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Welcome to Gator Ventures.com Online Tree and Plant nursery!

We are a family operated backyard nursery that was founded on the basis of providing quality trees and plants at afforable pricing. After helping our father establish and grow his tree and plant nursery in Midwestern Wisconsin my brother and I decided to somewhat follow in the family business, just not in Wisconsin. Being that we both migrated and established families in Florida it was decided that we would specialize in growing plants that were suitable for our area.

What started out as growing a few cycads (aka King Sago) from seeds and pups, branched out into growing numerous other palm species. My affection for bamboo and bananas led to us also cultivating these plants. However, after much trial and error growing various species of palm trees and realizing that it could take a lifetime for us to grow a quality sell able product from seed we decided that rather re-inventing the wheel we would do exactly as our father did, which is the simple fact of buying and reselling a majority of our plants until we have enough crop rotation to sustain sales.

This is no different than what any other major retail giant does, however, you will find that buying from us you will get a much higher quality plant.

We welcome you to navigate the various sections of our website via the menu at the top or bottom of each page. You will find a wide variety of plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, palm trees and more. Our prices are comparably priced to most other online retailers and in many cases we meet or beat the competition. If you desire something that is not listed please feel free to contact us and we will be glad to assist you in your inquiry.


Plant news, growing tips, information and more....


Growing Cycads in the Landscape

Well, I post about this site also being about cycads, but I think this will be the first post I have made regarding them.  My fascination started with these about ten years ago, when my brother and I decided to grow cycads from seed as a future cash crop (along with thousands of palms and numerous bamboo).

Anyways, while some of that dream has died, my fascination has not.  Quite frankly, it has grown, with me adding more varieties of cycads to my collection as the years have passed.  Having started out with Cycas revoluta, I now also have Dioon edule, Dioon spinulosum, Cycas taitungensis,   Cycas panzhihuaensis, Ceratozamia hildae and Ceratozamia microstrabila.

Growing cycads as a landscape specimen can add a very unique and interesting item to the scenery.  While some say the look like palm trees, they are not and thus can be treated entirely differently.  But just like palms and other plants, the cold hardiness of the species depends greatly on the type.  However, there are very few pests that cycads have, with the most common being scale that thanks to some great research is easily treated organically with an item that is readily available and in most places free.

So go ahead, grow a cycad in your landscape.  If not in the yard, grow one in a pot.  I know many of the big retailers sell them as bonsai, and it certainly would be a great conversation piece around the office.  I've got a more posts in the works on cycads, including hand pollinating cycads, cycad pollen collection, and cycad propagation.  The pollen articles are especially interesting to me as it will be the first time I've tried to hand pollinate a cycad to develop a cross breed.

Bamboo Flowers

So as I was working the yard the other day I noted one of the bamboo in my yard did not look so good.  Upon closer inspection I found that it was in flower.  So I thought at first it was probably due to the fact that I had dug up and gave away the entire clump of this bamboo last year, and while I thought it gone one new shoot popped up.  But then after looking around the yard some more I noted that I had another stand of the same bamboo that was in flower as well!  So this disproves my theory that it is a panic flowering (something some bamboos are known to do when they are stressed).  I've attempted to contact some of the people that got divisions of this bamboo from me last year to find out if they are flowering as well.  If so, it could be a species wide flowering for this particular bamboo.

So while I was intent on digging it up to sell, but now that it is in flower there is no chance for that as I hope to get some fresh seed and germinate bamboo seedlings.  I'll be monitoring this closely for signs of seed development.  Now if I only knew which bamboo this was... (I acquired it through division from an area in Orlando, and I call it B. Dissimulator because of the striping on the nodes and really long branching) In the mean time, here's some pictures of my bamboo flowers.

Growing Dendrocalamus Validus bamboo in northeast Florida

Back in 2008 I paid a visit to Chuck Theroux in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  He runs Bountiful Earth and has the largest collection of bamboo in the upper half of the state.  The trip was two fold; to help him dig some bamboo for his retail operation and to attain more bamboo for my personal collection!

The bamboo I selected on this particular trip was Dendrocalamus validus, a newer introduction to the United States via Thailand.  What made me want this bamboo was seeing Chuck's Dendrocalamus validus that he had growing in his backyard, as the culms were nearly 5 inches in diameter and the height nearly surpassing the old oaks that were growing on the property!  Along with that, it had displayed a beautiful shade of orange that created a striking contrast on the green culms.  You can see from the picture on the right just how lovely this bamboo is and the size.  Those are three gallon pots next to the bamboo, so you get the idea truly how large this tropical clumping bamboo really is.  So it's easy to see how I fell in love with this bamboo. (more...)

Bamboo propagation continued…

Recently I was contacted by a reader who wanted some specifics on how to divide his bamboo.  These are tropical clumpers and after watching my videos on Propagating Tropical Clumping Bamboo he still had some questions.  He sent me pictures of the bamboo in question, of which I modified and sent back, showing precisely where I would cut if it were my bamboo.  I'm sharing these pictures today in hopes that it helps someone else who might have similar questions.  Click the picture to view each image so you read my notes.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to post a comment.  Of course comments are moderated, but I do review them frequently and approve ones that are of real value to this site.

