Market Botany owner Cameron Curry.

Just a few years ago, Cameron Curry, now 26, was a culinary student cultivating houseplants in his college dorm, which friends nicknamed the "jungle bedroom." These days, Curry is a plant influencer, with more than 122,000 followers on TikTok, where he shares short, funny and high-energy videos with tips about how to care for houseplants that also offer viewers a peek into his plant fanatic world.

When Curry started his TikTok in March 2020, he had no idea how big his page could grow. After culinary school, he landed a job as a chef on a cruise ship, but last spring, Covid-19 put a halt to that gig. Out of work, Curry picked up a job at Publix, and with an influx of free time, he dedicated himself to creating content on TikTok.

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"I started realizing that there was a niche," says Curry. "There were people who are very interested in plants and there was a presence of them on social media." The hashtag #planttok, for example, has reached 1.6 billion views on TikTok.

Curry started by showing his five favorite houseplants and tutorials for creating moss poles and progressed to hosting giveaways of his propagated plants, which allowed him to expand his gardening skills. "Learning about gardening is what helped me to learn about house plants," says Curry.

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As a child, Curry grew up immersed in nature, which he credits his dad for exposing him to. After his family moved from South Padre Island, Texas, to  Sarasota in 2007, Curry noticed a drastic change, from seeing cacti everywhere to being surrounded by lush, vibrant plants.

"I was seeing these huge plants that I'd only seen in pictures, and it was so exciting," says Curry. "I had my connection to nature, but now I had this extra dynamic."

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A year after joining TikTok, Curry launched an online houseplant shop named Market Botany with just $30, selling more than 100 types of plants and various plant care essentials. This summer, he joined the Sarasota Farmers Market, where he operates a stand every Saturday morning.

Market Botany bestsellers include the golden pothos, Syngonium and snake plants, since they're easy to grow and low-maintenance. Market Botany also offers a monthly subscription box; plant parents receive a starting pot of the latest trending plant, merchandise and plant care products. It's a great way to make plant parenthood more accessible, says Curry.

"Plant people are going to need a store that they can go to filled with trusted brands," says Curry. "Will it be Market Botany? Find out."

Find Market Botany at the Sarasota Farmers Market every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., or visit the company's website for more info.

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