SEFFNER, Fla. (FOX 13) - In the heart of Seffner, you'll feel like you've been transported to furthest U.S. state from Florida: Hawaii.
Typically, plumerias are quickly associated with the Hawaiian islands, but the owner of Exotic Plumeria says they can survive in the Sunshine State. Alan Bunch's business is a vast garden where he grows them, sells them, and educates the public about them. Plus, he can help create those popular leis.
Exotic Plumeria -- which has been open for 30 years -- has flowers as far as the eyes can see. There are more than 280 different kinds of plumeria, and Bunch knows about them all.
"Plumerias love Florida," he explained. "They don't require a lot of water."
Bunch said they are not difficult to grow and maintain. In fact, they "thrive on neglect."
'It's pretty hard to kill a plumeria," he added.
Bunch used to be an accountant, but after his trip to Hawaii, his life changed forever as he witnessed the plumeria's different colors, fragrances and structures. He became obsessed with finding new ones and visits at least once of year to find the flowers.
"It was a life changing experience," Bunch said. "I did it on a part-time basis for a while but then I went full time in about '98."
"I don't know why they mean so much to me," he added. "They just do."
Exotic Plumeria is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you want leis, you will need to pre-order them.
LINK: For more information, head over to Exotic Plumeria's website.