Project Details

Project Type

Flowers and Retail


Cincinnati, OH


Poly Arch


  • Ridder gearbox motors
  • Modine unit heaters
  • Schaefer HAF fans
  • Bartlett environmental controllers
  • Ginegar ID/AD greenhouse film
  • Svensson Solarwoven Ultra sidewall and partition curtains
Tropical Foliage Plant staff members pose amidst plants filling their new Poly Arch greenhouse.
Tropical Foliage Plant staff members in their new Poly Arch greenhouse. L to R: Bill Plummer, Scott Reiter, Dale Lutz (owner), Steve Gavin, and Jason Ahr

About Tropical Foliage Plants

Tropical Foliage Plants, run by the Lutz family since 1968, is known for the outstanding quality of its products and one of the biggest plant selections you’ll find in the Tri-State area of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.

You can find this wholesale plant distributor in the Delhi Township area of Cincinnati, OH. It offers a wide range of foliage and blooming plants as well as other seasonal items and hard goods.

Delhi Township makes the ideal setting for an operation of this type with its rich farming and floral history. Over 60 greenhouse operations once called this neighborhood home, earning it the nickname “The Floral Paradise of Ohio”.

Tropical Foliage Plant grows around 5% of its product. The rest comes from its greenhouse facility in central Florida, Ponkan Pines Nursery, and other carefully selected Florida growers.

David Lutz, who manages the 2-acre Ponkan Pines Nursery, has a serious talent for growing the best foliage and tropical plants in the business. The nursery plays a crucial role in making sure Tropical Foliage Plants always has top-quality plants to offer its customers.

Speaking of customers, Tropical Foliage Plants takes pride in providing first-rate plants and products with exceptional customer service. It caters to retail florists, garden centers, plant shops, and interiorscapers. Customers can swing by to select their plants, or the experienced staff can choose the plants and ready them for delivery.

Poly Arch greenhouse interior filled with tropical plants, showing partition curtains and roof covering.
Suitable for natural or fan ventilation, the Poly Arch has a unique roof vent design that allows for maximum airflow and cooling.

Project Overview

Wooden, A-frame greenhouses covering 20,000 square feet were the original structures built on Tropical Foliage Plant’s Ohio site. Improvements made over the years, including reinforcing the gutters, replacing glass with plastic, and keeping up with general maintenance kept the structures in pretty good shape.

In 1988, Tropical Foliage Plants added two 20-foot Poly Arch greenhouses from Rough Brothers’ (now part of Prospiant). Workers tore down part of the original greenhouse in 1996 and expanded by adding six Poly Arch greenhouses that were 20-feet wide, all from Rough Brothers. Additionally, they added into the design a new 7,500 square foot warehouse for shipping and packing.

Poly Arch Greenhouses Offer More Space and Maximize Airflow

In 2005, Tropical Foliage Plants added three more of the same Poly Arch greenhouses from Rough Brothers/Prospiant, all gutter connected.

With the explosion of demand for foliage and tropical plants over the last decade, owner Dale Lutz knew an expansion was due to make room for more plants. He decided to expand using the same type of Poly Arch houses he already had on-site since they worked so well for his set-up.

Dale enlisted the help of longtime friend and Prospiant salesman Keith Bemerer to plan for the new expansion. He initially planned to build one new greenhouse, but that eventually turned into four gutter-connected Poly Arch houses.

Some of Dale’s specific requests for the new greenhouses included more airflow, sidewall swing-vents without inside mounts, and a 4-foot kneewall to protect plants from the wind.

Chris Gullet, Design Manager – Manufacturing/Operations for Prospiant, designed the greenhouses and Prospiant manufactured the materials for them at its Cincinnati manufacturing site. Jason Ahr, who works at Tropical Foliage Plants as a site manager, built the greenhouses with the help of his brother-in-law.

