Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Friday, December 11, 2015

A look inside the greenhouse

The greenhouse has now been tested in a freeze, and I'm happy to report temperatures stayed above 36 degrees Fahrenheit, which is what I set the thermostat to run the heater at. While everything else was covered in thick frost, the greenhouse was a sanctuary for tender plants. 

Some of my orchids are from subtropical climes or high elevations in the tropics that can tolerate or even enjoy temperatures below 50. One of them is Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky'. This tiny miniature is responding to the cooler, humid conditions in the greenhouse by pumping out a cloud of tiny, amethyst star-shaped flowers. You can see them developing in the photo below. When open, they're only slightly more than an eighth of an inch across, but can be produced by the hundreds. The bright red foliage below belongs to Agapetes 'Ludgvan Cross'

On this side of the greenhouse are a few orchids, bromeliads, and gesneriads that can tolerate chillier conditions. Also my vireya rhododendrons, which love a cool, humid environment. I was experimenting with some of my begonias here, but the only one still in the greenhouse is 'Little Brother Montgomery', behind the rosemary on the left which was tucked inside during the cold snap. I planted two other rosemary varieties in the ground this summer, but every time I do, it seems we get some extreme weather event that kills the recently planted herbs, so I planted a third in a container to move inside as insurance. This time around, all three survived. Maybe the curse is broken!

Over on the other side, I've got a stand covered in tillandsias and Schlumbergera (Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti), my Lapageria rosea, Agapetes, Crinodendron hookerianum, and Cryptanthus pups that I'm experimenting with to see how much cold they'll tolerate. They seem to be doing fine so far. I've also got an assortment of seeds started, and the big container on the right is full of lettuce seed, which has finally started to germinate. The company that builds these greenhouses offers smaller shelves that are half the width of these. I want to add some to this side to make more room for seeds and smaller plants.

The succulents and a few drought-tolerant bromeliads are organized in this corner for watering purposes, or lack of watering in this case.

Underneath are a few larger plants like Blechnum gibbum, Abutilon megapotamicum, and other tender and semi-hardy plants.

I love having access to a greenhouse to keep these plants that, while tender, wouldn't appreciate the relatively dry heat and darkness of the house. Though I am itching for more seed space. Those shelves will help. I have a fan set up on a timer to run intermittently, circulating the air. The closed vents caused a buildup of condensation and still air that made the perfect environment for fungal problems. Moving air makes the environment slightly less friendly to such pathogens, though I've also started treating things with an organic fungicide for extra measure. I had started to lose some seedlings to damping off, but the combination seems to have stopped it for now. I wish I had taken advantage of the warmer weather last weekend to open up the greenhouse and air it out a bit, but I didn't think of that. Ah, well.

14 comments:

  1. The Cryptanthus and Begonia I got from you are sharing a windowsill pot. Am I correct in assuming they also share low water needs?

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    1. They do have low watering needs, but not as low as succulents. Let the soil surface dry between watering, but don't let them go bone dry. Though they'll tolerate bone dry once in a while.

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  2. Thanks for the glimpse inside your greenhouse! Everything looks so well organized, healthy, and happy!

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    1. It's only organized so I can cram as much as possible in there. I'm not sure about healthy. I need to figure out the fungal issue.

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  3. Your post makes me think I really need a greenhouse. I love how your plants look, all cozy and warm.

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    1. It's turning out to be a wonderful addition to the garden, though I've already gone crazy acquiring plants to put in it.

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  4. Look at all the empty space! Seriously, you've got so much room left in there.

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    1. Ha! There actually are some empty spaces outside the frame of these shots, but I still am feeling a need to edit in here and in the house. I'm trying to wait until the spring swap, though.

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  5. You just reminded me that I really should plug my fan back in out in my own greenhouse. I made sure this year when I moved plants in there to leave some space for seed starting. It helped that I put the big Brugs in the garage. When you do your seed flats, will you also use warming mats underneath? I do that even though I keep my greenhouse warmer than yours, and it helps.

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    1. I will for most things, but I had planned on doing a lot of things that needed cooler temps, part of why the greenhouse isn't being kept warmer. Though, now I'm thinking I'll just set up a space somewhere outside for seeds that need cold stratification.

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  6. I know it's arguable that I don't need a greenhouse in my climate but every time I see one, I get very envious.

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    1. It is a bit funny. You can grow Hoya carnosa outside. I suppose a greenhouse or shade house could be useful in your climate for growing things that need more humidity in summer.

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  7. Okay, now I'm jealous. 'Little Brother Montgomery' is getting pretty big now too!

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    1. That's right, be jealous. Lol. And that's after getting cut back. It has tons of buds near the base looking like they're just waiting for a warm spell to sprout.

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