Mark Peters has been a gardening enthusiast since his youth and his entire professional life has been devoted exclusively to the garden world. After graduation from U. Conn.’s esteemed School of Horticulture at Storrs, CT in the early 1970’s, Mark began his career at the legendary White Flower Farm. Later he went on to direct horticulture at Boston’s historic Forest Hills Cemetery (at which time he was an honorary member of the Mass. Hort. Society). His interest in the contributions of distinguished American landscape architects from the 17th to early 20th centuries, and on restoring historic gardens led him to attend specialized courses of study at Radcliffe College and Winterthur among others.
In 2002 Peters started working his way evermore South, first as Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at The New York Botanical Garden where he became increasingly fascinated with all things tropical in the plant world, and began raising orchids in his bathtub. That’s when he met present wife, Deirdre also working at NYBG as Public Programming & Events Manager. Together they ventured down to Vero Beach where Mark served as Director of Horticulture at McKee Botanical Gardens, just in time to shepherd that garden through hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, and lead volunteer teams to help with clean-up from Charley et al at Leu, and Bok Tower Gardens.
Soon after arriving in Florida, Mark was introduced to crotons (codiaeum varietatum) by his wife Deirdre, who had grown up in the British West Indies. Most recently, having been totally seduced by the croton’s dazzling, flamboyant ornamental foliage, this former orchid aficionado established Peters Crotons & Cordylines in Vero Beach to study, collect and propagate unusual, rare, old, and hard-to-find croton cultivars. Peters now offers crotons for sale to the public at Botanic Garden and Garden Club Pant Sales throughout South Florida.
As mass merchandisers and box stores become the main suppliers of plants for our gardens, the beautiful ‘heirloom’ croton cultivars are fast disappearing. One cutting at a time, Peters is an ardent, hands-on preservationist; dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the myriad, distinctive old varieties of these cheerful shrubs, which so steadfastly graced Florida gardens for decades. These days thankfully, crotons seem to be enjoying resurgence in popularity.
Throughout his career, Peters has been a popular speaker at garden events, and has been the featured speaker on crotons at a number of Florida Federation Garden Clubs. An entertaining and enlightening presenter, the hallmark of his Croton Program is a phenomenal display of masses of crotons so he can readily emphasize his talking points, demonstrate the art of air-layering, and discuss best practices of croton cultivation.
Peters Croton Nursery started as a hobbyist collection of Crotons in 2003 and has evolved into a Croton and Ti Plant (Cordyline) specialty nursery.
We usually have 50-100 varieties available for purchase at any given time in small (1 gallon), medium (3 gallon) or large (5 gallon) sizes. Mark and wife Deirdre sell these plants at various Garden shows at Botanical Gardens and Garden clubs throughout south and central Florida. See Events for upcoming plant shows and other activities.
Crotons and Cordylines (Hawaiian Ti plants) are all we produce and that is our specialty. Our inventory includes the most common types to rarer and the more collectable. Plants are priced according to size and rarity. Please feel free to email us to ask a question or inquire about availability. We track and update our inventory regularly and can arrange for pickup or delivery. Upon request, we offer lectures and give demonstrations on Crotons to Garden Clubs and Botanical Gardens.