First post: Empty heated greenhouse...any 'wow' plant ideas?

gardengrove_ac(z6 MD)November 26, 2005

Hey everyone,

My name is Nathan...I've been a long term lurker on these forums and finally decided to post...anyway, I'm currently the sole individual in charge of caring for my college's greenhouse (You have to love Federal work study) took about two months for me to turn around the six months of neglect and overwatering on the plants and now I'm looking for ideas (or maybe seed, specimen swaps) that would look good in a heated, professional greenhouse with 70 degree temps and the humidity around botany teacher wants me to be his workstudy for the next three semesters so I'm looking for some long term projects...I was thinking a brugmansia would look gorgous, but I refuse to pay nursery prices for plants that should be cheap or free anyway...if anyone has any ideas of what might look good or if you just wanta exchange idea write me back.



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gardengranma(6a/6b MD)

Hi Nathan: Brugmansia are a great idea. You could start cuttings pretty quickly with the set up that is suggested in a thred called "Bucket of Brugs" in the Brugmansia Forum. I am sure you can get quite a few cuttings from those in warmer climates (mine are all in the basement). Ask for cuttings from woody stems rather than soft green ones, much easier to start. You should have a nice blooming crop by early next summer. I'll be happy to send some cuttings in the Spring. I have all my potted plants in a small lean to greenhouse, works for me. Another nice crop could be cannas. I find starting pots from tubers or cuttings easier than from seeds because I don't have enough time and energy in the winter to cope with seeds. That will have to wait until I retire. Another good winter crop might be Christmas cacti. You'll need to have a cheap source for soil, fertilizer, pots, and pesticide (in a greenhouse, I'd consider organic, or as close to organic as you can get). May be your extension service has something to offer. Depending where you are in Maryland, you could also check with some of the historic farms, they may have good sources, and leaf mold from one of the dumps (You'll need friends who help to load and unload, and a truck, I suppose). The possibilities are endless. Good luck from GardenGranma. That reminds me, you may also want to come to the swap in May for free plants and wonderful rooten manuer from Professor/Dr. Dirt. He can probably give you loads of advice too.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 5:30PM
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gardengrove_ac(z6 MD)

I forgot to mention I'm stationed in Cumberland, MD...I'm all for attending the spring swap, there's nothing like meeting other frugal gardeners. The greenhouse already had a few holiday cactus and they had a great show a few weeks ago but it only lasted a few days...the greenhouse already has a lot of the standards; rubber trees, ficus, split-leaf philo, ferns, palms, crown of thorns, succulents,begonias,dracanea etc. My professor and I both have a lot of interest in ethnobotany so I've been adding herbs and tropical plants that are a little more interesting...the beautiful thing about this greenhouse is that depending on where you place your pots you can germanate or root just about anything in a few weeks...but with a little luck I hope to get some really spectacular plants growing....

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 7:59PM
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Wow! sorry no real ideas but just to say do I ever envy you the use of that greenhouse. Have a ball. A little late now but you could do tomatoes for the table and the most beautiful thing I love to see bloom in the winter are gladiolus. There is just something about them at that time of year that makes them so special. Let us know what you come up with and post a pic or two. Steve in Baltimore

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 9:08AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Oh what a wonderful opportunity you have. Have you thought of sending a mass e-mail to east coast arboretums? They tend to have a wealth of information and may be open to sending you seeds. Good luck Katy

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 4:10PM
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I have loads of canna seeds--do you want for SASBE?--Susan

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 6:51PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

I second (or is it third) brugmansia. Want to keep my yellow one for the winter?

How about going for some plumeria? Maybe one of the tropical forum people would have a cutting to donate. They root extremely easily from a stick.

In the short term, why not grow herbs that are pretty, smell good, and grow fast. You could provide simple signage explaining their use. For example, I expect you could get seeds for sages (culinary and ornamental) with an appeal to the seed exchange forum, herb forum or the sage forum. Gardeners are pretty generous with cuttings and seeds, if you ask for specific items.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 8:20AM
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