The only way to enjoy this M’sian startup’s “popsicles” is to dump them in dirt
Poptanical is a Malaysian startup selling easy and convenient DIY seed pop kits that lets kids and adults grow home herb gardens at home.
People who have thriving herb gardens just always seem so put together to me. I’ve not yet unlocked this secret to a better life yet, but it’s not because I have a black thumb.
From childhood memories of just throwing seeds onto dirt and watching them grow like crazy, I’m inclined to believe that I have a green thumb, actually.
What’s really stopping me from living my best plant mum life is more of the hassle that comes with preparing to plant something.
Just to plant one thing, you’ve got to get the right seeds, soil, pots, tools, etc. It’s no wonder that DIY grow kits have risen in popularity, as they offer an easier way to get started.
Poptanical is built on that concept, just packaged in a cuter way: as popsicles.
Planting the seeds of a business
Founded by a sibling trio, Penny, Karen, and Justin Goh, Poptanical sells five types of seed pops, which is what the product concept is actually called.
Seed pops are made by moulding seeds, peat moss, and clay into a circular disk or ball shape, which is then stuck onto the end of a labelled wooden stick.
To plant a seed pop, just stick it into a pot with some soil, remember it, and watch it sprout. At this stage, the wooden stick then serves as a plant marker.Image Credit: Poptanical
Through some internet sleuthing, we found posts about seed pops that dated back to 2020, with the concept spreading across various countries such as the US, Canada, and Thailand.
The Goh siblings themselves first discovered the products on Instagram, and though they didn’t exactly have green thumbs, they wanted to try something different.
So, they reached out to a seed pop company, learnt that they were looking for a distributor in Malaysia, and the rest was history.
Trying out the product for themselves first before taking up the distributorship, the trio were convinced after realising how easy the seed pop made the process.
They shared that they’re currently the sole distributor of the seed pops in Malaysia, and run Poptanical as a home-based business on the side while continuing their day jobs in advertising and IT.
From pop to plant in a pot
Poptanical sells their seed pops as DIY Edible Growing Kits, which means they package everything that a beginner planter would need to grow the seed pops.
Convenience aside, we can’t emphasise any further how cute and unintimidating the seed pops are.
Wrapped in colourful paper like little lollipops, complete with a wooden ice cream stick, they’re made to entice one to unwrap the seed pops and start their green journey.
“Aesthetics aside, seed pops are also a healthful new method of planting since the seeds and nutrients needed for [the plant’s] rapid growth are mixed in the pop itself,” the siblings pointed out.
The five types of seeds Poptanical sells are basil, kale, broccoli, rocket, and spinach.Image Credit: Poptanical
The DIY Edible Growing Kits are priced between RM38 (for one seed pop kit) up to RM82 (three seed pop kits) depending on the bundles you go for, which are on the slightly higher end of prices when plant shopping, especially for these varieties.
However, each Poptanical kit comes complete with seed pops, biodegradable pots, packets of premium mix soil, and mini gardening tools.
This takes away the hassle of shopping for the other tools yourself, overthinking your purchases, and procrastinating on ever growing anything at all. From experience, this vicious cycle continues, and continues.
Of course, one can always just buy a fully-grown herb plant, but where’s the satisfaction and fun in that?
Turning those with “black thumbs” over a new leaf
These DIY Edible Growing Kits are made for anyone to start planting, from kids to working adults.
Kids will get a fun kick out of it while being educated about a greener lifestyle and of course, the responsibility of caring for a living thing.
Adults would appreciate being able to harvest their own greens for consumption, while paying minimal attention to the plants.Image Credit: Poptanical
According to the siblings, caring for the seed pops is as easy as watering them in the morning every one to two days before leaving for work.
But even with the cute packaging and an online presence, Penny, Karen, and Justin said that their biggest challenge, for now, would be convincing potential customers who have “black thumbs” to try planting their seed pops.Image Credit: Poptanical
To tackle that, the siblings said, “We share with them stories of how we started Poptanical with no gardening background and how our plants have thrived despite our busy schedules.”
“Perhaps with everything being so fast-paced these days that many have forgotten to have a work-life balance, we are also hoping to help them keep their lives interesting and more meaningful with something new.”
Digging their roots into the local DIY edible garden scene
“It’s been fun so far!” the founders said when asked about their budding entrepreneurial journey. “For sure, in the future, we’d like to focus solely on Poptanical.”
They are now working on R&D of different types of vegetation in the hopes of expanding their product offerings.
“In the long run, we want to open a store where we can hold workshops and other enjoyable events for our customers, and where they can also harvest fresh produce.”
Another Malaysian business we’ve written about that sells DIY plant-growing kits is Eats, Shoots & Roots, and their kits go for RM29 each.
From what we know, Eats, Shoots & Roots usually has on-ground events such as workshops, which helps in the awareness and education aspect.
When someone has killed one too many plants, or has never seen a plant grow from their own efforts, it definitely takes quite a bit of show-and-tell to convince them to make another plant purchase.
Thus, following in Eats, Shoots & Roots’ footsteps with physical workshops could be the next step for Poptanicals to expand, once the founders are able to give the business more of their time.
Poptanical’s DIY Edible Growing Kits are available at selected stores in the Klang Valley area, or bought online from their website.Learn more about Poptanical here.Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.