Last year I visited Guatemala and under a volcano at the Ecke Poinsettia cutting and stock plant farm in Antigua.
The gray plume above the white clouds is the Pacaya Volcano.
At Goldsmith Seed Production facility in Jalapa Guatemala
This is Glodsmiths Trial garden in Gilroy where they test and package their seeds from Guatemala
This year I am embarking on a trip with 60 nursery folks from around the US to tour state of the art production facilities where cuttings and seeds are produced for the amazing new plants we grow and market at these Florida Home Depot Garden Centers. I will take pictures and some video to share this amazing country and some of the techniques used by these growers.
History of Costa Rica
Christopher Columbus landed at Costa Rica 1502, on his fourth trip to the Americas. His sailing ships anchored off the coast of Cariari Island, close to what today is known as the Port Limon, on the Caribbean coast. Impressed by the exuberant vegetation and abundance of gold jewelry and adornments worn by native inhabitants, Columbus called this land Costa Rica (Coast of Plenty).
The fact that more than one million tourists visit Costa Rica each year does hot happen by chance. The country, located in Central America, is an isthmus where life seems to have created its roots. Covering only 0.03% of the earths surface, Costa Rica has approximately 6% of the world’s biodiversity; 130 species of fresh water fish, 160 species of amphibians, 208 species of mammals, 220 species of reptiles, 850 species of birds, 1,000 species of butterflies, 1,200 varieties of orchids, 9,000 species of plants and 34,000 species of insects. In addition, Costa Rica is characterized by impressive scenic beauty, a consolidated system of protected areas, social and political stability, high education levels and efficient infrastructure and services. All of this offered in an area of only 51 thousand square kilometers.
Rugged highlands are found throughout most of the country, they range from approximately 1,000 to 2,000 meters (3,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level). The Cordillera de Guanacaste, Cordillera Central, and Cordillera de Talamanca are the principal mountain ranges extending the length of the country. There are several active volcanoes (Volcán Arenal, Volcán Irazú, Volcán Rincón de la Vieja and Volcán Turrialba) and the country's highest mountain (Cerro Chirripó), which reaches a height of 3,819-m/12,530 ft. The country has a relatively long coastline in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as a number of rivers and streams.
Costa Rica's year round climate is pleasant with naturally occurring breezes cooling down most of the coastal areas. Temperatures in the highlands and the mountains are warm by day and brisk at night giving an "eternal spring" feeling. The average annual temperatures range from 31.7°C (89°F) on the coast to 16.7°C (62°F) inland. The rainy, or “green”, season lasts from May to December with noticeably wetter days
Customs and Entry Requirements
Citizens holding a valid passport from the US are permitted to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa.
No customs duties are charged on personal luggage, which includes an array of items for personal and professional use, as long as they do not appear in quantities that suggest commercial intent. Costa Rican law requires that baggage be examined upon entry and that travelers submit customs declarations listing all articles acquired abroad, including fruit, vegetables, meat, meat products, biological products such as vaccinations, serums, etc.
Banking and Money
When exchanging your money, you can either utilize the services at many of the local banks, or use the services of the hotel. Most hotels will exchange your money providing that you are staying at their hotel. ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines) are available at the airport and also in the city, but they are not as readily available in smaller towns and villages.
At the present time, the current exchange rate is 522.44 colones per 1 U.S. dollar. The colones come in bills with denominations of: 10,000, 5,000 (called toucans), 2,000, 1,000, 500, 100, and 50 colones. The coins come in denominations of 100, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 colones. Recently, the central bank has printed gold coins in all the same denominations mentioned above, however, several of them are smaller than those presently in circulation, and therefore, do not work in any of the public machines, i.e. telephones, etc.
Credit cards are accepted at most major hotels and restaurants and shops that cater to the tourist trade, but are less accepted in smaller villages.
Departing Costa Rica
Check-in lines at San Jose’s international airport can be very long. It is strongly advisable to arrive at the airport 2 ½ hours before your scheduled departure.
In order to leave Costa Rica, you must pay a $17 departure tax. This tax may be paid in US dollars or colones equivalent, no credit cards are accepted. While people will offer to sell you departure tax stamps at the curbside, the airport recommends that you buy directly from the airport and not these vendors. Once inside the terminal building you will see the booths selling departure tax stamps. You first will need to show your flight ticket and passport to prove that you have a flight. The departure stamps come attached to a form, which you should fill out before you reach the ticket counter.
Regarding our farm visits, here are a few things to keep in mind;
· Depending on the season, rain is most likely during your visit, so it is advised to bring lightweight rain jacket. The temperatures are for the most part mild, but humidity can be high during the day. Evenings can be cool, so a lightweight jacket is recommended.
· For the most part we will be walking through the farm, so comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
· While visiting the farms, business casual is recommended; jeans are acceptable. The Latin culture generally frowns upon shorts at the workplace and workers at these locations are not allowed to wear them. We ask that you respect this rule and not wear shorts during your visit.
· Cameras are allowed anywhere on most farms except Seed Processing. If you have any questions on whether you can take a picture just ask your tour guide.
Innovaplant was established in 1994, as a representation of the Kientzler GmbH & Co KG from Germany, Kienztler is a Company that since 1904 has dedicated, mainly, to produce and export ornamental unrooted cuttings around the world.
