Success Grown from Seed: Phoenix Foliage becomes the largest Venus Flytrap grower worldwide
Dionaea Muscipula, commonly known as the Venus Flytrap, is a captivating carnivorous plant native to the Carolinas. Its unique and fascinating nature has always piqued the interest of plant enthusiasts and collectors. However, there was a significant gap in the market for young Dionaea plants due to the challenges involved in their germination. Many plant growers steered clear of this species because of its volatility during the early stages of growth.
Phoenix Foliage, one of the ForemostCo® family farms, was willing to tackle this challenge, though. The journey to perfecting the Dionaea growing process was long, and did not come without trials and tribulations for the Phoenix team but after just a few short years, Phoenix Foliage has established one of the largest and most consistent supplies of Venus Flytraps in the world.
Phoenix Foliage’s partnership with Corn. Bak, a Dutch breeding and propagation company in Bromeliads, Dionaea, and Medinilla, played a pivotal role in this journey. Bak had been growing Dionaea from seed, a method less common than growing from tissue cultures. The tissue culture method often resulted in inconsistencies and frequent mutations, rendering it an inefficient approach for generating large quantities of Dionaea plants. Encouraged by their Dutch partners, Phoenix Foliage decided to take a leap of faith and give seed-based growth a try.
The journey to the top is long and bumpy
Phoenix’s first attempts at growing Dionaea from seed date back to late 2016, but the trials were sporadic and infrequent. Their journey to the top didn’t really begin until 2019, when Phoenix began consistently trialing the Dionaea seed-growing process. The initial germination results were disheartening but rather than giving up, they reached out to Bak for guidance. The challenge lay in adapting Dutch practices to the distinct climate of Florida, which posed unique challenges.
It took a full year of rigorous experimentation with factors like humidity, growing mediums, fertilizers, lighting, and watering schedules before Phoenix Foliage began to witness promising results. Nevertheless, the progress was still inconsistent, with only every other crop proving viable.
The turning point came in 2019 when Phoenix Foliage brought in a European Student Intern with expertise in carnivorous plants. His mission was to determine the optimal growing conditions for Venus Flytraps in Florida’s environment. Intensive experimentation, ranging from adjusting light exposure to fine-tuning growing mediums, finally started paying off as the germination process showed improvement.
Despite these gains, the team still faced significant losses during the transplant stage. In response, Phoenix Foliage sent two of their growers to Holland to work hands-on with the Bak team. The direct experience gleaned from this collaboration was invaluable.
Success takes root at Phoenix Foliage
The experience in Holland marked a significant turning point in Phoenix Foliage’s Dionaea program. Armed with the knowledge from Bak, the Phoenix team started developing a list of procedures. While these initial protocols were straightforward, they contributed positively to germination and transplant success. However, they were far from perfect as they left lots of room for human error in the growing process.
In 2022, the Head Growers at Phoenix Foliage recognized the need for more comprehensive protocols to achieve the consistency they had been striving for since 2018. This meticulous process, which began in June, culminated in a 28-page protocol for Dionaea care in September 2022. With these detailed procedures in place, Phoenix Foliage finally began achieving the consistency benchmarks they had long pursued, reducing the growing time from 36 to 28 weeks.
Hard work and dedication cultivate positive results
Today, the Dionaea program at Phoenix Foliage is among the strongest in the world. Their relentless dedication, unwavering support from the Bak team, and the unyielding determination of the growing team have led to this program’s resounding success. While the journey was arduous, the decision to cultivate Dionaea from seed rather than tissue culture granted them the unique ability to fully customize programs for their customers and produce significantly larger quantities.
Joseph Roberts IX, CEO of ForemostCo® says, “ForemostCo® and our family farms are dedicated to the relentless pursuit of success. Our Dionaea program is a great example of how we work to continually enhance our systems and processes to live up to our promise of Consistent Quality and Exceptional Service®.” With the capacity to generate up to 100,000 units per week, their comprehensive 28-page protocol has made the process nearly automatic, akin to a cherished and proven recipe.
Phoenix Foliage’s success story is a testament to the power of persistence, collaboration, and a commitment to achieving excellence that ForemostCo® prides itself on. In just a few years, they have emerged as a major player in the world of Dionaea cultivation, providing the most consistent and abundant supply of young Venus Flytraps to plant enthusiasts around the globe.
Hear from our customers:
“The primary considerations in vendor selection for us, at Colasanti, are product quality, punctual deliveries, and reasonable pricing. We love working with ForemostCo® because we know every Dionaea shipment we receive will be high-quality, on-schedule, and competitively priced!”
3rd Generation Owner of Colasanti Farms