Lower East Side, squeezed between an empty storefront and a luxury condominium, you can find green-and-yellow two-tone cacti, succulents shaped like sea urchins, and orchids that smell like a piña colada — so long as you visit Thursday through Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., and only from May to September, when Cactus Store opens for the season. Originally based in Los Angeles, Cactus Store established a New York outpost in 2017 and is run by “a group of guys who have a wealth of knowledge about plants,” says freelance photographer Phoebe Cheong. Every season, they go on a buying trip through the Southwest, picking up cool cacti from different nurseries along the way. The result is a curated collection of rare plants, which they bare-root and ship to New York. “It feels like you’re walking through a gallery of plant art pieces,” Cheong says of the pop-up. She purchased a coconut orchid, two-tone cactus, and unicorn-horn-shaped cactus — though, of course, rarity commands an attendant price tag (a Pelecyphora strobiliformis, for example, a cactus that slightly resembles an artichoke, sells for nearly $500).
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