This month's winning success story comes from agronomist Héctor Santiago Rodríguez, Owner and President of Cali Nurseries in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. The nursery, which Héctor started in 1997, is a 45-acre operation specializing in moth orchids (Phalaenopsis), peace lilies (Spathiphyllum), anthuriums, and poinsettias.
Cali Nurseries is well-known for beautiful, premium quality plants and for agricultural leadership. The nursery recently received a solar energy grant from Puerto Rico's Agricultural Innovation Development Fund, and in 2013 Héctor received the Puerto Rican agronomist of the year award.
As the largest grower of poinsettias in Puerto Rico, Héctor is crazy-busy in November. But he took the time to speak with us earlier and share his success story and his passion for plants.
About six years ago I began using Growth Products. I was immediately hooked, and still find it hard to believe what a beneficial difference it has made in the nursery. It's changed everything!
I started by experimenting with Essential in the nursery's propagation area. Before then I needed to constantly disinfect the misting equipment and had to use lots of chemicals and chemical hormones to get 75% - 80% rooting success on cuttings. As soon as I started using Essential, my rooting success jumped up to 95%, and all the earlier hassles went away. I called Randy Oberlander, one of the nutrition specialists at Growth Products, and said, "Randy, this is like magic!"
Now, using BioBlender in my starting media and supplementing with liquid Companion, I have 99% rooting success. That's pretty incredible.
Yes. Essential has become a key part of how I deal with plant stress at the nursery. We have had some temperature extremes in Puerto Rico in the last few years, and regular use of Essential has made a huge difference in how my plants pull through the extremes without damage.
I have another remarkable story about how Essential pulled the plants through severe stress. One my employees accidentally applied twice the amount of a chemical on our plants, burning everything. As soon as I saw the burn damage, my gut reaction was to apply Essential right away. Amazingly, Essential stopped the damage and I was able to bring back everything to good health.
I use 14-7-14 All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer, and finish my plants with Cal Mag Max 7-0-3. The Cal Mag Max helps tremendously with plant structure and with the intensity of flower color on orchids and poinsettias. I also use Companion and BioBlender not just in the propagating area, but throughout the nursery. They do a fabulous job preventing and fighting fungal disease on roots and leaves.
My passion is to grow plants that improve people's quality of life and improve the environment. I want people to smile when they see Cali Nurseries' plants, and I want to bring a little joy into their lives. The nursery does 90% wholesale business to garden centers, grocery stores and big box stores, and 10% direct retail from our own garden shop. I know that people who purchase my plants smile when they buy them, because beautiful healthy plants bring happiness into people's lives. That's a good feeling.
Many thanks to Héctor Santiago Rodríguez for his help with this article, and congratulations for providing our Best Success Story of the month.
Growth Products has been amazed and impressed with the knowledge and skills of its professional customers. Now is your opportunity to let your Success Story be heard! Visit www.growthproducts.com to enter to win $500 in free Growth Products’ merchandise and to have your story featured in our monthly newsletter. In addition, one Grand Prize winner will receive $2,500 in cash!