Photos by Danny Fulgencio

Courtney Goldberg doesn’t have a green thumb, but her home-based plant business has put her in the black.

Her succulent arrangements, accented with patterned sand, gemstones and natural elements, have been spotted at charity luncheons at Neiman’s, Ascension, a Kent Rathbun event, medical spas and downtown office buildings. Urban Spikes, a name inspired by the porcupine quills she sometimes uses, has a word-of-mouth following after just two years.

“With cut succulents and low-maintenance plants, you don’t have to have a long-winded knowledge of everything,” she says. “I’m like a designer of plants.”

Goldberg says one of her biggest sales barriers in the beginning was customers’ fear that they would kill the plants. When she started selling her creations at the Crescent Court Farmers Market, she created signage that read, “You don’t have to take care of us.”

“It takes the worry off,” she says. “You can have green in your space without the pressure of, ‘Did I water it? Did I overwater it? Did I kill it?’ ’’

Goldberg is in the garage workshop of her Mason Dells home. She’s in the third trimester of her pregnancy with her third boy. She points out meticulously organized bins of colored sand, dried mushrooms, driftwood, agate, smoky black quartz and coffee beans. She orders the succulents from Holland, and they arrive in boxes.

Inside her pristine home, ready-made orders are tucked into the corners of her dining room and living room. Three-hundred succulents for the Crescent Building, 500 for McKinney and Olive. Another grouping waits for an Earth Day celebration. Her Dachshund, Spike, wanders in. 

Goldberg’s 3- and 5-year-old boys are away at Akiba Academy. Don’t they like to play in the sand? Sometimes they like to make an arrangement, she says. “But this isn’t a really fun area for them — unless they’re riding their scooters.”

Urban Spikes has two employees, and Goldberg is considering finding a studio. “I’m pretty sure this is a business at this point.”

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