Ott’s Exotic Plants continues to blossom since 1914

Supporting the community since 1914, Ott’s Exotic Plants provides a wide variety of gardening essentials needed to create an exquisite enclosure.



Flower power…Investigating Ott’s vibrant selection of hydranges, junior Sam Kennedy peruses Ott’s Exotic Plants on April 12.

Staying in business for over 100 years, Ott’s Exotic Plants remains a favorite of the public. The waterfall, greenhouse, cave and mountain are some of the highlights of the business.
Ott’s has been located on Gravel Pike in Schwenksville for over 50 years.
The business originated in Godfrey Ott’s home when his mother started selling plants with him in 1914.
Godfrey Ott immigrated to America from Germany when he was 8 years old.
Being in a foreign country was only one of the challenges Godfrey Ott faced.
At the age of 8 he was paralyzed from the waist down.
According to Piper Ott, Godfrey Ott’s granddaughter, he did not let his disability get in the way of his love of the soil.
“He pretty much engineered all these machines to be able to work with his hands. So he was able to do all this stuff, but he would literally crawl [up] the mountain, plant the mountain, and work on all this while not being able to use his legs,” Piper said.
In an interview with Today Magazine in Eastern Pennsylvania in 1972, Godfrey said, “I did not want to be an invalid, I wanted to make something out of myself.”
Godfrey created Ott’s Exotic Plants filled with thousands of exotic flowers and plants.
“I didn’t have anything when I was married and I had to work hard to support my family, now they’re all helping me,” Godfrey said. “To be successful, you have to put in more hours than the other fellow and when you make a dollar, save it.”
According to an article written in the Sunday Call-Chronicle in 1977 by William F. Collins, hundreds of visitors crowded into the Lower Perkiomen Valley to see the mound that Ott built.
“A mountain of color, 40 feet high, 75 feet in diameter at the base and covered with 10,000 chrysanthemums of 100 varieties,” Collins said.
The original Ott’s started across the street from the beautiful greenhouse and the business has remained in the family for over 100 years.
“My great grandparents started across the street. This was the original sign that they used for the different markets back then,” Piper said.
Godfrey along with his wife Eleanor and six children built the “showhouse,” and the first part of the mountain in 1964.
The dome and the long Greenhouse were built in 1970.
The mountains and the tunnel were completed soon after.
“We built and planted it just for the pleasure of seeing others enjoy it. It all makes me feel so good,” Godfrey said.
At the age of 28, Godfrey got braces to aid him with the ability to walk.
“Although he is able to stand with the aid of braces and to walk with crutches, he has spent half of his life driving his automobiles and farm equipment, which were equipped with special linkage,” Collins said. “Ott has designed, built and installed in the cars and farm machines, hand-operated levers and cables to replace the standard factory brake, clutch and accelerator pedals.”
Throughout history many editions have been made to the greenhouse as it is known today.
One of these sites to see is the indoor waterfall located to the right of the main doors when customers walk in.
The waterfall flows into the koy fish pond, which attracts the many cats that can be found through the rows of thousands of flowers and plants.
The greenhouse is an effective way for customers to interact with the environment as it is easily accessible to the public.