Greenhouse Features

The new greenhouses cover nearly 9,020 square feet, and you can section them off with roll-up curtains. Each bay has a Modine unit for heating and Schaefer HAF fans for circulation. Ridder motor gearboxes run the vents and screens. Sidewall curtain and partition wall curtains are Solarwoven Ultra provided by Svensson.

The addition of Bartlett automated ClimateBoss controllers has proved a real time-saver for the growers, who can now monitor and adjust greenhouse conditions remotely via Bartlett’s HeadGrower App. An already installed WeatherBoss System provides instantaneous control for inclement weather conditions and easily adapted the new ClimateBoss Controllers into their system.

In the past, Tropical Foliage Plants have had some challenges with condensation build-up on greenhouse surfaces dripping on plants, so Bemerer suggested covering the new greenhouses with Ginegar Infra-Red (IR)/Anti-Drip (AD) film to help with the problem.

The roofs of the greenhouses are made of inflated double-poly. Two of the greenhouses have white poly on the top layer and IR/AD film on the bottom layer. The other greenhouses have diffused clear poly on the top layer and IR/AD film on the bottom layer.

Tropical Foliage Plants cares for such a variety of plants with different water requirements that hand irrigation made the most sense for the new greenhouses. Ahr installed special hose reels that hang overhead to keep hoses off the ground and make it easier to maneuver them around the greenhouse. The harder-to-reach hanging baskets have drip irrigation.

Outside view of Poly Arch greenhouses at Tropical Foliage Plants.
Tropical Foliage used exterior rack and pinion swing out vents to prevent interference with plants on the inside of the house.

Project Execution

The project kicked-off June of 2023. Jason and his team finished the construction in Dec. of 2023 with plenty of time to get ready for the busy spring season.

Working with Dale, Jason, and their team was an absolute pleasure, according to Bemerer.

“Both Dale and Jason valued our opinions and were quick to ask questions,” Keith says. “They engaged in productive discussions about what was best for the greenhouses and showed a willingness to try new things. This made the project a dream to work on.”

One of Prospiant’s strengths is its ability to go out and help a customer at a moment’s notice and make sure they have all the support they need to make the project successful.

During construction, Keith and Prospiant’s project manager Sam Davis made weekly on-site visits to meet with Dale and Jason and ensure everything was running smoothly.

Keith and others from Prospiant also turned up on a windy day to help Jason’s team install the sidewall curtains on the greenhouses because it was new to them. He also arranged for someone from Ridder to do some on-site training on how to correctly set limits on the motor gearboxes.

Poly Arch greenhouse filled with tropical foliage and flowering plants.
Ideal for production or retail, the Poly Arch has energy-efficient roof vents and accommodates passive and/or mechanical ventilation.

Prospiant Supports Customers Long-Term

“We couldn’t have done this project without Keith and his Prospiant team,” Dale says. “They went out of their way to accommodate us, and we couldn’t have been more satisfied with how it turned out. When you are putting that big of expense into a project, it is nice to know you have someone dependable who doesn’t just say ‘see you’ when the project is done and forget about you. That’s huge.”

“Keith is like how we treat our customers,” Jason adds. “He cares about what he is selling them and goes out of his way to take care of them.”

Tropical Foliage Plants plans to use some of its new greenhouse space to grow poinsettias, annuals, and hanging baskets. With the extra room, they’ve also made some changes to make it easier for customers to see and choose their favorite plants.

But here’s the best part: Tropical Foliage Plants remains as committed as ever to providing top-notch plants and exceptional service to its customers. Prospiant is proud to have played a small role in helping them keep that commitment with their new greenhouses.

Want to see more of our greenhouse projects? Check out work we’ve done at Pleasant View Gardens and Cactus and Tropicals.

Overhead view of Poly Arch greenhouses showing inflated double-poly covering.
Prospiant manufactured the materials for the Poly Arch greenhouses, while Jason Ahr and his brother-in-law constructed the greenhouses.

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