Leather Leaf production in USA
by Barry Marshall on May 28th
A freeze devastated most of Florida's citrus industry in 1895. The growers struggled and had to look for alternative crops that would grow on their land. That search during the February freeze led to Florida's current cut foliage business.
Leatherleaf is a low growing shrub that averages 1.5m tall. This particular plant is evergreen but may turn a reddish brown during the winter months. The plant produces small flowers that are white and bell shaped. The Leatherleaf naturally grows in bogs and appears in late spring where it produces ripe black fruits. It originates from central and western China but is now produced commercially on the Western coast of USA. It is a fast growing shrub that grows well in any types of soil.
Leatherleaf thrives in partial shade but it must be protected from the sun in the south and needs regular watering. Some experts say that the plant cannot take hard summer heat, but there are certain breeds that can tolerate the heat and cold. . The leaves should be protected from hard winter winds as this can damage them.
The plant is extremely popular with florists worldwide because it keeps for a long time, it is available all year round at low cost and is versatile. Despite a lot of foreign competition, growing government rules, increasing land prices and many hurricanes, Florida remains to be one of the leaders in commercial production of Leatherleaf with almost 3500 acres used to produce it. The wholesale price has increased to over 50 million dollors in which Florida accounts for 96% of U.S production.
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