BROOKSVILLE — Succulents are all the rage among plant lovers, whether a green thumb is visible or doesn’t exist at all. That’s because succulents are everything we love in colorful, stylish, unique plant life without the risk of fragility.

“They are very versatile,” said Anastasia Alaimo, owner of Succulent City, a new shop that opened in Brooksville on Aug. 22. Her store is filled with the popular plant in a variety of styles, with or without colorful blooms.

But these tough gems aren’t just sitting pretty in boring planters. Alaimo has crafted many unusual arrangements inside a variety of bases. Customers can bring in their own containers and she will send them away with a unique and lasting gift.

In fact, the longevity is why live plant arrangements are becoming attractive alternatives to cut flower ones. And that is the result Alaimo is going for. Her shop resembles a florist in concept with designers who craft beautiful works of art using live succulents. 

Succulents are plants with thickened, fleshy parts that hold water in drier climates. Because they are so resilient, it is very simple to care for them. Succulents are often grown as ornamental plants with striking and unusual appearances. And they offer so many amazing opportunities to get creative.

Creativity is certainly something that comes naturally to Alaimo. A makeup artist by trade, she found herself at a crossroads when COVID-19 hit. Within a couple of weeks, her calendar was wiped clean of clients when weddings and special occasions were canceled. 

Her husband, who works in the financial industry writing mortgages, was also hit hard with a significant drop in clients. No one was applying for loans as the pandemic shut down businesses and created a domino effect of income losses, and unemployment and quickly triggered panic from the uncertainty.

Alaimo had to redefine herself and did so when a client traded succulents as payment for her bridal makeup session.

“I already loved succulents,” Alaimo said. At that time, she wasn’t thinking about a business. But when she brought the plants home and started arranging them into gorgeous pieces, she had a vision.

She and her husband began building the business outside of the recreational vehicle in which they were living, inside an RV park. But when the park owners halted the activity just after Mother’s Day, the couple moved the inventory to his mother’s house. 

In just a couple of months, they had built a clientele of more than 1,000 orders. “And it just grew from there,” Alaimo said.

It was a rough couple of months, she admitted. But it all came together with a storefront in Brooksville and a grand opening Aug. 22. A beautifully designed shop houses an assortment of arrangements for any taste or budget. Unique ideas await visitors who love succulents but aren’t sure how to display them. Others know exactly what they want. And Alaimo is very eager to customize unique creations for her clients.

Customers are encouraged to visit the showroom, which is a creative experience on its own. A unique epoxy countertop with colorful displays against a lush backdrop of greenery emits a beautiful garden atmosphere.

Alaimo seems in her element, digging deep into pots of soils and crafting gorgeous succulent arrangements. She does deliveries and creates pieces for weddings and funerals.

“I’m like a florist with live plants,” she said, beaming. “And I love it.”

Succulent City is at 20150 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville. It is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Follow it on Facebook for updated information and upcoming events.

Photos by KIM DAME

Anastasia Alaimo opened Succulent City when her career as a makeup artist suddenly plummeted due to COVID-19. The shop, eloquently imagined in a garden atmosphere, is similar to that of a florist. “But I work with live plants,” Alaimo said.

Succulent City opened in Brooksville on Aug. 22.

The interior of the shop is cozy, with a creative epoxy countertop and green vegetation. Live succulent plants are arranged creatively throughout the showroom.

Succulents are versatile plants that can be arranged in varying planters or bases, upon the customer’s choosing. The store has a huge selection of inventory, from unique pottery to planters to novelties.

Succulents come in a variety of different styles, colors, and lengths, with and without blooms. The plants are easy to care for and require little experience.

Customers can purchase a base from the large inventory or bring their own.