Florida Trip – Florida Aquatic Nurseries (Day 5)

June 20th, 2007

Monday, our last full day in Florida, we had an appointment with the owner of Florida Aquatic Nurseries (FAN) for a personalized tour through their facilities. FAN is probably the largest grower and wholesaler of aquatic and pond plants for the entire United States. Chances are, if you see a potted plant at your local fish store, it originated from these guys. Their 5 and 10 acre facilities are really quite impressive. Below you can see how most of the aquatic plants are grown hydroponically in their greenhouses. The plants sit in large tubs of water that are constantly circulated throughout the bins.

A Florida Aquatic Nursery Greenhouse

Other plants are grown individually in pots like the Anubias barterii var. nana ‘petite’ shown below. Nearly all of the plants are flowering throughout the greenhouse, so we saw flowers for crypts, sword plants, various hygrophilia, ludwigia, hydrocotle, you name it.

Anubias barterii var. nana 'petite'

Outside of their greenhouses, they have countless numbers of large concrete ponds where they grow more aquatic plants, this time, mostly submerged. These ponds are packed with stem plants, all bright red and orange from the intense Florida sun. Take note of the Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata ”Cuba” below. They have a fairly large work force at hand, constantly monitoring all of the plants, and taking cuttings from the large ponds to sell.

Ludwigia sp. 'Cuba'

We were quite surprised at the sheer number of popular plants FAN is growing that rarely seem to show up in our local stores. Everything from nana ‘petite’ to HC to downoi were there. I’m not sure if the distributors aren’t stocking these plants, or if the local stores only carry bread and butter plants, but it’s a shame to know that these things aren’t widely distributed. Beyond aquarium plants, there were countless water lilies in bloom throughout the nursery. Beautiful!

Lotus Flower

Our last stop before heading home was an orchid nursery that supposedly stocked some rare crypts that were given to them by the late Robert Gasser, a pioneer grower of Cryptocoryne species. We called the owner of the nursery, and he agreed to show us around. Not a crypt guy himself, the owner didn’t know many of the species that were spread throughout his nursery, but we did end up purchasing a pot or two of what we believe is Cryptocoryne cordata var. zonata. Beyond the exotic types, he had Crypt. wendtii growing in his ponds, one shown below.

Orchid Nursery Crypt Pond

I have to say that this trip was unlike any other that I’ve been on. It was very free-form in nature, and had surprises at every waterway, nursery, or ditch that we stopped at. Hopefully, GWAPA members will make this trek down I-95 an annual or semi-annual occurrence!

7 Responses to “Florida Trip – Florida Aquatic Nurseries (Day 5)”

  1. Prosper Says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you can tell me the name of the orchid nursery that you visited? We travel to Florida from time to time and it looks and sounds like our kind of place!!!

    Prosper and Shannon and Zulucy De Bee

  2. guitarfish Says:

    Prosper, I don’t have the name right on hand, as I was just along for the ride that day, and wasn’t paying much attention except to the plants. I’ll ask some of the other folks who were there, if they remember.

  3. Cayo Coco in Cuba Says:

    Thanks so much for this very informative blog.

  4. leo Says:

    Hi my names is leo and I’am interested plant aquatics.I plan on biology classes, and botany at my college starting in the fall semester. I would like to learn more about aquatic plants and how to reproduce in a homemade environment, something small I am trying to get a head start on my class mates and the test. I am also waiting for a reply from my local fish aquatics store to allow me to volunteer, so I may have another source of education for my major Botany. Thank you for your time any links and points on growing aquatic plants. Thank you

  5. guitarfish Says:

    Leo, a great resource for learning how to grow aquatic plants is the Planted Aquarium Guide on this website:


  6. biggest thread on this website - Page 83 Says:

    […] available for the plant in your tank. Here is a link to the largest USA aquatic plant nursery: Florida Trip – Florida Aquatic Nurseries (Day 5)– Guitarfish __________________ ~It is easy to dodge our responsibilities. But we cannot dodge the […]

  7. nadun Says:

    likes to know abut aquatic plants