It is amazing how many companies get away with shipping plants directly from Florida. Nearly all the tropical plants in Manhattan are shipped from Florida and placed into low light warehouses, shops, or put out immediately on the street to be sold. The plants come into the city looking fantastic but quickly begin deteriorating and eventually lose all their foliage and/or die. At Plants Lebacle, we do it differently. We acclimate all our plants to the New York City environment.

I owned a plant shop on 57th and Lexington on the 4th floor for years. The shop had wrap around windows making it a great space. One day, I got a call from a company based out of Canada that was doing a show at a convention center in New York City. They were trying to offload their plants for cheap, so I took a truck and went down to the convention center and bought about 20 great plants. When I got back to the store, I noticed that the plants were in better shape and were much hardier than the plants I found around the city. As I began to research, I found the company, Jensen’s, and investigated their process of growing good plants. After they received the plants from the growers, they would place the plants in simulated office spaces with artificial lighting and temperature control to mimic the locations in which the plants would later be installed. The plants would then stay in these controlled spaces for approximately a year before being sold. This process was called acclimation. After seeing this, I immediately knew it was crucial for me to begin following this method. Over the years, we have refined the process, making our plants stand out from the rest. We ship all our plants from Florida and place them in low light shade houses and greenhouses outside of the city where they will stay for approximately a year and “get used to” living in a New York City building.

Once we take the plants from their acclimation locations and place them in the city, they continue to thrive. Our plants last much longer and are of substantially higher quality. If you have had a bad experience with tropical plants, chances are they were not acclimated. Do not give up, you just have to find the right company. When someone is buying firewood, the question everyone asks is if it its seasoned, meaning that it is cut, split, and dried over time to make sure it is ready to burn. When buying plants, the question you should always ask is: have the plants been acclimated.