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May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Posted by foxesearth 8b GA/FL line (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 11:34

If you are overwintering plants in your greenhouse, could we just peek inside?

Here is a link that might be useful: Dotty Plants Journal

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

This was after the first cold spell, doesn't look as good now, but most plants are ok.

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

This is what you see from the door way. Things are packed in pot-to-pot this time of year, so it's not the best way to show off my individual plants, but you can get an idea of how many cacti and succulents you can pack in a 10x12 greenhouse, if you use a shoehorn.

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Looking to the right. Most places in the greenhouse I have at least three tiers of plants. The tall gangly ugly fellow on the right is my Alluadia procera, native to Madagascar. Big Al lives on the sunny patio but has to winter inside. (Not sure what I will do as he gets taller.) He is going dormant and losing his leaves so this is not his best look.

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The ground under the benches gets packed too. Some of the big ones are on plastic lazy susans I buy at thrift stores, so I can turn them towards the light through the winter (helps them avoid getting lop-sided growth points.) Most of these are Agaves.

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It's quite a stuff job. But they love this time of year. Cool nights (I keep it around 45F) and moderate warm days. The little brown thing on the ground is a step stool I have to use, to water the top tier this time of year. I try real hard not to fall onto a table of cacti. So far so good.

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Some Echeverias, Haworthias, Gasterias, and other plants that need less light, on the north bench.

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More Gasterias, haworthias, and other shade lovers are happy under the north benches. These are rather a pain to water as I have to pull each one out to set them in the aisle, then set them back. But they are worth it, and it's relaxing for me. They are all my kids.

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I had to supplement my redwood benches with an el cheapo plastic shelving unit from Home Depot. I have no idea who keeps putting all these plants in my greenhouse but they'd better stop because I don't have any more room.

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It's getting a little ridiculous.

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My Aloe plicatilis is blooming for the first time, I'm so excited. These are winter growers, he sulks all summer on the patio, and gets happy during the winter months in the greenhouse. Found this one at Lowes a few years ago, when I went there to buy sheetrock repair mesh for a hole in a closet wall. They were out of the mesh I wanted but who cares. This was so much better. Obviously.

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Not much else blooming today, but this Neoporteria senilis has just finished up a nice show, and has a few blooms left.

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Thanks for the invite, I always enjoy peeking in other people's greenhouses.

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Mudhouse, you have a cactus/succulent museum! How do you find time to water all of those pots? Amazing show.

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

myrmayde, I'm lucky because most succulents really don't need much watering this time of year. I check about once a week because the smaller unglazed pots dry out, and some plants are winter growers and they're ready for regular winter waterings. Others are dormant and don't need much TLC.

Watering is much easier when the majority are out on the patios, for the rest of the year. When I do the winter "pack session" I just make sure I can reach any plant with a long skinny watering can spout and a little balancing act.

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Very nice! I like to see what everyone is growing. I hope to get a greenhouse this year.

Mudhouse you have a great collection! Very cool aloe!


RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Wonderfully creative use of available space! Must be very careful when working sleeveless though, LOL! Thanks for showing us how you are using your Harbor Freight greenhouse. I ended up getting another kind, but your building tips and work arounds are must reading for anyone interested in a HFG.

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Thank you ddsack. I do move kinda slowly in there. Hope you are enjoying your greenhouse!

Anyone else with a peek into your winter greenhouse?

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Just a quick question, I have this agave plant along with a basic aloe Vera plant and a few agave leaves are turning yellow, I've been picking up on the watering because of this but idk, and I barely water my aloe, but a few months ago some of its "leaves" were drying up and turning brown. It seems to be getting better though. Any tips would be appreciated, thanks again.


RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

McHaleBrent, a general rule I follow for all of my succulents (Agaves and Aloes and all) is to only water when the soil is dry. Letting them dry out between waterings helps you avoid a problem common to succulents...they will not be happy (and could rot) if overwatered.

Not sure if this is what is happening with your Agave, but it's a good rule to follow. I really don't baby my plants much. If you're not sure how wet the soil is, you can insert a wooden skewer into the pot, then pull it out, and see if the wood feels dry or moist. Also you can often tell just by the weight of the pot. Many (but not all) of my succulents want less water in the winter, so it's easy to overwater during this time of year.

I think some plants may yellow a bit in winter, but then perk up in spring, so a few yellow leaves may not be any cause for alarm this time of year.

Also fast-draining potting soil is important (these plants don't like to sit in soggy soil.) I use a very primitive mix of Miracle Gro Potting Soil, some native sand from our desert yard, and perlite from Lowes to increase drainage. Some growers would be a little horrified by my unsophisticated potting soil mix, but it has worked fine for me for years. Mostly you just want the water to be able to run through the pot pretty quickly, and you may have to craft your own mix based on what's easily available to you. There are lots of opinions about the best succulent soil mixes.

The cactus and succulent forum here is super good about helping folks with plant questions, if you get worried. Post a few pics and they'll generally chime right in with great info. They are also good with ID questions.

So, only water when dry, and use a fast draining soil mix, and that seems to resolve about 90% of my problems! Hope that helps a bit.

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Mudhouse, I am going to ask a very northern gardener type question. You are zone 8, I know but you can still get temps in the 30's maybe high 20's now and then, do you ever heat your GH, or never need to?

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

poaky1, I use two 1500 watt electric heaters, each one on a plug-in thermostat, so they run automatically when the temp falls below 45F. Some of my plants would do fine with lower temps, but the wimpy guys don't want to go much below 45.

We normally get nights in the upper teens in the winter. It's pretty rare for us to get to low teens or single digits. However, in Feb 2011, we got to 6 below zero, and that cold spell lasted days. We lost two 40' trees that couldn't take the cold (palm and eucalyptus.) Lost countless smaller plants. The little heaters hung in there, though, and the greenhouse didn't freeze.

Since that winter I have great respect for northern gardeners!

RE: May We Look into your Greenhouse?

Thank you for your input, I will cut back on the watering some, and I can't wait till I can take the agave outside. I bought it a few months ago and since then it's starting to put out 2 side shoots, and it probably needs a bigger pot. But it's really cold outside and that would be a lot of work, haha. But around April 1st I want to start heating my greenhouse because I want to grow other plants like toms and peppers, and sell some spat a sale. But hopefully it will get better when It goes outside. I always kill orchids for some reason too so I just stopped buying them, lol. But I have a ton of avocado trees and they are easy to tell about watering because the leaves will droop when they need water. Well thanks for your input.


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