Industry Spotlight: Agri-Starts

The idea of mixing agar in small jars to propagate plants may sound like a foreign concept to some, but to Apopka’s Agri-Starts, it’s a way of producing high-quality plants.

Agri-Starts stays connected to academia, hosting tour groups (such as the National Floriculture Forum, pictured) and sharing their production process.

 

Agri-Starts was founded by Randy Strode, a former high school biology teacher, who had an interest in plant propagation in tissue culture. Since opening their doors in 1984, AgriStarts has grown to a team of more than 120

employees offering more than 850+ plant varieties, including tropical, edible, interior foliage, native and specialty plants.

Randy works alongside his son Ty, who is in the process of taking over as a second-generation nurseryman.

“Working with my Dad every day is special, we make a good team,” said vice president and director of marketing Ty Strode. “We are part of a wonderful industry, which has given us the opportunity to build a great business. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to work alongside my kids.”

In honor of the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center’s upcoming 50th anniversary, AgriStarts donated plants to go in MREC’s new landscape which will serve as a demonstration area for landscape design and irrigation.

 

Agri-Starts uses tissue culture to produce 72-tray liners of plants, which are shipped worldwide.

“MREC has an incredible staff focused on doing whatever it can to help push the industry forward,” Strode said. “Every time I visit or interact with anyone from the facility I gain some new insight or knowledge.”

 

Strode is optimistic about the future of the nursery and greenhouse industries as a new generation of consumers begins to make their impact and connect with plants.

“There’s a lot to be excited about [in the industry] right now. We are seeing a movement of younger people connecting with plants for the first time.” Strode said. “Hopefully this will establish a lifelong connection with plants.”

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