At O’Berry’s Succulents in St. Petersburg, Florida, a shared passion for plants has blossomed into a full-grown local business. After Dan O’Berry passed his love of botany onto his daughter Jamie, the two set out to share their interest and innovation with the local community.
“My father and I have been obsessed with plants for as long as I can remember,” says daughter and co-owner Jamie. “We both became enamored with succulents and cacti about five years ago because of their unique beauty and sustainability.”
Succulent plants are perfect for the hot summers of sunny Florida because they retain water better than most plants. Dan and Jamie first experimented with the unique and ornamental plants in their own backyard, making creative arrangements and trying new techniques.
“We spent every weekend creating dry garden projects,” Jamie says. “We would scour neighborhoods where tenants would re-landscape and throw perfectly good plants away, many being cacti. With lots of trial and error we learned to propagate and began creating hanging baskets that we sold at local nurseries and produce stands.”
Then, about two years ago, the father-daughter team made the leap to fully fledged business owners with the launch of O’Berry’s Succulents. Today, the team is known for its unique and innovative arrangements, using anything from teacups to carafes as planters for the succulents.
“Once we learned to create a drainage hole in glass, porcelain and clay we made it our goal to re-purpose and up-cycle anything interesting that could contain a succulent,” Jamie says.
What started as fun weekend projects has since turned into real small business success. Dan and Jamie sell their plants in St. Petersburg’s local indie markets and at a boutique downtown called Strands of Sunshine. Their arrangements also adorn the tables of their favorite local restaurant in Tampa, The Refinery.
St. Petersburg has a wide array of indie businesses, each with its own local flair. Like these businesses, O’Berry’s is able to stand apart from the national chains because of its unique approach to the industry.
“We propagate each plant in a personally developed soil mixture. We have experimented with a number of species, and we only sell what will be successful in a central Florida climate,” Jamie says. “Almost everyone that buys from us gets to meet the grower and is personally told how to care for their plant. They can ask questions and get answers from the growers. You will not get that at chain stores.”
From gardening in the backyard to running a small business, Dan and Jamie have worked together every step of the way. O’Berry’s Succulents is now a growing local business looking to expand its reach across Florida, but it will always be a father-daughter team looking to have fun with unique plants.