Montrose-based plant shop Dirt Bag is growing community

Jessica Cohen has her roots in plants. Combining her knowledge of tropical vegetation from her mother’s Colombian heritage with her knowledge of desert vegetation from her father’s Mexican roots, she said she could combine plants with people.

Cohen owns and operates Dirt Bag, a Montrose-based plant shop that sells plants, pots and soil while collaborating with local artists to sell their products in the shop. It provides resources for every step of plant care: purchasing, potting, pruning, and protecting against disease. Before opening Dirt Bag, Cohen worked in brand management. Inspired by shops full of plants while visiting a client in Belgium, she realized that selling plants indoors was perfect for Houston.

“Who wants to buy plants outside? It’s 100 degrees,” Cohen said.

Fast forward to 2020, and Cohen found gardening therapeutic during the coronavirus pandemic and wanted to share its benefits. Realizing she had separated work and gardening for too long, she married her in Dirt Bag and opened its doors on August 20, 2020.

“We didn’t know anything about retail, but we knew plants and we knew Houston,” said Cohen.

Cohen’s family owns the 1919 home that Dirt Bag occupies. She grew up in the Montrose neighborhood and wanted to protect the old house from demolition, she said.

Cohen said the house offers perfect conditions for the plants. Plants thrive in natural light, high humidity and low ventilation.

Dirt Bag associates match customers with the right plant for their plant care experience, lifestyle and home lighting needs. Staffers will also repot plants for free, drill drainage holes in planters, diagnose and treat plant diseases, and even conduct site visits for larger plants. Workshops led by store associates or salespeople educate aspiring plant parents on plant-related topics including potting, plant care, soil mixing and propagation.

It also produces and sells dirt in-house – hence the name Dirt Bag. Cohen emphasized the importance of using quality soil to keep a plant healthy, comparing it to eating food.

Cohen said she’s picky about the nurseries the plants are sourced from. She prioritizes healthy, high-quality plants over quantity. Dirt Bag sources its plants from specialty farms in the Texas Hill Country, Florida and California.

The shop also helps local artists get a foot in the door by providing them with a market to sell their products, including candles, planters, and hanging pots made from a variety of materials. Dirt Bag also joins markets and pop-up shops in the area to bring its plants and artist creations to a larger part of the community.

“We make a point of taking things that you won’t find anywhere else,” said Cohen. “It’s our way of supporting the community, keep the money in Texas, keep the money in Houston.”

dirt bag

701 Gray St., Ste. 1, Houston


Opening hours: 11am-10pm daily

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