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Nicole Saenz: Best Buds Creating Community Love

Taking care of her house plants was Nicole’s favorite way of relaxing between a long day of working a stressful 9-5 job and family time in the evening. Once she lost her healthcare position, due to the pandemic, she started selling plants, making arrangements, and working pop-up markets. Becoming unemployed fortunately gave her the opportunity to finally go after her dream. On her journey to beat the downfall of the pandemic, Nicole made her way to the Grand Strand in 2020. “I noticed that while there were many amazing outdoor and landscape options here, there was a lack of locally-owned indoor plant shops,” Nicole continued, “My passion for plants and people helped me realize that I wanted to bring the joy of indoor plant life to the Grand Strand.”

Rock n’ Roots Plant Co. opened in May of 2021 in Pawleys Island. Her shop name was chosen because although she primarily sells plants (the roots), she also sells crystals (the rocks). Crystals provide healing benefits for people as well as plants, but they are also a beautiful decoration to pair with any planter. Nicole added: “plus, it was a fun play on words for ‘rock n’ roll’ because it’s catchy, and who doesn’t love some good rock n roll music?” The shop offers classes on how to make your own glass terrariums, wooden planter boxes, holiday wreaths, and other seasonal projects. In addition, the classes provide a great educational portion, so the customers can continue to take proper care of their unique creations. Rock n’ Roots also offers many events at other venues they collaborate with such as local breweries, yoga studios, and wedding venues.

Who better to run a business with than your best bud? Nicole’s husband, Andrew, is her best friend and partner at home with their children as well as at the shop. She runs the front of the house as she teaches the classes and creates the designs, while he does the heavy lifting by keeping up with inventory and mixing their house soil.

Andrew is Nicole’s biggest supporter and they equally loved the vision they planned for the shop. Nicole explained that the most important quality of being a best friend is “truly believing in one another and supporting their dreams. Just as plants need support, people do too.”

When comparing people and plants, Nicole explained that certain varieties remind her of different types of humans. For example, she described succulents as rebellious teenagers going through a phase where you kind of have to give them space and not care for them too much. If you let them do their own thing, they thrive. She also mentioned plants that act like divas and need to be checked on all the time. If not, they will wilt and pout and be all dramatic without constant care, like a toddler throwing a tantrum in need of attention. When I asked her if she talks to her plants, she replied, “Yes, especially when they are being divas. There is definitely scientific evidence that validates that speaking or singing to your plants helps their growth. I visited the Amish Country in Pennsylvania, where there are lots of greenhouses, and when you walk in, all of the ladies are constantly singing. I always play music and positive affirmations in the shop for the plants and the guests.”

Nicole shared a funny mishap story about a time she was alone in the shop. She was trimming leaves and checking water levels when she came across one of her thick plants that has a lot of foliage. When she lifted the leaves, she saw two beady-black eyes looking back at her. She let go of the leaves, screamed, and jumped back. She was not sure if it was a snake or something dangerous, so she used a broom to lift the leaves really high to see what exactly it was. She laughed, “It was just a giant toad! It took me about thirty minutes to coach the toad out of the plant. I am so glad no one walked in at the time because I was chasing this toad all around the shop, but I eventually got him safely outside.”

As a horticulture guru, I asked Nicole if she had any good tips for others trying to create their own indoor jungle. The main suggestion she had was to make sure you have the right soil. For example, Rock n’ Roots sells a special soil that Andrew makes in their shop. He starts by using premium blended soil from a reputable brand, Fox Farm, which is a potting mix with organic materials from mother earth that is composted into plant food. Then, he adds amendments like bark, moss, sand, and perlite to create a nice, well-draining mix specific for house plants. They sell the soil separately and teach you how to mix it yourself, but they also sell it premixed and ready for you to take straight home to use for your plants.

“Raising plants is a lot like parenting,” Nicole continued, “Everyone has a different household and a different way of caring for their plants. You have to go through the motions a few times until you figure out what works best for you.” Just as Nicole’s mom taught her about growing and caring for plants, she is constantly passing these teachings onto her children. She explained, “The most important seeds I have planted in hopes they may someday bloom are my children. I believe that some of the most significant concepts you can teach our youth are how important hard work is, how influential compassion can be, and how fulfilling mother nature can make your overall life. We have to get back to our roots, so we are teaching our kids how to care for plants, how to grow food, and how to be respectful of nature as well as people.”

In 2022, Nicole is hoping that we as a collective can all get along better, and she is very hopeful that her shop can help. Rock n’ Roots provides community and the opportunity for people to relax, forget about the rest, and just live presently in the moment. Participating in Nicole’s classes is the perfect way to spend quality time not only with nature, but also with good friends, new friends, and simply building comradery. Be sure to check out their new store location and follow them on social media to keep up with all of their inspirational events.

New location: 10744 ocean Hwy., Unit A-B, Pawleys Island


Instagram: rocknrootsplantco

Facebook: Rock n’ Roots Plants Co

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