Hopkins Nursery started in the late 70’s with a ¼-acre site. We now have 10 acres of growing area and a 5-acre stock-plant area used for propagation. Initially, we grew and offered for sale only citrus and tropical-fruit trees. Now we specialize in tropical-fruit trees and butterfly plants. The operation has shifted slowly from retail to wholesale.
With the wholesale nursery we are able to reach more customers who want quality tropical-fruit trees and butterfly plants. That allows us to place more emphasis on quality than quantity.
Our use of fertilizers and soils has changed to reflect environmental concerns. We have reduced the amount of pesticides and fungicides to the bare minimum for our nursery license. Our soils are from renewable sources. We still use commercial fertilizers, but a time-release product that is considered to be the most environmentally friendly in the nursery trade.
Barbara Hopkins, now a fourth generation in agriculture and horticulture, started during the 50’s in the nursery business as a teenager with her father’s nursery in Hollywood, Florida. She worked in every facet of the business, from pulling weeds to propagating to selling product. In the early 60’s with her husband Bill, the first Hopkins Nursery was formed with ornamental plants. When the current Hopkins Nursery started in the late 70’s, she was the primary employee, now having about 35 years of experience in the nursery and tropical-fruit business. At the time, plant material for tropical-fruit nurseries was hard to find and required collecting trips to other countries.
Bill Hopkins passed away on August 24, 2008, and is greatly missed by family and many old customers who remember his friendly canter in the chickee. He was also fourth generation in agriculture and horticulture and was raised on a family farm that grew produce organically.
After leaving home, he attended school for animal husbandry and grew beef cattle. Once Bill and Barbara were married, they continued the work with cattle while starting a short-lived ornamental nursery. The Hopkins Nursery of the late 70’s was juggled on weekends and evenings.
Bill's talent was with propagation. He did most of the grafting and air layering on the plants to get them started in production. He enjoyed teaching people the art of grafting and was generous in sharing his knowledge.
Billy Hopkins, their son, is now the fifth generation in agriculture and horticulture. He was responsible for the beginning of Hopkins Nursery in the 70’s. While in high school Billy wanted his own nursery after working with friends who had a nursery. While learning from the school of hard knocks, he realized an official horticultural education was needed. After college Billy came into the nursery full time and has been working there ever since. He manages the nursery and handles the technical processes and production.
Rachel Lukas Hopkins, a fourth generation in Florida agriculture and horticulture, joined the nursery in 2006 when she married Billy. Rachel’s family also has its roots in agriculture and the nursery business in Oviedo, Florida. She worked in her family’s nursery during breaks from school, joining the nursery full time after receiving her degree in business from Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina.
Billy and Rachel have two girls, Hannah 9 years old and Jolene 3 years old. They enjoy being outside and eating fruit from our trees. Hannah's first fruit was Sapodilla and second fruit was Lychee. Jolene's first fruit was Soursop and her second fruit was Jakfruit. It is great to introduce them to these exotics. If they only could realize how special it really is to grow and eat such a wide variety of their own fruit.