No Experience Needed
Central Florida Ag News|January 2021
Experienced Plant Enthusiasts Share Their Tips and Favorite Plants
LEXI BROWN

ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY, an estimated 33.1 million U.S. households participated in indoor gardening in 2019. As we have all spent the last year in-and-around our homes, the interest in the hobby has drastically increased. There has never been a better time to consider a facelift for your front yard’s landscape or to spruce up empty corners of your home with a few tropical plants. We recently spoke with two plant enthusiasts, Sarah Hendley and Barry Schwartz, who provided expert advice for either plant-related activity you decide to take on.

For Hendley, growing up in a family nursery wasn’t initially the coolest thing she ever did.

“Working in the heat and humidity was the worst, especially in Florida,” she says. It wasn’t until one morning when she glanced over her plant collection that it clicked. “‘Wow, this has gotten out of control, but maybe this is in my blood and I should do something with it,’ ” she thought.

Hendley and her husband, Daniel Reyes, began attending farmer’s markets, including the Winter Haven Farmers Market, and opened their first brick and mortar, Lida’s Jungle in St. Petersburg. They have extensive knowledge regarding indoor and outdoor gardening while making the best plant decisions for each type.

“The most breathtaking plant for outdoor landscape use is any Alocasia. They range in size and there are so many different varieties,” she says. Regal Shield, Elephant Ears, Boa, and Odora are a few popular choices commonly seen accentuating the tropical look in Central Florida.

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