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Homes: Bring the outside in with Cambridge Bee

Houseplants haven’t been this hot since the Seventies, when no interior was complete without a Swiss cheese. Known to have numerous benefits aside from looking lovely - studies have shown that they boost both air quality and mental health - sales of houseplants have been climbing steadily since 2013 according to Royal Horticultural Society figures. And, with lockdown giving everyone the urge to bring the outside in, sales have now soared.

“We experienced a sudden surge in orders during lockdown,” say Tanya Rotor and Lena Boyarova, founders of houseplant enterprise Cambridge Bee. “That posed some logistical problems - not enough hands, couriers overbooked. . . - but we rose to the challenge!”

Both with young children, the friends decided to turn their mutual hobby of propagating and tending houseplants into a business just last year. “Our business is still part of our hobby - growing plants for pleasure - which makes it really enjoyable,” they continue. “Plus it fits well around family life.”

Naming the business after their adopted home city - they’ve both lived in Cambridge for some years now - Tanya and Lena were about to open a bricks-and-mortar store in the city centre when the pandemic broke; though they’re sticking with the web shop for now, retail spaces will follow.

As well as selling and delivering plants nationwide, Cambridge Bee rents out plants, complete with a maintenance service, for office spaces. In the longer term, the aim is “to attract local artists and craft makers, who are passionate about the plants as we are, to expand our assortment of plant themed accessories and gifts and also to demonstrate what talented people live in our beloved city.”

With everything from dinky succulents to monster-sized monsteras currently trending, the friends say there’s a plant to suit every space. “Our business developed spontaneously from our shared love of plants and that’s definitely what drives us: we want to share that love.”

Prices start at just a few pounds. Browse and buy from the web shop at cambridgebee.com

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