Growing a green business: Honey Plant Owner shares her story, plant parent tips, and what’s next

Since Honey Plant began selling its assortment of eclectic and rare houseplants and containers at Fort Wayne farmers markets, it’s been a fixture in the Downtown scene.

In 2022, it tripled the size of its storefront on the Wells Street Corridor, and it’s preparing to add a new location at the Electric Works Union Street Market, a 20-plus merchant daily public market scheduled to open in October.

Just in time for Earth Day, Input Fort Wayne sits down with Honey Plant Owner Cassandra Braman to learn more about her background in the plant business, her plans for the future, and her best plant parent tips.

Honey Plant is located at 1436 N. Wells St.

IFW: What inspired you to start Honey Plant, and why Fort Wayne, of all places?

CB: The idea for Honey Plant slowly evolved in Austin, TX, where I moved to with my husband and friends straight from Ball State. I went down there as a young photojournalist and soon learned I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I’d always balanced wanting to be in science and in the arts and was constantly waffling between the two. I had my photojournalism degree, all my pre-requisites for medical school, took the MCAT (didn’t do so hot), worked at a portrait studio, a high-end florist, produced commercial photography for a bit, and eventually found myself in a plant shop. 

Behind the scenes of all this, I was experimenting with houseplants, reading up on everything, listening to podcasts that were just starting to come out and realized I was enjoying myself. I felt confident and found the whole thing cathartic. 

Luckily for Fort Wayne, Logan grew up here, was an entrepreneur, and encouraged me to join him in making the best houseplant shop we could. We were tired of being out of state from family, and Fort Wayne also seemed to have a great small business scene ramping up. 

A selection of small succulents and cacti at Honey Plant.

IFW: Your business has grown a lot since you started. Tell us about your newly expanded shop on Wells Street.

CB: We were able to take over the entire ground floor of our building after two years in our original space. This has allowed us to accumulate larger plants, offer planting supplies, better display all of our pottery options, and given us enough room for workshops when we eventually start up with those again. 

Honey Plant sells a variety of plants and containers.

IFW: You’re going to be a tenant at Electric Works Union Street Market this fall. What will this next location be like?

CB: I’m excited to be included in such a large project for the community! This is going to be a great way to offer quality plants to people on the go! This will be a second location for us, and in contrast to our mother shop, we plan on offering a lot more pre-made live botanical arrangements along with our popular houseplants and pots. We will also have seasonal offerings like flower farm flowers to keep things fresh and interesting. Our goal is to narrow in on as many high-quality, hyper-local options as possible—to focus on what’s available here in the U.S., instead of shipping everything in from all over the world. This will play well with the theme of having only local, independent entrepreneurs within Union Market.

In addition to plants, Honey Plant sells locally made pottery.

IFW: Earth Day is approaching. What are some of your personal favorite plants in the shop right now?

CB: It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but I truly love Monstera Adansonii and calatheas. Monstera Adansonii trails and has all these fenestrations, or windows, in the leaves, and each plant has its own unique look. I could own so many if I let myself! Calatheas are also known as prayer plants. They can be fickle if the lighting is too harsh or if their watering schedule isn’t adhered to, but I’ve luckily found a happy spot in my living room for them to live. They fold up at night and spread out during the day. I find the patterns on the leaves mesmerizing. 

Honey Plant is located at 1436 N. Wells St.

IFW: What plants would you recommend for beginning growers?

CB: For beginning growers, it depends on what they want out of a plant. If they want something architectural in style and can go long stretches with no care, snake plants and ZZs are great options! You can usually go a month in between waterings! If they want to watch and nurture a plant while it grows at a reasonable pace, philodendrons are a great place to start. Some trail, some are bushy. They need watering about once a week, and most are pretty forgiving with minor inconsistencies in care. 

Snake plants are a good option for beginning growers.

IFW: What’s something people might not expect about your work? Any interesting insights or insider tips you can share?

CB: There is so much trial and error involved with what I do! It’s been 10 years or so of me discovering my love of and taking care of plants, so maybe it seems like it’s just easy for me, but in reality, I have had to treat it like a grand science experiment! Soil constantly holding too much water? Next time add chunks of material like orchid bark and perlite into the soil. Plant just slowly withering away? Evaluate lighting, fertilizing schedule, watering schedule, evidence of pests and change one thing at a time. Killed the plant anyway? Think about what you learned, and try again! It’s so much fun when you don’t judge yourself too harshly for not getting it right the first time. 

Honey Plant is located at 1436 N. Wells St.

IFW: What hopes do you have for the future of your business and for Fort Wayne?

CB: My hope for Honey Plant is to offer people a different experience than what they are used to. I want to give people insights into basic houseplant care when they come into the shop. I want them to feel comfortable asking questions and learning from my experiences. I also want to get away from excessive use of plastic, excessive travel of supplies, and from not thinking about what potting materials we are using. I know we are not doing everything perfectly yet, and we may never get there fully, but I want to strive for that and show people you can strive for that. Behind the scenes, we are working on a new venture that will eliminate a big chunk of our carbon footprint in the near future. 

Honey Plant is located at 1436 N. Wells St.

IFW: Anything we didn’t ask that we should have asked?

CB: We give away our used nursery pots for free! Whether you have a seed-planting project, or just need some to upsize a few houseplants—just ask for as many as you want.

Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.