Agri-Starts celebrates its 30th anniversary this year as a supplier of plant tissue culture starter plants. Located in Apopka, Fla., the company focuses on interior foliage plants, edible crops, tropicals, natives and other unusual and hard-to-find varieties.
The operation includes two locations, which take in 186,000 square feet of greenhouses and 7,500 square feet of lab space. Agri-Starts also partners with both national and regional plant brokers, as well as maintains strong direct relationships with its customers.
The company’s goal is to offer plants that no one else does to give its customers a boost in the market. The plant geek owners are constantly on the hunt for new plants, whether from breeders, plant collectors or in-house selections. Currently, more than 80 new plants are in some stage of research and development at Agri-Starts.
Agri-Starts also provides its customers with unique services that they can’t get anywhere else. An example is its mixed tray, which allows growers to try out new plants without having to buy in large volumes. Growers can select up to three items from the company catalog and have them shipped 24 plugs each in a mixed tray.
Owners Randy and Ty Strode strive to be good stewards to the industry by actively participating in several national and statewide plant associations. Outreach and education is also at the top of their list. Agri-Starts recently received 2014 Partner of the Year from the Orange County School system for its work with teaching transition students about greenhouse and nursery practices. The company also collaborates with a local university to teach basic greenhouse skills and practices to those looking for employment.