By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

Ornamental plants are plants that aregrown for decorative purposes. These are commonly planted in gardens or as elements in a landscape design. They can also be accents indoors. For some, caring for ornamentals can be quite expensive (depending on the variety), but for others, it can be a good source of livelihood. 

Meynard Reyes, an entrepreneur residing in Pasig, has tapped into the potential of earning from ornamentals. 

He graduated from a programming course in Systems Technology Institute (STI) and has been working in different fields which took him overseas for 17 years before he decided to return to his roots in 2007 and begin his nursery business.  

“I grew up surrounded by plenty of plants–my dad is my biggest influence. I’m well accustomed to having plants around but I had a hard time growing them indoors,” Reyes said.

Meynard Reyes is fond of plants as his father was his biggest influence.

However, things changed for the better when Reyes discovered a nutrient solution that helps keep his plants fresh and healthy even without soil. 

“The moment I came across these nutrients, I fell in love for the second time around,” he said.

At first, Reyes preferred growing ornamentals alone because these can easily survive both in water and indoors. As years passed, he tried more varieties and he discovered that some flowering plants also do well in the set growing conditions.

After finding a nutrient solution, Reyes found it possible to grow indoor water plants.

One particular variety that he is fond of is the indoor water plants such as philodendrons, pothos, and aglaonemas which thrive in aquatic conditions and work well with the nutrient solution that Reyes discovered. 

He also uses recycled materials such as soda bottles, regular drinking bottles, and more to create the planters for his plants.

Some of the planters that hold the water plants are made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles.

From cuttings, he grows ornamentals and water plants such as fortune plants, crotons, and pothos which he acquired from his travels. 

His wife, who works with Reyes as a third party marketing staff for different companies, helps him with his nursery business since they are both interested in the beauty and benefits that plants offer. 

“We incorporate our plants in interior design setups and we also offer maintenance,” Reyes said. 

A small plant from Reyes costs P500 a piece, while medium-sized plants cost P1,500 per piece, and a large one costs P1,800. However, these prices can also change depending on the client’s preference as well as the type of plant. 

Reyes also sells cuttings and nutrients to those interested. 

Encouraging others to advocate plants 

Despite having started fairly recently, although not during the pandemic, Reyes has already begun encouraging his friends to see the beauty and benefits of plants that he and his wife have come to appreciate. 

“I encouraged my friends to put plants inside their houses to improve its air quality. Some of them are not interested while others are too busy to take some time off and enjoy nature,” he said. 

Eventually, Reyes added, his friends realized that having plants indoors and in personal spaces can be beneficial to both their health and the environment. With this, he made his first few clients. 

One thing that Reyes is familiar with is worrying about whether or not the plants will survive in one’s care. He shares that this is also another factor as to why some people are afraid of having plants around their home. 

But for Reyes, he believes that learning about plants from both available source materials and experience is a solution to that worry because he himself started out by reading about plants, as well as experimenting with and observing them. 

“Prior to my water plant nursery, I would rate my general knowledge about plants at a five out of 10. Now, I can say that it’s at seven,” the entrepreneur said. 

Aside from his water plants, Reyes also offers complimentary lectures and workshops for interested groups with at least 20 people. 

He hopes that by selling indoor plants to people and offering some knowledge to them can encourage them to start planting and realize that gardening can be more than a hobby–it can even become a source of income as well.