Farm Life Tropical Foliage is a wholesale nursery in unincorporated Dade County Florida. We produce high-quality interior foliage plants year round for the interiorscape and garden center markets. Farm Life sells only plants that we have grown. We specialize in growing liners, cuttings and air layers, purchased from other growers or done in-house, into larger finished plants from 6-inch pots to 32-inch pots. We are known for our field grown then shade acclimated 17-inch and 21-inch trees and palms that range from 7 feet to 12 feet. In these sizes, we produce a variety of plants from White Bird of Paradise to multiple Ficus species. Many of these plants spend a few years in our outdoor fields, gaining a large caliper full sun form, before they are brought in under shade to be acclimated for interior use. As well as the larger trees, Farm Life grows a variety of other popular interior plants in smaller sizes in order to supply our customers with as many options as possible. We use high-quality pots, soil, and fertilizer to produce our plants. No corners are ever cut here at Farm Life.
After spending months and sometimes years growing our plants, we take extra care to prepare them properly for shipping. First, plants are selected from the rest of the crop to meet the height specification and quality that is needed. Step 2 is a quick pass on each plant to remove any minor flaws and then the plant is ready to be staged for step 3. Step 3 is a quality control check. A highly trained Farm Life employee inspects each order. We match each order with the original fax or email to make sure no problems are found and that the plants staged match the plants ordered. Once quality control is complete every plant receives a soil spray of Steinernema feltiae nematodes and a yellow sticky-trap stake is placed in the soil. The nematodes are a non chemical way to kill Fungus gnat larvae and the yellow sticky trap can be "armed" at our customers location to catch any adult fungus gnats that may have escaped earlier prevention. We are dedicated to never sending plants with fungus gnats to your job site or garden center. If ordered, UPC and/or plant identification tags go on next. Finally, the plants are sleeved or boxed to wait for pickup.
Our growing facility consists of 6 shadehouses and an 8 acre field. Three shadehouses are Cravo automated flat roof structures that allow us to change shade levels and air movement depending on weather conditions. These houses are engineered to survive 120 mile per hour winds giving us some options when hurricanes are imminent. Our finished plants are grown on a drip fertigation system that prevents hard water deposits on the leaves keeping them shiny and clean until they are ready to sell.
In South Florida we enjoy nature, both plants and animals. Our philosophy at Farm Life is to grow great plants with minimal impact on the environment. To that end, we rely heavily on predatory mites for spider mite control, and practice IPM for pest management. We incorporate biological pesticides and fungicides whenever we can make them work and are always early adopters of newly developed pesticides that are safer for people and the environment. New pesticides often target the intended pest more directly reducing incidental damage to beneficial wildlife. In addition, we use native grasses extensively to stabilize areas that would otherwise require herbicides to maintain. We have even converted much of our property to native south Florida plant communities in the hopes that local wildlife will flourish on the property.
Since 1992 Farm Life has been hit by 4 hurricanes, Andrew, Katrina, Wilma and Irma. Most recently hurricane Irma did some damage to the nursery, but we were able to continue selling plants less than a month after Irma passed. Since suffering a complete knock down in 2005,(Katrina and Wilma), Farm Life has built with hurricanes in mind. Automated and very strong Cravo shadehouses allow us to protect plants during a minor hurricane, or protect our structures in a major hurricane. The entire nursery is prepared to run on backup generators.
Farm Life, in the past, was one of only a few growers that produced interior trees and palms in the 20 - 40 ft height range. These shade houses existed from the beginning in 1985 until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina and Wilma knocked them down. They were rebuilt once after hurricane Andrew in 1992. Today our largest shade acclimated plants top out at 14 feet.