Columbus Shopping Guide: Take a Day Trip to Groovy Plants Ranch

It’s worth the drive to visit this sprawling, 3-acre nursery off I-71 in Marengo.

Emma Frankart Henterly
Columbus Monthly
Plants on display at Groovy Plants Ranch in Marengo, Ohio

If you garden, collect houseplants or enjoy landscape design, you’re probably at least aware of Groovy Plants Ranch, the sprawling, 3-acre Marengo nursery just off I-71. And if you aren’t … consider your “plant enthusiast” card temporarily revoked.

Before you protest the drive time, know this: There’s a reason Groovy Plants Ranch, or GPR as those in the know call it, is a destination store. It’s not just the multiple massive retail greenhouses with outstanding selection, nor the friendly staff who are always willing to answer questions, nor the potting bars that let you repot your new plant into the perfect vessel (with free, high-quality soil, no less), nor the Insta-worthy photo ops scattered throughout—it’s all that, and then some.

Groovy Plants Ranch owner Jared Hughes poses with a hardy banana tree.

As the business’ website proclaims, it is “more than just a garden center.” Expect to see food or coffee trucks parked out front on the weekends, as well as a special duty officer directing traffic between the property and its overflow parking lot—GPR is just that popular. Owner Jared Hughes can often be found on-site, stocking plants or answering questions. He has an easy commute, after all; his house, which he shares with his wife, Liz, and their two daughters, is just next door. Classes and workshops are offered regularly, and events like the annual Handmade Hoedown (a marketplace featuring local artisans), rare plant releases, seasonal sales, behind-the-scenes tours and more pepper the calendar.

The 150-year-old former schoolhouse was one of the property’s main draws when Hughes purchased it in 2015 (by which point he’d already been in the biz for eight years). Today, that historic building houses seeds and handmade, artisanal goods like clothing, art and local honey, and its back porch serves as a stage for live music. “We’re 100 percent committed to making a fun, inviting space for people—with great plants,” Hughes says.

What to Buy

Banana trees in Ohio? Yes! Preorders for the Musa basjoo ($25.99), or hardy banana tree, are offered each winter for pickup in May. The showstopping, cold-hardy perennial won’t produce fruit, but it can grow up to 14 feet tall, as seen in the photo at far right.

Thing to Do

Yoga at the Ranch is offered from 9 to 10 a.m. every other Sunday all year long. For $15, you’ll participate in an energizing flow practice led by a certified instructor, rain or shine.

Find It

Groovy Plants Ranch

4140 County Road 15, Marengo, 740-675-2681

Plant Stores in Columbus

To satisfy your green thumb without leaving the I-270 outerbelt, try these plant shops:

Coles Plants

726 N. High St., Short North, 614-754-7424, colesplants.net

Good Land

289 W. Walnut St., Suite 16, Franklinton, (by appointment only), goodlandbrand.com

The Plant Gays

212 Kelton Ave., Trolley District (inside East Market), 630-779-3132, theplantgays.com


220 Thurman Ave., German Village, 614-965-4626, 305 E. Fifth Ave., Italian Village, 614-965-4627, stumpplants.com

This story is from the Where to Shop Now package in the May 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.