Meet Jordan and Emily Fox, the couple behind High and Dry Cactus Co.

Emily and Jordan- High and Dry Cactus Co.

Emily Fox credits her husband Jordan’s interest in botany with the start of their relationship. They began dating nearly a decade ago, when both were in college.

“He would ask if I wanted to go out and find this random plant he was searching for,” she says with a laugh. The field assignments from Jordan’s conservation and botany classes frequently became the itinerary for their dates, and as their relationship (ahem) bloomed, so did their mutual passion for plants — specifically cacti.

Enter High and Dry Cactus Co., a cactus and succulent nursery the couple built in a converted garage behind their home in Kansas City’s Rosedale neighborhood.

“The idea is to create a curated selection of cacti that you dont normally see in the Midwest,” Jordan says. “We’ve established relationships with cactus growers in the Southwest, and we make trips to the growers and hand-pick each plant. We get to know the story of the people who grow them and the history behind each plant, so each of them really become special to us. And then we drive them all back to Kansas City.”

Emily and Jordan- High and Dry Cactus Co.

The Foxes talk lovingly about their plant sourcing trips and favorite finds, like a 4-foot Old Man Cactus (a tubular cactus with long tufts of white hair growing from its body) they purchased from Joe, a private grower near Phoenix. They gush about his story — a semi-retired landscape artist whose “backyard” spans several acres and is filled with rare and wondrous cacti varieties. (“There’s one he planted 30 years ago that’s taller than his house now,” Emily says.) The couple also reminisces about Richard, a former roadie with a green thumb who gifted them a mint-scented succulent to keep their car smelling fresh while they roamed dirt roads in Arizona and New Mexico.

“In getting to know these people, we understand who we’re helping,” Emily says. “It’s important to them, too, to know that we’re going to continue caring for these plants. It was important for them to see their babies become precious to us, too.”

High and Dry Cactus Co. carries dozens of cactus varieties. There’s something for every price range. Younger plants, potted in one-gallon planters, start at around $38, and prices go up from there. Some mature and rare plants are potted in 15-gallon planters, like the striking,
knobby-bodied, azure-hued Blue Monstrose Peruvian Apple Cactus, which forms apple-sized fruits and beautiful flowers and goes for nearly $400. All cacti come with a modern terra cotta planter, which is included in the ticket price, and care instructions.

The Foxes have set up cacti residencies at Hammerpress (500 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 816-421-1929, hammerpress.net) and Foxtrot Supply Co. (115 W. 18th St. Suite 100, Kansas City, Mo. 913-725-8792, foxtrotsupply.com), which Jordan also co-owns. You can shop a small selection at either of these locations, but for the full experience, the Foxes encourage customers to set up one-on-one shopping appointments at their Rosedale garage.

“With these specimens, it’s about the story,” Jordan says. “We selected each of these plants. We believe in their quality and their origin, and we want to share that with the person who wants to take them home. That intimacy is what’s important for us because these plants didn’t come from a big box store. We just want to provide these beautiful pieces to people who recognize and appreciate them. Some of these specimens are so striking, they’re almost like furniture.”

“Or like art,” Emily adds. 

To schedule your one-on-one shopping appointment with High and Dry Cactus Co., email jordan@highanddrycactus.co.

Categories: People

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