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This quirky sibling-run shop is bursting with low-maintenance plants

San Pedro, CA - July 13: Brittany and Jose Montero, the sister and brother team, who owns Prop House Plants pose for a portrait behind the counter at their plant shop on Thursday, July 13, 2023 in San Pedro, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Sibling duo Brittany and Jose Montero behind the counter of their shop, Prop House Plants. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

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Brittany Montero and her brother, Jose, weren’t close growing up. With a 10-year age gap between them, they didn’t have much in common. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the siblings reconnected through their shared interest in plants.

It started as a hobby to cope with quarantine isolation, said Brittany, 33, and a means of healing together by bringing the outdoors inside. Jose said he would often drive to visit his sister and return home with a car chock-full of plants.

“We’d go looking for free plants all the time,” said Jose, 23. “It was a way we bonded in our adulthood.”

Hands reach out to grab a hanging plant.

Jose Montero cares for a plant at Prop House Plants. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

This shared pastime quickly transformed into an obsession through spreading their knowledge and love of house plants to others. The Monteros began holding pop-up plant markets in March 2022, which they said were hit-or-miss but provided valuable lessons about what it takes to run a small business. By October of that year, they opened their very own mom-and-pop — or more like bro-and-sis — plant shop in downtown San Pedro called Prop House Plants.

Brittany, who worked in the film industry before starting this venture, said the shop’s name is a reference to the prop houses on movie sets, which tend to have an entire section dedicated to plants. It’s also a play on the word propagation, which is plant lingo for the process of reproducing multiple plants from a single plant,

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