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Walk into Keeping it Green any Saturday and embrace the feeling of warm plant hugs all around.

Owner Sarah Pederson has turned her passion for house plants into a fun business.

“It’s something I enjoy doing,” Pederson said. “I’ve always loved plants and playing in the dirt.”

The business is twofold. The Keeping it Green storefront on Cedar Avenue is home to a wide array of tropical and domestic houseplants. It also is the receiving address for Pederson’s interior landscaping department.

The bulk of the business in indoor landscaping. There are so many other places that do outdoor landscaping, Pedersen said, it makes sense to keep it to indoor landscaping, which is year round.

“It’s a labor of love,” she said.

During the week, Pederson and her two part-time employees service more than 70 commercial businesses. They offer plant care and maintenance, including pruning, repotting and tending of all interior plants.

In addition to commercial services, the business offers long-term and vacation plant care as well as drop-in visits to help or trouble shoot. Many customers are snowbirds or travelers who tend to be away for seasons at a time. Pederson also makes visits to senior citizens who may need occasional assistance with plant care in their homes.

“I also can come look and give direction,” she said. “Help with repotting or pruning. Different plants have different requirements and I can give directions to help make them thrive.”

Prices for in-home care vary depending on the number of plants. Generally, it’s $45 a month for weekly maintenance of about a dozen plants, Pederson said.

At the store, Pederson holds monthly terrarium classes during the winter and spring. Those who attend get to select fairy garden figurines and plants from the inventory and build a container garden. The price generally is $50.

She said she might be a little fixated on indoor tropical plants of all varieties and that’s what she mostly puts on her store shelves. She works with a number of nurseries in Hawaii, Colorado and Washington to get and give good deals.

Always fascinated by plants, Pederson said she had done a lot of research on her own. She was working in insurance when she heard Outside In garden center, located on Euclid Avenue, might soon be for sale. She met with owner Betsy Pennington and went to work for her in 2011. She said she took the opportunity to learn all she could from Pennington. They arranged for her to buy the business.

Pederson made the purchase in 2012, changed the name to Keeping it Green, and moved the business to her home. It didn’t take long for her to fill the space available and it made more sense to open a storefront. The store is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays at 1611 Cedar St. Customers are welcome to bring their plants to the shop to obtain assistance and advice on care.

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City Editor

Assistant editor at the Helena Independent Record.

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