As a child, I loved receiving mail. I’d watch out the window for the mailman’s slow-moving truck, and rush to get the key and retrieve the bounty as soon as he left. Gullible by nature, I spent several harried afternoons with my mother trying to convince her that Publisher’s Clearinghouse had indeed sent us thousands of dollars — our lives would be different forever if she’d just enter the sweepstakes one last time.
Eventually, my skepticism grew, but so did my love for receiving things in the mail. Enter the millennial consumer’s dawn of subscription service, a golden era for my inclinations. And after running through the usual suspects like Brooklinen (still my fav sheets), Glossier (Cloud Paint forever), Billie razors, (which I love and use every day, but have some critiques of) and Quip (an electric toothbrush, natch), sometime in late 2018 I discovered The Sill.
What is The Sill? If you sign up, they’ll send you a monthly delivery — of plants.
Aside from her natural ability to convince me our family hadn’t won thousands of dollars from a sweepstakes, growing up, my mother was also an avid gardener, practically obsessed with plants. When we took walks she could often identify growing things by name, and often asked for plants as gifts for her birthday or holidays. She’d spend hours on our somewhat overrun but very beloved plot of land in a small town in Oregon, tending to the ones she’d already situated, and planting newcomers. This, I finally came to understand, is what she did for fun.
Though we’ve struggled in our relationship over the past few years, the more distant I grew from my mother the more I was drawn to plants, and a move back to California — where chic succulents function as a sort of living accessory — only strengthened that growing bond. Discovering The Sill, then, was the best of both worlds: I could receive plants, pots, and other grow-focused accoutrements in the mail, and incorporate them into my personal garden without even leaving the house. The occasional trip to Home Depot aside, another holdover from growing up with my mother, I had everything I needed to create my own plant kingdom.
There’s a couple other things I love about The Sill, aside from the fact that they send plants directly to my home and that it is a female-founded company. For one thing, their pottery is the epitome of minimalistic millennial brilliance, coming in matte blues and greens, or other creamy earth tones. For another, they provide a plant care hotline where anyone — you don’t have to be a monthly member or prove you bought anything from them — can come to ask plant care questions about any plant. There’s an area for photos and descriptions of the ailment, and they usually get back with advice in a day or two.
As my love for plants didn’t necessarily translate to a green thumb, this service helped me more than once when it came to my new babies. My own most common culprit for plant unhappiness? Overwatering. (And that tells you all you need to know about my relational style.) But if you move them to a shady area, and simply do less, most of these are resilient enough to recover from the flood. If you want a more intensive analysis, virtual Plant Care appointments that cover three to five (15 minutes) or five to ten plants (30 minutes) are available for $29 and $39, respectively.
For those who are dedicated to receiving plants and plant-related minutia every month, The Sill subscriptions run $35 a month for regular deliveries of small beginner plants, small low light plants, and small pet-friendly plants, or $55 for medium beginner plants. It isn’t cheap, but it’s also not a lot more than a dinner out with a friend. (And there isn’t a Cinnamon code or anything for a discount, I just found that looking forward to a new plant improved my mental health during a time when that was hard to do.) Though the obvious joke here is that it’s cheaper than therapy, nothing will teach you more about how much environment and neglect versus loving attention can impact a living organism than caring for a plant.
The company also offers a Plant Parent Club for $39 a year that comes with insider perks like free shipping, a members-only newsletter, a percentage off purchasing plants on the site, access to events, and other enticements. For those not interested in long term commitment, anyone can buy plants or pottery off the site and have it shipped to them. And since The Sill opened a brick and mortar location in West Hollywood, you can also stop by the shop to pick up items, shop there, or attend frequent workshops on plant knowledge and care. (There are also locations in San Francisco, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.) If you’re not near any of those places, there are plenty of virtual workshops as well.
Overall, The Sill functions as a hub for the growing obsession with indoor plants that seems to have sprouted from — or grown alongside — the corner of Instagram known affectionately as #Plantstagram, run by Plantfluencers. There are faux plants and soils, plant stands and tools, there is plant jewelry, and fertilizer and terrariums. And, within all the consumerism and chic millennial packaging, there is community-building and pretty solid intel on the benefits of plants. Plants Make People Happy, goes The Sill’s cheery slogan, and whether or not that’s true, I know that for better or worse, looking forward to getting something in the mail does. And I know that feeling closer to my mother, even if it’s unspoken, through the proxy of a little green fern, does too.
Shop The Sill here.