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Plantoem, a Plant Shop with a Poetic Touch
With Zoe Zhang

By Sharonne Gracia


Plantoem: plant & poem  Tucked away on the second floor of Lafite plaza overlooking Waialae Avenue, you will find Plantoem – a unique sanctuary where plants are displayed poetically, each spotlighted to highlight its natural beauty. Stepping through the doorway, you’re greeted by a jungle-like atmosphere with exotic Monsteras and lush ferns cascading from the shelves. The soft music and the soothing aroma of fresh coffee invite you to explore further. 

Combining her love for plants and coffee, Zoe Zhang, owner of Platoem in Kaimuki, understands the power of nature to transform a space and mirror our emotions. She created a space where visitors can enjoy the calming presence of nature while sipping a cup of coffee, fostering a unique and inviting atmosphere.

Plantoem started as an online shop after COVID-19 caused Zoe to lose her job. What she didn’t expect was the overwhelming demand for plants, leading her to consider opening a physical location.

The name Plantoem merges “plants” and “poems”, reflecting Zhang’s creative spirit and love for greenery. For Zoe, plants are like poetry – each one tells a unique story, conveys a sense of beauty, and evokes emotions. 

This urban jungle has some seriously out of the ordinary plants. I am talking about giant elephant ears with leaves the size of umbrellas, baby zebrina with their zebra-like stripes and caladiums with leaves like colorful birthday balloons!

Finding Platoem could be a challenge for the casual passerby. Its hidden location initially posed a significant obstacle in attracting new clients. However, perseverance and the support of the Kaimuki local community have helped the shop flourish.

Platoem is more than just a shop. It’s a place to connect with nature, to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and to find a plant that speaks to your soul. 

Whether you’re a plant parent or plant curious, Zoe and her knowledgeable staff are there to guide you on your journey. Zoe often hears comments like, “I’m a plant killer!” or “I can’t keep any plant alive!” That’s one of the reasons Plantoem exists. Zoe said, “I want to educate and empower everyone to cultivate a connection with the natural world, even if it starts with a single pot on your window sill.”

To further this mission, Zoe is taking plant education to schools. She explained, “We’re engaging with high schools and middle schools, such as Kaimuki High School and Kahala Middle School, teaching students about plant care and sustainability. We lead workshops and classes, helping young people develop an appreciation for nature and the skills to nurture it.

Outside of regular business hours, Plantoem offers a variety of events such as yoga sessions, live music and poetry nights, painting classes, and even dance events. Notably, our own tango instructor, Stewart Yerton, has performed there with some of his students.

Plantoem is not just a place to buy plants or drink coffee, it’s a community center where nature, relaxation, and creativity intersect.


Photos by Plantoem & Sharonne

Learn more about Breadshop at: www.plantoem.com

3457 Waialae Ave #203, Honolulu, HI

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)