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Industry Spotlight: Russell’s Bromeliads

Production manager Tricia Hill discusses Tillandsia physiology with MREC employees

Located just off the beaten path in Clermont, Russell’s Bromeliads has been a wholesale grower, importer, exporter, and distributor of Tillandsia (commonly known as air plants) for more than 30 years.

“When we initially opened, our focus was centered on bromeliads,” said production manager Tricia Hill. “Over time, more and more opportunity presented itself in the air plant world, so we went with it.”

After shifting to air plant production, it didn’t take long before Russell’s Bromeliads grew to one of the largest distributors of air plants in the United States.

“Tillandsia is very slow to propagate from seed, so most of our plants are produced through in-house division,” Hill said. “Some of the varieties we carry are impossible for our vendors to find in the wild anymore, giving us the opportunity to be one of the only suppliers of that particular variety in the United States. We have some mother plants that have been in our greenhouses for over 10 years.”

Production manager Tricia Hill discusses potential Tillandsia pest problems and controls with MREC employees

With high-profile clients including West Elm William Sonoma and Live Trends, Russell’s Bromeliads focuses on cultivating quality air plants from a wide variety of species including the popular Tillandsia caput-medusae, Tillandsia flabellate and Tillandsia xerographica, as well as more rare varieties including Tillandsia duratii and Tillandsia ehlersiana.

“The native Florida Tillandsia varieties aren’t as colorful as interesting as the imported varieties,” Hill said. “We specialize in hybrids which our customers find more colorful and interesting.”

In addition to selling plant material, Russell’s Bromeliads also offers a wide variety of finished products, including Staghorn ferns mounted to native Florida cypress wood, container gardens, shell gardens and counter displays.

“We try to meet the needs of our customers by providing finished product options that are ready for retail displays,” Hill said. “Often we find buyers will ask us to finish product a specific way and from there we can create a product line.”

For more information on Russell’s Bromeliads, you can visit their website or find them on Facebook.

Production manager Tricia Hill displays one of the oldest mother plants at Russell’s Bromeliads.

Blooming Aeranthose Cluster plants

Air plants come in a variety of colors and sizes, and have unique structures.

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