Five students from two greenhouses and a love for succulents resulted in the birth of the semi-annual Succulentopia, where students and faculty sold more than 125 kinds of plants Oct. 19-20.
The idea originally stemmed from horticulture lecturer Mike Bush, who was inspired by “Tomato Mania,” a similar event held every May where students and faculty sell heirloom tomatoes.
“We’ve been growing succulents here at Cal Poly [for] a very long time, but I found the effort had been declining, so about three years ago we started ramping up because of the drought,” Bush said.
This year, there were more than 5,000 plants to choose from, meeting the high demand and popularity of succulents among students and locals.
“We have two greenhouses completely filled with succulents and we are selling all those right now to make room for more propagation,” agricultural and environmental plant sciences senior Karianne Rydberg said.
Although the horticulture unit has been selling succulents for several years now, they just recently began selling them under the name of “Succulentopia” in May 2018. The money raised goes back to Cal Poly Corporation, funding further student employment through the Learn By Doing motto.
“Our sales were just over $14,000 last year,” Bush said.
This year, those sales are expected to rise due to the flood of succulent-lovers seen at the shop this past weekend. The shop contained a variety of plants, ranging from small to large, with prices starting at $4.50.
“I have a lot of the typical plants at home, so I’m trying to find something I haven’t seen before,” business administration alumnus Rachel Robinson said.
The Horticulture Unit workers hope to continue this new tradition, and judging by the overflow of happy customers this weekend, it seems Succulentopia is here to stay.