This article, titled Tropical Plant Propagation in Whitehouse Jamaica, is about operations at a nursery I found while visiting a Sandals Resort. I received a tour of nursery operations and how how they go about propagating plants in the tropics.
I have included a picture of my tour guide. I was using pictures and video to take notes and figured I’d use her name tag to remember her name. Unfortunately the sun was hitting the name tag and made her name unreadable. She was a great tour guide and I’m sorry I can not give her credit by name.
My tour guide told me that they have five full time employees working in the nursery. She said that four of them went to an agriculture school and studied the trade they are working in.
Tropical Plant Propagation – The Nursery
The nursery does both softwood and hardwood propagation at this location. The hardwood cuttings are done via air budding and will be the subject of tomorrows post. The softwood cuttings are done via cuttings similar to the way I do them in the temperate climate.
They take the softwood cuttings and trim them three to eight inches long and put them in trays of rooting medium, as shown in the picture titled Tropical Plant Propagation – Softwood Cuttings. The rooting medium looks like a Pete moss and potting soil mix. They do not use any rooting hormone.
The trays are then put in the hot house for three to six weeks and watered enough to keep the plants moist. I didn’t really catch how often they did water in the hot house. They are removed from the hot house once they have roots coming out of the bottom of the trays. This is shown in the picture titled Rooted Cuttings.
After the cuttings have rooted sufficiently, they are moved to larger pots and moved to their respective climate. This is either out to full sun or in a shade house depending on the type of plant that is being rooted.
How They Use The Plants
The really neat part about this operation is that they ran the nursery as a business. What I mean by that is they are run by Sandals Resort, but they sold their plants to other Sandals Resorts on the Jamaican Island. They had to make a profit, so they had to watch their expenses and market their products to the other resorts.
I’d estimate that the nursery covered about 4 acres of land. The majority of the plants are in pots and ready to be sold. They did have some palms and other plants that were in the ground and would take quite a bit of effort to dig up and move to another location.
Below is a YouTube video showing the nursery. You can see other videos at the Great Escape YouTube Channel.
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If you like plants check out Great Escape Nursery.