MARK WILSON IMMIGRATED to the United States in 1972, giving
up a promising corporate career to live the American dream as
owner and operator of his own successful plant nursery. His 30-
acre Greendale Nursery at Homestead, Fla., produces plants that
are sold throughout North America, with exports to customers on
For his success as a nursery grower, Wilson has been selected
as state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern
Farmer of the Year award. He and nine other finalists will be
judged for the overall award that will be announced Tuesday, Oct.
17 at the Sunbelt Expo farm show at Moultrie, Ga.
Depending on the season, 27 to 50 people are employed at the
nursery. When he started the business, production required one
employee to cover one acre. With today’s improved technology,
one employee now covers four acres.
Wilson selected the Greendale name because his mother
liked it, and because it evoked a natural green valley setting. The
nursery is located near many other plant operations. “Anyone can
get into the nursery business,” says Wilson. “Our strategy has been
to concentrate on tropical exotic and unique plants.”
IRRIGATION, PEST CONTROL
Major plants include Heliconias, gingers, Alocasia, Cordyline,
Crotons, birds of paradise, bamboos, ground orchids and orchid
trees, ornamental and edible bananas, Philodendrons, tree ferns,
dwarf umbrellas, several varieties of Schefflera, and several
flowering hibiscus varieties. He also grows tropical fruit —
pineapples, avocados, jackfruit, ackee, and longan. “We don’t want
to grow what everyone else grows,” says Wilson.
Water conservation is a big issue in south Florida, so he began
2017 Florida Farmer of the Year
growing native desert agave plants that produce attractive
flowers, along with other drought-tolerant plants. He has been
Mark Wilson named
Mark and Susan Wilson.