The year was 1918. Bonnie and Livingston Paulk had arrived in Union Springs, Alabama the previous year with just $50 in their pockets, and were looking for a way to make a living on the land. On a hunch, they planted two pounds of cabbage seeds in the backyard, then hauled the plants to town in a buggy to sell them. Voila! A company was born, and was soon named “Bonnie Plants” by Livingston in honor of his beloved wife. By the early 1920s, Livingston and his crew were planting many more pounds of seeds each year and had added onions, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants to the mix.
In 1936, the first of many Bonnie greenhouses was erected, and the business continued to grow and expand. There were lots of other firsts, too, as years went by: the first delivery truck, the first Bonnie-exclusive tomato, the first time selling potted plants instead of bare-root ones. In 1983, Bonnie Plants were sold in 13 states; by 1995, you could buy a Bonnie Plant in every state but Alaska and Hawaii.
Today, Bonnie Plants are available in all 50 states (plus Canada) and come in nearly 300 plant varieties (including Organics!), many of which have been test-grown in our trial garden in Union Springs. Our plants don’t have to travel far to make it to you, either, as we now have over 70 growing stations across the country.
From the start, our goal has been to provide top-quality vegetable and herb plants at a decent price, so customers could experience the joy and satisfaction of growing their own fresh food to feed their families. Now, a full century later, that goal still stands. We’ve added a second one, too: to be the go-to source for vegetable and herb gardening information, whether you’re a total newbie or have been gardening for decades.
That’s why we created our website (BonniePlants.com) and free app (Homegrown with Bonnie Plants), both of which are chock-full of tips and advice to help you become more successful at growing your own food. It’s why we’ve continued to expand our 3rd Grade Cabbage Program, which provides over a million free cabbage plants every year to school kids across the country as a way to encourage them to fall in love with gardening.
It’s also why we teamed up with Miracle-Gro in 2017 to make it even easier for you to go homegrown, thanks to premium-quality garden and raised bed soil, potting mix, and plant food. But at its heart, Bonnie Plants is still a family business. Our headquarters remain in Union Springs, Alabama, and our company president, Stan Cope, is Bonnie’s and Livingston’s grandson.
A lot can change in 100 years, but one thing has stayed the same: Bonnie Plants’ belief that when you start with high-quality plants, growing veggies and herbs is something anyone with a little patch of sunlight can do—even if your “garden” consists of a pot of herbs in your balcony.
Are you ready to join the Bonnie family and start growing with us? Find the location nearest you that sells Bonnie Plants right here. Here’s to another century of delicious homegrown food!
Learn more about the history of Bonnie Plants from Mrs. Bonnie herself.