Our Story

Chelsea Garden Center Opened for Business in 1984

...on a rubble-strewn 2,700 square-foot corner of industrial Chelsea in Manhattan, New York. We started with a garden umbrella, a cash box, a tiny cedar potting shed, and a spare lot we stocked to brim with plants specially selected for urban gardens.

We have come a long way since those early days, and we continue to evolve our business to meet the needs of the growing gardening community. Today, we own and operate two garden centers in Williamsburg and Red Hook, Brooklyn, and manage a new online shop that offers a wide inventory of unique houseplants, nursery plants, containers, and supplies - all of which are carefully curated to provide our customers with the best quality product available. 

As a local, independent business, we know that our success is largely due to the incredible community around us. That is why we remain dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. We back our plants and products with friendly, expert advice, convenient delivery options, and professional garden design, installation, and maintenance services. Chelsea Garden Center is your local source for everything you need to grow a thriving garden - indoors or out, big or small. 

Our Evolution

Our early days in Chelsea proved successful and after ten years in our original location, we outgrew our space and went on the search for a new home.

In 1994, We Moved to a Vacant Lot

...on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 22nd Street, where we created a much larger garden center complete with brick walking paths that lead visitors on a journey through hundreds of plants. At the heart of the new garden center was a massive purple leaf plum tree that soon became an iconic symbol of our growth and eventually served as the foundation for our brand. During our time on Ninth Avenue, we also opened the Chelsea Garden Store, which introduced a large line of furniture, houseplants, fountains, and a comprehensive selection of garden books and elegant gifts.

In the summer of 1999, the burgeoning real estate boom forced us to relocate the nursery. Off we went to lower Manhattan, where at the corner of Second Street and Bowery, we found ourselves another empty parking lot (we have many of these throughout the city). This spot offered us more space than we had ever had before. Of course, we couldn’t leave behind that gorgeous plum tree, so we brought it with us to the Bowery and there it would reside as the shining star of our new home. We again expanded our inventory to include the variety of nursery plants that added much-needed green space to a part of New York City that had long been associated with cracked sidewalks and deteriorating buildings. (Fun fact: This location is now the site of NYU’s student dormitories).

Responding to our customers’ needs for more houseplants, furniture, and gifts, we opened the 6,000 square-foot Chelsea Garden Center Home Store on Hudson Street, just above Tribeca.This spacious, loft-like space allowed us to provide an enormous selection of the finest tropical plants in Manhattan, combined with an extraordinary garden-inspired collection of furniture, home accents, pottery, and gifts for the modern metropolitan home.

In 2001, the Quest for Larger and More Suitable Spaces Began Again

...and we relocated our primary garden center in the Chelsea neighborhood where we’d gotten our start almost twenty years earlier. We settled downtown on West 16th Street in a large lot just above the Meatpacking District. We filled the lot and store space with an even wider variety of outdoor nursery plants and tropical indoor plants and maintained our large stock of other gardening materials, tools, and supplies.

In the spring of 2004, we opened a second garden center location near the Javits Center at 38th Street and Tenth Avenue. We felt we had finally found a location that allowed us the best of both worlds: plenty of space for outdoor plants, supplies, and materials, as well as an indoor space to house our growing houseplant, gift, and furniture selection. However, Manhattan’s full-blown real estate boom forced our hand, and we consolidated our business and made the move to Brooklyn.

We opened our first Brooklyn location at 444 Vanbrunt Street in Red Hook in November of 2015 and soon after relocated our opened our second at 87 Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg. We used this opportunity to refresh our vision and get back to our roots. We brought the most successful elements of each of our previous locations together in each of our new Brooklyn spaces to serve the unique communities in each of these neighborhoods. From the casual shopper to experienced garden enthusiasts, our vast collection of nursery plants, landscaping and gardening materials and supplies, houseplants, and gifts offers a little something for everyone. 

We Have Big Plans for the Future

...and are enormously appreciative of our long-time customers who have stayed with us as we evolve with the city in which we live.

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