Picture two best friends who live together, have the same hobby, can practically finish each other’s sentences, and are adventurous — that’s Rodrigo Jimenez, 21, and Carlos Melendez, 20, co-founders of The Delicious Monstera, a little Annapolis plant shop that grew from a hobby to a moneymaking venture.
The best friends turned a pre-pandemic obsession into a business that officially opened its doors on March 22.
Melendez and Jimenez, who met as seniors at Annapolis High School in 2019, began their obsession with plants after becoming roommates.
“Our whole apartment was full of plants. We were just getting all these plants,” said Jimenez. “It became a hobby because we weren’t working either,” he added, explaining they dreaded working for other people and always wanted to be entrepreneurs.
The two didn’t immediately have a green thumb.
“Basically we would just go everywhere to buy plants. We didn’t even know how to take care of the plants. We would kill everything. We would ask ourselves, ‘What should we do?’ The next time we’d buy a plant, we would do better,” said Melendez.
As the COVID-19 pandemic plagued the world, the two became more intrigued by plants and knowledgeable about taking care of them.
“We did our research,” said Jimenez. “We were full of knowledge of one plant, and that became knowledge of every plant. We never realized what was going on. We were just collecting and collecting.”
Plants became so key to their lives, their hobby needed to become something more significant.
“Sometimes we would compete over plants,” Melendez said laughing. “And I feel like that’s what made us open the business,” Jimenez replied.
The budding entrepreneurs first took to Facebook Marketplace to sell their plants. Once their idea began to grow, they repotted the hobby into a flourishing business.
The two decided to name their venture The Delicious Monstera, a nod to Melendez’s favorite and first plant — the Monstera deliciosa.
The Monstera deliciosa, which Melendez loves due to its “exotic,” look is a tropical plant that is a type of philodendron known for its split leaves and large growth style.
“To see it grow from a little plant to a big plant,” Melendez explained like a proud parent. “I just love the holes in the leaves [that come] with age and I love how easy it is to propagate.“
Like Melendez’s very first plant, the friends have big plans to watch The Delicious Monstera grow into a bigger, more nuanced business. They hope to begin educating people about plants such as repotting and good soil through YouTube and social media. The two also plan to move to a different location in downtown Annapolis one day.
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“We want to get a storefront, because it’s so hard to find our place right now,” Jimenez said. “Something downtown where we get more foot traffic.”
“And maybe sell outdoor plants,” Melendez added about their vision for the future.
In the meantime, the two encourage people to check out their current location, where they have a selection of about 200 indoor plants.
“I just want more people to come and get to know us — just stop by and check us out,” Jimenez said. “People love it when they find out about us.”
The Delicious Monstera
1200 West St. Floor 2, Annapolis, 571-665-0706, thedeliciousmonstera.myshopify.com
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.