The Botanical Room

Hanni beams a smile across the counter, as the bells chime above the entrance doors to The Botanical Room. She’s vibrant, gregarious and warm, and her shop reflects her love for everything that’s bright and beautiful. Opened in 2017, the online shop and store quickly became a Mecca for those looking to combine plants with original, yet inobtrusive, contemporary design.
Fyta: Hanni, you’re so settled in, it almost seems as if you’ve been here forever. How did this all come about?

Pretty cool, huh? [laughs]. Time flies! I don’t know, right time, right place or a good gut feeling, I suppose. But so many things also just happened unexpectedly. The shop, for example. A friend told me about this space two years ago, and I knew it was literally asking to become my shop. And it worked out!

You are also selling online. Financially this is often more feasible than a brick-and-mortar shop. Personally, I prefer buying plants in a shop.

That’s what most people say, but you have to bare in mind that we live in a city. Many people order specific plants because there is less supply where they live, or because they find particular plants only online. When I went online, I got two orders within an hour. My first customers were my parents, of course [laughs]. The second was a stranger. I was like, whaaat!, someone’s giving me money so I can send them a plant!

You have half a cactus dangling from a piece of thin rope inside your store window. It looks amazing, but what the heck is going on there?

Haha, that’s how you multiply cacti. The mother plant of this one was slightly rotten, so I had to cut off this branch. Before you can replant it, you have to let it dry. I decided the shop window was a good place for that.

You have a background in architecture. What was your relationship with plants like before you started, and has it changed at all?

Plants have become even more sculptural for me. Especially in combination with the planters. I am always looking for the right combination. That was the whole point of the shop, actually… I could not find items I felt were beautiful. I saw a gap in the market for a place selling things that were my kind of taste. But this is rather an interior design than an architecture issue.

But plants are more than sculptures, aren’t they?

Sure, they’re friends, they’re companions, sometimes for a lifetime. But I guess I am less emotional than I used to be, and I suppose that’s what happens to all business owners. I used to do visual merchandizing for a clothing shop, for which I had to fold garments perfectly all day long – and at home, my clothes were a mess!

But jokes aside. I still love plants and dust off all the leaves at home. It’s just that taking care of them has become part of my daily routine.

Do you follow plant trends or go to fairs?

No. I just follow my gut feeling. It might be nice to visit a fair, but I’m afraid I don’t have the time! I’m at the shop every day. And once a year, I allow myself a month away from Berlin, now in February, which I spend in Athens. My husband and I agreed that we don’t just live to work. He is a writer and can work from anywhere. So we turned into digital nomads [laughs].

Speaking of digital, you have a really strong online community. What’s it like to get feedback from them?

Wonderfully weird. People send me emails with pictures of their plants. I just received pictures with blooming Ludisias from customers who bought one last year, for instance.
That makes me so happy! It’s so personal! Some people know my name and come by to say hello when they’re in town. I often think, I have the best customers in the world, cause they’re all so nice!

The Botanical Room

The Botanical Room
Manteuffelstraße 73
10999 Berlin

Open Tuesday and Thursday through to Saturday
13 – 19 h