Actually, Kientzler is leader in research, development and improvement of vegetative propagated ornamental plants.
Its greatest growth was experienced during the last 30 years, in the area of genetic improvement of ornamental plants.
This corporation is formed by four main companies; who function as a separate one, but everyone with their respective tasks and customized functions.
The primary crops are:
2. New Guinea Impatiens
7. Hedera helix
8. Verbena Superbena
10. Euphorbia Hybride
In February 2005, the Else Kientzler Botanical Garden opened to the public, the main objective of it is to preserve Costa Rica's threatened or endangered species and to show tropical species from around the world.The botanical garden offers a collection of about 2000 tropical species, distributed and labeled in 7 acres of trails and gardens where visitors can spread out, learning about plants through guided tours
Company name: Fidesplants S.A., founded in 1987
Location: 10.02.00.00N 82.11.32.00W elevation 3420ft.
City: Alajuela, Costa Rica, 10 minutes from SJO international airport.
Máximum day temperature: 90F Minimum day temperature: 69F
Maximum night temperature: 68F Minimum night temperature: 59F
Total week radiation 7271 J/cm2 (14.5 Mol / ft2)
Natural day length 12 hours, +/- 1 hour
Dry season December-April
60 permanent going up to 125 employees in peak season
Greenhouses: 7.5 hectares (18.9 acres) on 17 hectares (42 acres) of land
Automatic shade systems, raised benches, cyclic light, cold stores and steam boiler.
Dahlia/ Nemesia/Impatiens/Osteospermum/Petunia/Calibrachoa/ Kalanchoe and others
Floramo S.A. was founded in 1994 by Wouter Groot and Nicole Custers.
Both are agricultural engineers and graduated at the Agricultural University Wageningen in The Netherlands. The Floramo Company currently covers
9.000 M2 and a growing number of high quality cuttings of the Bartels Stek range is produced at this production location. Products like Aster, Hypericum, Solidago, Phlox, Veronica and Salvia are year round available.
Bartels Stek Costa Rica was founded in 2002 and since the start managed by Wouter and Nicole. Substantial amounts of the produced cuttings are sent directly from Costa Rica to customers in North and South America. Due to the logistic improvements the cost on freight decreased and is delivering of fresh cuttings year round guaranteed. The numbers of cuttings that are shipped through Bartels Stek Costa Rica are still growing!
Florexpo has been in the horticulture market for over 25 years. The farm is located in the Central Valley of Costa Rica in the province of Cartago and the county of Paraíso, approximately 45 minutes from the International Airport.
The elevation is 4,450 feet above sea level. The day length is very constant year round (11:30 hours to 12:30 hours). Natural short day length and high light levels allow uniform product to be shipped year round. Temperature average goes from 65° F - 75° F. All the water for irrigation comes from two deep wells of 170 meters in depth.
It is a 61 hectares property with 17 hectares of Triple A greenhouses; over 30 miles of elevated benches on cement floors. The main production in this farm is for the unrooted cuttings program. The unrooted cuttings program consists of around 800 varieties and more than 1200 sub-varieties.
Production is under permanent short days, due to the latitude of the farm. This allows for production of long day plants in a non-blooming environment. All vents and doors of the greenhouses are fully screened against insects.
Floors have concrete paths and compacted road base or concrete areas under the benches. This prevents weed growth and puddles of water. Recent additions to greenhouse space with optimum clean production protocols and an eye for economies of scale balanced with unique mother stock needs.
Florexpo was established by Mr. Fernando Altman Borbon, as a 1.5 hectares flower farm, mainly Gysophila and Chrysanthemums, to be exported to the U.S. In a short period of time the business grew significantly.
In 1996, a new business opportunity emerges, unrooted cuttings. Unrooted Cuttings (URC) business emerges from the experience acquired in the rooting station for the fresh flowers business. Today, Florexpo is a large perennial cuttings producer. It has a wide selection of annuals from some prestigious breeders, and it offers an aggressive flexibility to new product channels – grasses, woodies, organic herbs, succulents and a program for groundcover called Costa Rica Cuttings. It has expanded its market from Costa Rica to the United States, Europe and Canada
PanAmerican Seed’s Linda Vista Production Facility
Claude Hope arrived in Costa Rica in 1943 with the purpose of doing research on quinine (a plant used to treat malaria). In spite of the fact that his experiments with quinine did not have major success, they gave him the opportunity to glimpse the great possibilities that the soil and climate of Costa Rica offered for seed production. In 1945 Claude Hope returned to Costa Rica to start seed production. In 1953, in Dulce Nombre de Jesus, in the mountains of Cartago, Linda Vista S.A. was formed.
Today, Linda Vista is actually made up of three farms. All situated at various altitudes below the Irazu volcano on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica. Farm #1 is the main production facility where Super Elfin impatiens, Wave, Dreams and Carpet petunias are produced. Farm #1 also houses all aspects of seed cleaning, milling, testing and shipping to our West Chicago distribution center. It is located at about 5,000 feet above see level. During peak production Linda Vista can employee 1,500 people.
You should click here and follow us on
Follow us on facebook