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Sterling Silver Scindapsus: How We Grow

By Karen Weir-Jimerson

Sterling Silver scindapsus (Scindapsus treubii 'Moonlight') is one of the newest members of the Trending Tropicals® collection. This plant has been flying off the shelves at garden centers and is featured in many must-have plant lists with social media plant lovers. Here’s the backstory on how Costa Farms grows this plant.

Costa Farms Plant Hunter Makes a Discovery
Metallic accents are rare in the plant world. “This one really took off on Instagram,” says Costa Farms Plant Hunter Mike Rimland.“It's all about the silver,” he says. Take a look and you’ll see that the combination of dark green foliage kissed with a silvery sheen is irresistible. (Read more about how Mike identifies rare plants for the Trending Tropicals® collection.)

Mike started out propagating this now-popular houseplant with just three mother plants. 

Plant Beauty Isn’t the Only Consideration
Once Mike Rimland discovers a new plant variety, there’s more work to be done before that plant appears on the shelves of your local garden center. You might be surprised to find that it takes almost three years from the time a plant is discovered to be available for you to buy. That’s due to the extensive process of research and development and quality testing that each new Trending Tropicals® introduction goes through.

Tests and trials allow Costa Farms to see be assured that a plant can be produced and live successfully in your home. In fact, your success with a plant is one of the driving factors in selecting and growing plants for the Trending Tropicals® collection.

Born in the Dominican Republic
Sterling Silver plants start life in the Dominican Republic where Costa Farms has three farms. Growing quality plants is a complex process. These farms grow more than 300 varieties of plants. Plants are raised in greenhouses that allow growers to test in 8 different shade levels.

Testing, Testing, Testing
The Research and Development team in the Dominican Republic spent a year performing quality tests on Sterling Silver to make sure it was a good choice to bring to the public.

The team evaluates light requirements, how pests and disease affect plants, the ideal pot size for optimum growth, and how well plants will perform in a home or office location.

Meet the Mother Plants
Once the Research and Development team determined that Sterling Silver was as easy to grow for the consumer as it is special, the growers in the Dominican Republic began the process of creating more plants. Sterling Silver is literally a chip off the old block -- leaves from mother plants are removed to be propagated to become future Sterling Silver plants.

The Art of Growing
Once the leaves from the mother plants have been harvested, Costa Farms Dominican Republic grower Walcott (who hails from Saint Kitts and Nevis), begins the process of propagating plants. Walcott likes working with Sterling Silver. “This is a very noble plant,” he says. “It’s fast growing and does not have many problems with pests and diseases,” he says. The harvested leaves are propagated for 5 weeks during which time they develop roots.

Once the plants are rooted, they are sent to a field location where there they are transplanted into pots. They grow and develop for 18 more weeks.

"La Plumosa"
Crops of Sterling Silver in the grower facility have earned a special nickname from the growers. They call this plant “La Plumosa” which is Spanish for “the feather.” The gray/silver leaves of Sterling Silver have delicate darker center line and edges so that when looking at them in mass, the leaves look like feathers.

Harvesting Sterling Silver Leaves to Send to the US
After the plants have grown larger, the team harvests leaves. At this point, the plants have been growing in the Dominican Republic for more than a year and a half. Growing healthy Sterling Silver plants takes patience.

Quality First. Always.
When the leaves are harvested, they are checked for checked for quality, hydrated, bundled like playing cards, then carefully packed in boxes for their trip to the Costa Farms growing facility in Miami.

Planted Again
Once in Miami, the leaves of Trending Tropicals® Sterling Silver plants are planted directly into small pots where they spend their days growing, drinking in water from drip lines, and being nourished by slow-release fertilizer.

They grow happily for another 5 weeks until they are firmly rooted. Then they are transferred to growing fields where they continue to produce leaves and roots for 18 to 20 more weeks.

The Plants are Ready!
At the end of this growing period, they are ready to be sent to garden centers. Costa Farms’ expertly trained “pullers” carefully select the plants of the highest quality to be sent to the garden centers.

In preparation for shipping, the plants are cleaned and hydrated so they look their best when they arrive at stores. Before they are shipped, each Sterling Silver plant is inserted into a Trending Tropicals® decorative pot and a tag is added. They are now ready for their truck ride to their garden centers. And your home.

From Cutting to Beautiful Plant
It took nearly three years, from the time this plant was discovered by Costa Farms’ plant hunter, through research and development, mother plant development, and propagation.

In each silver-kissed leaf Tropicals® Sterling Silver plant, you are seeing a culmination of years of careful work.

Enjoy your new plant!


 


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