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Hidden Gems: Meet Hammy Sorkin of Widmer Botanicals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hammy Sorkin.

Hi Hammy, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was one of the many dorky science kids — while on family vacations I’d draw birds in my sketchbook and fill my pockets with rocks. At 18 I moved, on my own, to Windhoek, Namibia. I really fell in love with the desert, and brought that love back with me when I moved back to St. Louis to attend Washington University. I started at the WashU greenhouse as a work study student, and although I’ve grown plants all my life, that’s where my love of plants really took off! Through the years I’d get frustrated with ill-cared for and mislabeled (or often, not labeled at all) plants for sale.

I wanted to take things into my own hands. After all, I was already growing too many plants to fit in my apartment. It also allowed me to have a great outlet for my art, mostly drawings and digital illustrations of succulents and cacti. This is how Widmer Botanicals started: as a creative, educated, and accessible space for plants. Each month I have a pay what you want section that 100% benefits charity to fundraise, but also to allow plants to thrive in everyone’s home.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Overall, I am very lucky to have been able to start this and keep it going. The bumps, like any other small business, are mostly financial. I have big ideas. And, like any other plant lover, I often run out of space for all the plants. I have nine grow light shelves plus a greenhouse, cared for by my mom! And yet I find myself always looking for more space…

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Widmer Botanicals?
I am mostly a succulent and cacti grower. I have professional horticulture setups at two locations in St. Louis, neither of which are public at this time. I am diving into houseplants a little, but I would say 75% of my plants are succulents. What I provide as a business is support. I am not a reseller — I’m a grower. I don’t buy succulents from a farm in California then mark them up. I spend months and sometimes longer growing my plants for sale. I like to make sure the plants are healthy and stable before putting them out. In addition, all plants come with a species label and a care sheet. I like to tell people that no, they can’t kill them! I always offer up my advice and help for anyone, whether they bought a plant from me or not. I genuinely want to see plants thrive in others’ care!

I also collaborate with my mom a lot. She’s a lifelong, multi-skilled artist who creates beautiful pots (with drainage) and stunning, handwoven plant hangers.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I think the social aspect of my business is huge: I try to actively support marginalized communities in St. Louis by doing fundraisers and commissioning local artists. I love being a business in St. Louis that also INVOVLES St. Louis. In addition, my favorite part so far is making friends with regulars and other plant people!


  • 4″ potted succulent/cacti: $10 (tax included in all prices)
  • 6″ potted succulent/cacti: $20
  • Handmade 5″ pot: $30
  • Houseplants/tropicals: $10-$80
  • Rare plants, starting at $25

Contact Info:

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