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Discover your green thumb at Sow Exotic

Learn how the team behind Sow Exotic grew it from a budding operation to a thriving plant nursery near Lakeland, and see how you can stock your own garden with its edible plants.

Tall plants in pots sit inside a greenhouse at Sow Exotic nursery.

Find all the edible plants you can eat at this local nursery — the greenhouses never seem to end.

Photo by LALtoday

Imagine bean pods that taste like vanilla ice cream, bright blue-hued bananas, and berries that taste like buttered popcorn. These may sound like creations in Willy Wonka’s factory, but you’ll find them growing right here in Polk County, just a few minutes from Lakeland. Welcome to Sow Exotic.

Rows of small plants in pots with soil sit on racks in a greenhouse. Pinned to a clothesline above them are pages with plant photos and growing information.

Sow Exotic is a Catapult alum — the biz even won a Launch Pitch grant for a new soil mixer in 2021.

Photo by LALtoday

Sow Exotic is a plant nursery that specializes in 200+ varieties of fruiting trees, medicinal herbs, and edible plants. Owners Brittany Bandi and Jared Craig started the biz in 2016, selling plants online and shipping them straight to customers’ gardens. This spring, they opened their nursery for public shopping.

A repurposed shipping container with green and yellow walls and open sides as entrances. Inside are shelves and racks of plant care products.

Find all the plant care essentials you need inside this repurposed shipping container.

Photo by LALtoday

You’ll find the nursery at 6405 Thornhill Rd. in Winter Haven, as well as a food forest down the street that’s available for private tours + special events. The nursery’s greenhouses are packed with edible plants, plus the tools you need to help them thrive in your own backyard.

Jared Craig, wearing a gray t-shirt and hat, shows a propagation technique using aluminum foil wrapped around a tropical tree branch.

Join the next food forest tours on June 22 and July 23.

Photo by LALtoday

City Editor Connor here. I toured the food forest and nursery, and it was eye-opening to see what you can grow right from home. Craig showed me the techniques they were using to propagate plants, and Bandi let me try some of the fruits + herbs growing in the food forest. (Those berries really did taste like popcorn.)

A worker packages plants for shipping at Sow Exotic

Sow Exotic uses plantable pots and biodegradable shipping supplies for every order.

Photo by LALtoday

Back at the nursery, I got an inside look at the online order fulfillment process since it’s still a huge part of the business. I was impressed by the plastic-free packaging they used, even when shipping a citrus tree.

A leafy mulberry bush with red berries and deep green leaves

Bandi said the mulberry is one of the easiest plants for new growers — sounds right up our alley.

Photo by LALtoday

If you’re looking to grow your own green thumb, shop online or in person at the Sow Exotic nursery. It’s open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

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