Redleaf Exotics Nepenthes Nursery is located in Morrison, TN. We specialize in growing tropical pitcher plants called Nepenthes. Our stock consists of carefully selected 20+ year old species and hybrid cultivars. We use both highland and lowland greenhouses to maximize the range of plants we can provide. We love our plants and want to share that passion with others!
How It All Began
Since the age of 13, Domonick Gravine has had a deep devotion to nature, especially plants. He grew up in Pennsylvania, and this is where he started growing his first carnivorous plants. While shopping at Home Depot with his mother, they came across some Venus flytraps. He couldn’t believe some plants could eat bugs! While sorting through them, he came across a tropical pitcher plant called Nepenthes! It piqued his curiosity, so he bought it. When he got home, he web-searched the name on the pot, Nepenthes ventricosa. His life was never the same.
Exotica Plants: The Road to Sole Distributor
After only a year of collecting, Dom stumbled upon an Australian based Nepenthes Nursery, Exotica Plants. He immediately took an interest and would check their website daily to see if they posted any new plants. The size of their pitchers and the different types of hybrids they created were jaw dropping! He had never seen anything so beautiful and exciting! Dom reached out to the owners, Geoff and Andrea Mandell and found out they exported to the USA! He ordered some of his first plants through a group order held on an online carnivorous plant forum. When the import came in, the size and quality of the plants were unbelievable!
Over the years, Dom formed an online relationship with Geoff and Andrea and paid close attention to their stock and breeding program. Nothing fueled his passion more than Exotica Plants' creations!
Fifteen years later, Domonick finally planned his first trip to Exotica Plants. At this point, he had been working for 12 years as a fashion photographer, but always had Nepenthes by his side. Visiting Exotica Plants was his number 1 thing to cross off his bucket list! During his visit, he fell in love with Geoff and Andrea’s greenhouses and life. Their benches had mounds of sphagnum growing on them, with giant Nepenthes pitchers popping up everywhere. Some of the pitchers could fit an arm inside of them! He clearly remembers leaning back on the bench staring at their gargantuan ( lowii x truncata)- giant and thinking, “Wow. I want my life to be just like this!”
“Inspiration is the fuel to our greatest achievements”
Dom returned to NYC filled with inspiration! He immediately started looking for apartments outside of Manhattan. It was his only hope at finding a place with a backyard. He searched Craiglist every day and finally found something that looked promising. The room was a tiny sun porch off the back of a house, with a door that led to a private backyard. The pics looked a little sketchy, but he saw potential! He scheduled a walk through with an agent and went straight to the yard. It was an 18 x 50ft lot covered in garbage and overgrowth. It backed up against a cemetery wall, so it was peaceful, and there weren’t any buildings blocking the light. He told the agent he would take it if the landlord agreed to let him build a greenhouse. He would also create a garden for the other roommates to enjoy.
The landlord agreed.
Within two months of his first visit to Exotica, Dom was out of Manhattan and constructing his 14 x 24ft polytunnel. He finished in the spring and started adding plants. Redleaf Exotics was born!
Redleaf Exotics Was Born
A ftting name for someone whose favorite color is red. In spring of 2016, Dom created his online shop and hosted his first commercial import with Exotica plants. It was very successful and it propelled Redleaf Exotics into the incredible market of carnivorous plants. Redleaf Exotics Nepenthes nursery is now the exclusive distributor for Exotica Plants and one of the top Nepenthes vendors in the country.
After 2 years in Brooklyn, the nursery was growing quickly and needed to expand. Dom joined forces with his best friend and lowland specialist, Jerry Brady. Together, they relocated to Morrsion, Tennessee and currently run the operation together on a beautiful 15 acre plot of land. We own and operate two full sized greenhouses and are currently expanding to our third.
Dom says, “Always follow your dreams and never give up! Anything is possible!”