Hydroponics company g rowing

Fleur de Lis Hydroponics, of Mandeville, is launching into an operational phase after graduating from LSU’s Louisiana Business and Technology Center business incubator.

The company provides fertilizer to customers who are growing fruits, vegetables and herbs without soil, including one of south Louisiana’s most popular supermarket chains.

Having completed its research, the company has teamed with Southern Chem Industries in Reserve to blend and bottle fertilizer. Fleur de Lis Hydroponics is working to test fertilizers and products for hydroponic herb gardens on top of Rouses Supermarkets.

The company has a number of clients, including the Fleur De Lis Events Center in Mandeville, which uses the hydroponic equipment to grow produce served at the center, and Dominique’s on Magazine, a restaurant owned by acclaimed New Orleans chef Dominique Macquet.

Equipment from Fleur de Lis is also used at the Hollygrove Market and Farm, which was set up to provide fresh produce to New Orleans residents.

“We could not have progressed to this point this fast without the facility and assistance of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center and the resources of LSU,” said Ken Waters, of Fleur de Lis. Fleur de Lis has about 10 employees.

Fleur de Lis Hydroponics became the 166th company to graduate from the business incubator program, which has created more than 10,000 jobs since 1988. The company still has a laboratory at the LBTC.

The company’s website says hydroponics — the process of growing plants without soil — allows growing fresh produce in a small space like a small yard, porch, balcony or confined indoor spaces; can result in year-round production; involves less soil and water; reduces the need for pesticides; and can result in faster grow rates and larger yields.

Sheila Keller, a marketing manager for Fleur de Lis, said the interest in hydroponics fits in well with the trend of eating locally.

“If you can eat food that’s grown close to home, that’s the healthiest thing you can eat,” she said.

Getting a hydroponic garden up and running is fairly easy, Keller said. She notes the hydroponic garden at the Fleur De Lis Events Center was set up in 24 hours and now has almost 400 plants growing in it.

“It’s all about having ingenuity and passion,” she said.