LOXLEY, Ala. (WKRG) – Flowerwood Nursery has been in business for 85 years, and if you think you’ve seen it all from the highway, wait until you see what the massive property looks like from above. You may not recognize Flowerwood Nursery by name, but you’ve most likely seen their plants in stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot across the southeast.
“What we want to do is provide the plants that the consumer wants so we have a lot of new genetics that we grow. What that does is it gives a more permanent color, it gives a more well-behaved plant, things that have better bloom power,” said Todd Carnley, VP of Sales & Marketing.
Flowerwood Nursery is celebrating 85 years in business this year, first starting out behind founder Harry Smith’s Springhill Avenue home in Mobile before expanding to their first brick and mortar location near Dog River in the 1930s.
By 1949, operations and production moved across Mobile Bay to Loxley south of I-10.
“Loxley turned out to be a very good spot for us. It’s very fortunate that we’re right near the interstate and whenever we go to ship a plant basically we can get right on the road to be able to get to market very quickly,” Carnley explained.
He’s worked at the Loxley nursery for 24 years and continues to see the business grow in new markets led by the same family who started Flowerwood Nursery 3 generations ago.
“Here in Loxley it’s about 400 acres, if you throw in what we called Flowerwood East it’s about another 80-100, we have a facility in central Florida, we have a facility in south Georgia, one in central Alabama and 3 here locally, two in Mobile and one here so we have about 1,000 total acres with the ability to expand 400-500 more acres,” said Carnley.
The Encore Azalea is Flowerwood’s best seller. “It takes more sun, but it also blooms throughout the season. It will bloom as many as three times,” he said.
But, thousands of plants are grown on the property every year. Carnley and the team use innovative technology to make the job quicker and more efficient, altering equipment here on site to streamline the process.
“We have more tractors, we have more forks that can pick up 100 plants versus having one or two people doing that,” said Carnley.
Roughly 750 employees keep Flowerwood Nursery moving, but Carnley says they could use more help and it’s not always easy finding good workers.
“It’s not just picking up plants. We have a lot of biology majors. We do a lot of chemistry with the plants. We also need a lot of horticulturists, truck drivers and folks who understand how to work equipment, so it’s very much a diverse group that we want to bring in,” he explained.