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Find rare, unique greens at Plant Vault in Encinitas

Karli Heineman and Andre Caminite of Plant Valut.
Karli Heineman and Andre Caminite of Plant Valut.
(Ava Tribe)

The perfect plant can be a show piece, it can add warmth to a home, character to a space and can even boost your mood. For Plant Vault owner Karli Heineman, pursuing a passion for plants led to a whole new successful and fulfilling business venture: “Working every day is so much fun.”

Newly opened in Encinitas, Plant Vault specializes in the rare and the beautiful. Heineman runs her business out of a space in her home filled with gorgeous greenery—the luxury showroom currently carries 80 varieties of rare and unique plants such as Monsteras, Anthuriums, Alocasias, Philodendrons and succulents with the goal of matching plant-lovers of all skill levels with their dream plant.

“We’re selling rare plants at the most affordable prices you can find anywhere,” said Heineman. In an incubator room they are also growing their own Vault specimens of plants such as Philodendron White Princess, Knights and Wizards and Billietiae, considered a collectors plant coveted for its long leaves and orange stalks.

Originally from Los Angeles, Heineman comes from a background in marketing and public relations. For 12 years she represented all of the fashion lines and events at The California Market Center, the hub of fashion in downtown LA. An Encinitas resident for five years, she is a mother of two girls: Simone, a San Dieguito Academy volleyball standout, and Collette, a Diegueno Middle School student who helps out in the Vault, misting plants and learning about running a business.

Inside the Plant Vault.
(Karen Billing)

Heineman’s interest for plants grew during the downtime of the pandemic.

“I got really into plants like a lot of other people,” she said. “It was totally all-consuming, I just became obsessed.”

In her quest to fill her home and garden with plants, she would frequent garden centers and big box stores but she found that all of the plants were the same, there was nothing unique. She eventually turned to rare plant sellers on Etsy.

In her explorations, she discovered there was a big plant community in Encinitas and she connected with them to find out what they were interested in. She would seek out plants to sell and every week her shelves would be empty as people snapped up what she found.

Plant Vault now boasts a large variety of rare plants by working with wholesalers out of Indonesia, Colombia and Ecuador. With help from her tissue culture expert Andre Caminite, they are also growing their own plants from babies in the Vault’s incubator as well as in an on-site greenhouse.

“When I met Karli, I knew this was the best place for me,” said Caminite, a fellow plant lover who serves on the staff that includes plant manager Ava Tribe.

Following Plant Vault’s July soft opening, Heineman has racked up 500 followers on Instagram. People can order plants online or come by the showroom to take a chance on what is available on the shelves.

Currently on the shelves there are variegated ZZs, highly coveted Dark Lords with their big, dark green leaves, and Pictim Tricolor with its almost camouflaged-looking foliage.

Inside the Plant Vault incubator.
(Courtesy of Plant Vault)

“Everyone likes something different but a classic rare plant is a Monstera Thai Constellation. People love that plant, it’s easy care and so different looking,” said Heineman of the stunning plant with its large variegated and fenestrated leaves.

Heineman said she would eventually like the grow the business into a true lifestyle company—already they sell plant-inspired clothing, totes, jewelry, artwork and stickers. Next summer she has plans to host an avant-garde fashion show pairing plants and apparel.

First up, Plant Vault will host a Halloween Plant Party focused on goth plants on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 3-6 p.m.

The event will help people decorate for the holiday in an elevated way with Halloween-inspired plants and accessories—one planter reads “Feed Me Seymour,” a nod to the monster plant in “Little Shop of Horrors”. The plants for sale will not necessarily be rare plants, but unique ones like Venus Flytraps, the red-stemmed Bloody Mary, Ric Rac with its zig-zag leaves, and the Mimosa, a sensitive plant whose leaves curl up when you touch it.

The event will include a planting station to make your own Halloween decorations, games, prizes, food and drinks and the first 25 people to show up will get a free plant. RSVP by emailing info@plantvault.com.

The showroom is open by appointment only. Check out Plant Vault online at plantvault.com for more information or follow them on Instagram @Plant_Vault

The popular Monstera Thai Constellation.
(Karen Billing)


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