For Costa Farms, growing plants is firmly a part of its DNA, and has been for over 60 years. The family-run company works to give its customers a whole host of plant varieties best suited to their needs and desires, all grown across the company’s 5,200 acres of land. Consequently. Costa Farms is now one of the largest horticultural growers in the world which is constantly innovating its products to offer customers the same passion for plants which started the company all those years ago.
Costa Farms ‘sprouted’ in 1961 when founder Jose Costa Senior purchased 30 acres of land in the South of Miami. The land allowed him to grow fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes in the winter, and calamondin citrus in the summer. This initial crop development soon saw Costa Farms expand exponentially to grow houseplants such as the Canela tree or Cecilia Aglaonema. Soon, the company morphed into a giant horticultural operation which now grows more than 1,500 varieties of houseplants. However, even now 60 years later, the main priority of Costa Farms is to ensure that it is focusing on developing new collections to make it easier for the customer to grow and keep plants which work for them. This focus on innovation is therefore one of the main driving forces behind Costa Farm’s mission to make plants accessible to everyone.
Headquartered in Miami, Florida Costa Farms grows a range of outdoor tropical plants including Hibiscus and Mandevilla, as well as a whole host of colourful annual bedding plants designed for container gardening and landscaping. Having grown annual flowers for more than 20 years at its Miami headquarters and then in North Carolina, the company expanded into South Carolina where it began developments to offer perennial flowers to retailers in the southeast. In Apopka Florida, Costa Farms has 10 ranges of greenhouses, which is where a large majority of the company’s mother plants are housed and are used for propagating new crops. In Trenton South Carolina, Costa Farms has a significant testing scheme which grows hundreds of varieties of easy-care perennial garden plants. In North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Mountains, Costa Farms has a range of greenhouses which grow annual bedding plants both alone and in planters or hanging baskets which are perfectly designed for decorating your outdoor space.
At Costa Farms, the Trial Garden development has allowed its researchers to develop the best houseplants, annual or perennial flowers and patio plants which are best suited to a range of environments. The testing scheme keeps flowers in the garden for 3 years to determine their performance throughout the seasons to see how they cope with the extreme temperature and weather fluctuation between seasons. Furthermore, across the company’s range of test gardens, it has implemented new growing techniques and pest control solutions to best develop its tools for the future. As part of this, Costa Farms even has its own insectary raising a range of beneficial insects to control pests without the need for chemicals.
Additionally, a key part of the testing process behind Costa Farms’ successful plants is its top-notch breeding program which gives breeders valuable information on the future of plants as well as information on new varieties across the US. However, Costa Farms has also extended its operations overseas and now owns 1,000 acres of growing land in the Dominican Republic. Here, mother plants are raised for many popular house plant varieties, which much like the operations in Apopka, are crucial for propagating new crops.
A central focus for the company is ensuring that its customers are receiving plants which are best suited to their needs. This is why through Costa Farms you can choose from a range of pre-grouped plants that are put together based on their ability to thrive in certain conditions or those which celebrate certain flower types – such as the Plants of Steel Collection which are growing to withstand neglect, or the Exotic Angels Collection which celebrates tropical flowers. These groups ensure that when you buy a plant from Costa Farms you can look over a range of tropical, cacti, succulents, small batch, easy-care, easy grower, low light, indirect sunlight, or direct sunlight options and choose which is best for you. Customers can determine the conditions of where they would like to have a plant, and then use the website to carefully choose a variety which is best suited to these conditions – one way that Costa Farms helps the customer ensure that their plant will thrive.
However, Costa Farms goes one step further, and not only looks at how much water the plants need but, it will also acclimatize the plants to the standard household heat and light levels before they are shipped. This gives every plant grown for indoor use the best chance of survival. As we can see from Costa Farms’ process, they want to ensure that customers continue to get next-level service from the company through the plants by implementing a range of measures to ensure that they thrive in their final homes.
As Costa Farms continues to develop towards the future, they have their very own Plant Hunter, Mike Rimland, who has spent more than 40 years travelling the globe visiting plant breeders, markets, and nurseries searching for things which catch his eye. Mike and the Costa Farms team are always looking for rare and exotic plants which can be put to the test in the Costa Farm’s gardens to see how they might develop and deal with Costa Farms’ trialling process. The team are always looking for naturally occurring mutations of crops already thriving in its gardens. For a plant to make it through the testing process, the crop has to pass a 5-step test:
- It needs to be able to successfully grow in the natural conditions at Costa Farms
- It needs to be easily and efficiently propagated
- It needs to hold up well in shipping both via trucks to stores and through boxes to customers’ homes
- It needs to hold up in the average retail store conditions
- It needs to grow well in the typical home conditions
This strict process ensures that all crops from Costa Farm are filtered through a 5-step process to ensure that they have the best chance of survival in the homes of its customers. The process goes back to the central mission of Costa Farms to create winning solutions for its customers by driving profitable growth. Therefore, throughout Costa Farms’ operations, it is dedicated to enriching the world by bringing plants to everyone.
Overall, Costa Farms is committed to delivering top-quality plants for its customers and retailers. Through its research, development, testing and condition management processes, Costa Farms ensures that all of its plants are designed to work for you. It continues to develop its plant offerings to provide the largest assortment of high-quality plants best suited to fit your style, home conditions and needs. Through Costa Farms’ passion for plants, they continue to focus on knowledge, education, and experience to ensure that plants are accessible to everyone whatever their home conditions may offer. Therefore, it is clear to see that Costa Farm’s passion for plants has remained over the last 60 years throughout the family, and as it continues to develop toward the future. Ultimately, Costa Farms remains a lean, green, growing machine which is dedicated to enriching the world by bringing plants into everyone’s life.