Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Peek Inside the Greenhouse

Now that the greenhouse is up and running, I've started migrating my indoor plants back outside, and into its heated environment.

From outside you can see that it is starting to fill up.

The view through the door -- it will probably never again look as tidy as it does right now

A single electric heater turned up full is keeping the temp in the mid-60s during the day, and mid- to low-50s at night, while the temps outside have been just above freezing.

There's not much room left on the table

'Red Tiger' Abutilon is starting to flower

A Bromeliad hangs in a birdcage

My Brugs have been released from captivity in the garage and are now getting both light and warmth

Three Bromeliads sit under the table, where I'm hoping they won't burn if the sun comes out
There's more room on the left-hand side, where I have a few plants on metal stands.

I hope now that my Musa sikkimensis is getting more light that it will straighten up. It had started leaning over in my dining room, maybe trying to catch the light from the only south-facing window. I'm trying to decide if I want to put a chair and a small table inside. It would be lovely to be out there with a cup of coffee, while it's cold and rainy outside. While moving plants from inside the house, Nigel and I paused a few times to listen to the patter of rain on the roof, a strangely comforting sound. Nigel says it's starting to smell like a greenhouse, the smell of soil and green growing things.

It hasn't taken long for Macho Mocha to start getting some of its freckles back

You can see into the greenhouse from the Folly

I'm on a steep learning curve with the greenhouse. I'm not sure a single heater is enough. Is mid-60s during the day and mid-50s at night warm enough for these tropical plants? I haven't put all of my Bromeliads out there. I still have a few inside the house, where they've been thriving all winter in the high-60s and low light. We've actually disabled the automatic vents for the time being, while I see just how hot I can get it. They were opening as soon as it hit the mid-60s, which probably wasn't good for that heater.

Do you have a greenhouse? What do you use it for? Starting seeds? Overwintering tropical plants? Do you have any advice for me?


  1. Oh Alison, what an exciting time! Your idea of putting a table and a couple of chairs inside the greenhouse is a great one. We both know that it'll be covered in plants or seed trays in no time but it's nice to think of enjoying the space that way! Like our friend Jean Campbell, you should have lots of little frogs in your greenhouse!

  2. Your greenhouse is looking very pretty with all those beautiful plants gracing it! Keep an eye on heat retention too if it will need extra insulation during the winter months. We usually use our greenhouse to overwinter plants that are borderline hardy, wherein minimal heating in the winter is just needed. We try and steer clear of plants that are too tender or needs high minimum temps unless we can accommodate them in the house.

    1. What Mark and Gaz said....

      I keep orchids in the house where the temperature is constant. You may be surprised how hardy many plants that are frost tender really are if frost doesn't settle on them. When there is a freeze, I aim for keeping temps just under 40 degrees. Nights in the 40s I don't even plug in the heaters.

      Definitely a chair. I prefer a step stool for perching and climbing. Anything with a horizontal surface becomes a place to set plants.

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  4. Tom and I think you need more plant benches. Look at Charlie's Greenhouse Supply on line for ideas. Tom thinks you will need more than one heater to keep those tropicals happy, and you need to adjust your vents so they don't open until the temp reaches at least 70, that is if your vents are adjustable by temperature.
    Tom uses his greenhouse for growing on his fancy leaf geranium cuttings, over wintering some tender plants, and starting seeds for things like tomatoes. His one heater keeps things from freezing, about 45 to 50 at night during the winter.
    Good luck, and have fun learning.

  5. It looks so much bigger now that there are plants going in!

  6. It's so wonderful! Love the bird cage!

  7. I'd have to have a comphy chair to sit and read in the company of my tenders.

  8. No greenhouse, but I can the meantime I will live vicariously through you.

  9. Oh, Alison, it already looks great! Love the chandelier and the birdcage!

  10. I don't have a greenhouse so I have no advice to give, just warm congratulations on a dream come true!

  11. Looks great! Oh the fun you'll have in there.

  12. Wonderful! I bet you feel like you are a little girl who got her playhouse! I certainly would feel like that.

  13. The green-eyed monster is rearing its head (jealousy, this time, not my plant addiction). How wonderful to have a greenhouse! As for temperature, I know a lady who uses hers to overwinter mostly borderline plants like Mark and Gaz do. She only heats hers to keep it above 34 F, but has mostly brugmansias, a mandevilla, and other subtropicals that can handle such temperatures. Except for your new Cordyline 'Miss Andrea' and the Ctenanthe, I don't think any of those plants would suffer from nights in the 40's. Those two might be ok, but I've no experience growing them that cold nor have I read any accounts thereof. Even the begonias would be fine, though they might drop a few more leaves than normal and enter a semi-dormancy like your brugmansias.

  14. Can hardly wait for the next installment. I keep going back in there via photos and moving things around and asking the plants if they're comfortable.

  15. This is so exciting--I hope you'll keep posting every detail! It's so beautiful inside--a chair would be lovely.

  16. What a nice looking greenhouse. I can't wait until ours is complete. I love the hanging light fixture. Back when we were building our house I bought a small, cheap chandelier for my daughter's bedroom, but we've never hung it up. You've inspired me to maybe hang it in our greenhouse. But, I bet it won't look near as classy as yours does.

  17. Great to see the greenhouse with plants...I want one but probably will not have one...still I love the look and thought of them.


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