Larry Pliska is the founder of Planterra, a leading provider of interior landscape and horticultural services, design services, tropical plant procurement and organic material for corporate spaces. He founded the business in 1973.
Larry began collecting plants as a hobby, never imagining it might become his career. A self-taught horticulturalist, He grew up in northeastern Detroit and attended Wayne State University. His focus always returned to selling and maintaining plants. “I thought plants would be a peaceful way to make a living,” he says.
A pioneer in the horticulture industry, Larry is among the first entrepreneurs in North America to offer indoor plants and interior landscape design services to commercial buildings. He has built a career on incorporating and maintaining greenery in atriums, office parks, hotels, casinos and shopping centers throughout the country.
He began selling plans out of his Volkswagon bus in 1972, before renting his first greenhouse in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. During the early years of Planterra, Larry installed the original “Flying Ficus Trees” at the Renaissance Center in 1977. Back in 2000, he oversaw the design, fabrication and installation of replica 55-foot tall Washingtonia Palms for the GM Renaissance Center’s Wintergarden.
Throughout his career, Larry has worked with noted architects including Minoru Yamasaki and John Portman. He has earned local and national awards for his work, including the Associated Landscape Contractors of America Environmental Improvement Design Award and Lawrence Technological University’s Leaders & Innovators award. Still, Larry says he’s most proud to be maintaining and growing a successful business, one that is now managed by his sons, Shane and Zachary Pliska.
Larry’s hobbies include travel, sailing and collecting and trading rare and unusual plants. He is an amateur percussionist and pianist who regularly practices yoga and meditation. Always learning, Larry is a student of Tai Chi Chuan, a combination of Kung Fu and Tai Chi, and acrylic painting. He lives in Franklin Village, Mich. with his wife, Carol Pliska, and the newest addition to their family, Rocco, a white golden retriever.