Using Bamboo As A Natural Privacy Screen

One of the many great uses of bamboo is to use it as a screen in your landscape, adding both beauty and privacy.  A well constructed bamboo screen can either partially or completely block out what you are trying not to see...or perhaps trying to hide!  I say hide because whereas most people are searching for an effective means to not see their neighbors, perhaps you are trying to block the view of your yard from the public.  In either case your choice of bamboo is critical based on what you are trying to achieve.

My first choice for establishing a bamboo screen would be to plant a clumping variety of bamboo.  Being that I live in Florida, my personal recommended bamboos are Bambusa textilis mutabilis, Bambusa textilis gracilis or Bambusa oldhaami.  These three were chosen because of their very erect growth habit, small branching and cold hardiness.  Mutabilis and gracilis will produce a tighter, more dense natural screen whereas oldhaami will produce a more open screen.  Being that they are clumpers also means they need no containment, which makes initial labor much less intensive.

If you are in a colder climate, then there are two options for your bamboo screen.  You could plant a clumper such as one in the Fargesia family, or your could take the risk and plant any of the running species of bamboo.  However, should you plant a running bamboo make sure you use proper containment so that your bamboo fills in and creates the screen and does not become invasive.  I'll be adding more on bamboo containment in a future article.

After a few short years your bamboo should fill in nicely, creating an urban sanctuary that provides both beauty and privacy.

Clumping bamboo plants blowing in the wind

We had a rather wicked but well needed storm blow into Jacksonville today.  The kids yelled from the upstairs that the bamboo was bent over and touching the pool enclosure, so I went up to investigate.  Sure enough it was, and I whipped out the camera to take some snapshots of the wind's effect on the clumping bamboo plants.  Someone recently asked over on on the Florida Bamboo Forum if bamboo would help to reduce the effects of hurricane force winds, and based on these pics I'd have to say probably not, that is unless the house was surrounded by a few acres of bamboo forest!

Anyways, the clumping bamboo to the right is Bambusa textilis mutabilis, the one in the middle is Bambusa dissemulator, and the bamboo on the right is Bambusa ventricosa Kimmei.  The first picture shows the bamboo with the wind at a lull, and the second pic shows the bamboo bent over the gale force winds.  Sorry about the glare in the second bamboo picture, forgot to cover the flash!

clumping bamboo plants blowing in the the wind

clumping bamboo plants

Help for growing bamboo from seed

Well over the years my site has been linked from various others in regards to my simple bamboo seed germination directions or to bamboo in general.  If you are wondering, the link to the directions is here:

Growing Bamboo From Seed

Anways, looking through my webstats this morning I noted yet another new website to add to the list. This time it is a Croation website, at least that's what the Google Toolbar states, and the entire thread is about growing bamboo.  It's good to see that my directions are still helping people learn how to grow bamboo from seed, and not just in the United States but worldwide!

World Plants Forum Bamboo Thread

However, of all the sites to link to mine, none have been as prominent as the one that linked to my father's website in an article regarding cherries, Mother Earth News!  It would be awesome if they ever did a bamboo article and mentioned my website too!

Propagating Bamboo From Rhizomes

Typically this is a rather easy process for running type bamboos. One simply digs up a section of rhizomes then plants it in a new spot. When the buds break dormancy, they shoot and begin growing, and in several years time will fill in the area with new bamboo

But what about propagating clumping bamboo from rhizomes? Typically to propagate a tropical clumping bamboo as division is taken from the parent plant then replanted elsewhere where new bamboo is wanted. Sometimes the culms of that division die, and new growth emerges from the stored energy within the rhizomes. Nothing wrong with that, as the end result was still produced.

However, an interesting thing happened last year while digging divisions on the bamboo in my yard. I tossed aside a thick chunk of rhizome, thinking it trash. A few weeks later while inspecting my bamboo for new shoots, I noticed that chuck of rhizome with a small, pencil sized shoot growing from it. Pulling it from the leaf clutter, to my surprise I noted another bud developing on the rhizome as well. This rhizome also had developed a few root hairs, so I immediately planted it in some potting soil. The shoots developed into two, three foot culms. Last month I potted this new bamboo into a larger pot, and was further amazed by the amount of new root growth that had developed. I'm really anxious to see how big this years shoots will be!

So there is yet another method by which bamboo can be propagated. I'm pretty certain the species is Bambusa Mutabilis, but it could also very well be Bambusa Dissemulator. Only time will tell which bamboo it it. I've included two pics and short video documenting my find.

bamboo rhizome with new bud growth

bamboo rhizome with new shoot

Propagating Tropical Clumping Bamboo Pt 2

Well I've finally gotten around to uploading the second video in my series "Propagating Tropical Clumping Bamboo". In this video, I cover how to divide Bambusa Mutabilis via division, which will allow you to plant more bamboo within your yard, share some with friends or in my case list them for sale. This video on propagating bamboo is a bit longer than the first, but you'll find it very informative, especially since not all tropical bamboos are alike. As allows, if you have any questions about propagating bamboo or questions on anything else please feel free to post a reply.

Propagating Bamboo Via Division Video Demonstration

Many of my website visitors find their way here searching for information on how to propagate bamboo via division.  Well being that Spring is here and I have to actually divide some of my tropical clumping bamboos, I've decided to create a short video tutorial on how to do so.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

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