What’s In Your Home Greenhouse?

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Here is August, with sizzling sunshine and buzzing cicadas. While some greenhouse fans are fumigating and painting to make ready for the next season, some maintain a jungle atmosphere all summer for their tropical exotics. 

With some shade and high humidity, many plants grow well even with high temperatures. These include anthurium, crinum, hibiscus, fuchsia, begonia, hedychium, orchid, and the magnificent Haemanthus Katherinae.

Home GreenhousePin

The all-around gardener is now quite busy in his greenhouse and workroom. It is the time to make cuttings of many plants. 

The woody ones, including azalea, daphne, ilex, and rhododendron, go outdoors into the cold frame or polyethylene propagating tent. 

Tender plants such as geraniums can best be rooted indoors. This early start gives them time to make good growth before winter’s short days check growth.

Coot-house Plants

Many coot-house plants are started now from seeds sown in flats and placed in a shaded cold frame. Flats are brought indoors when the weather cools, and seedlings are then potted. 

Some of these cool-weather outdoor annuals will bloom very soon after being brought into the greenhouse: 

  • Calendula
  • Stock
  • Annual chrysanthemum
  • Cobaea scandens
  • Beautiful cathedral bell vine
  • Trachymene coerulea, the blue lace flower 

Many of these justify indoor culture since they produce flowers over a long period.

Other seeds to be sown now include the tender primulas—Primula malacoides, P. sinensis, and P. obconica. 

Also cineraria, calceolaria, and cyclamen—the latter taking 18 months from the time of sowing until plant flowers.

Dreaming about a greenhouse?

Poinsettias that have spent the summer in a sunny spot outdoors are cut back at this time and given a little extra food and water. In contrast, there is some difference of opinion on where to cut. 

It seems best to cut back to a couple of strong eyes on the heavy growth that has formed during the present season. Fortunately, this euphorbia is a tropical succulent and will stand rough treatment.

Dreaming About A Greenhouse?

This is a good time to make it a reality for next winter. If you already own a greenhouse and know someone who is considering one, help him with your experience to decide on the details.

Repairs and Alterations

Repairs and alterations should be attended to. Painting the greenhouse sash bars is an amazing aerial operation. 

However, after having seen it done once by professionals, with roofers’ brackets and a plank, I could do the job myself. 

Just as I thought it was about time to graduate from this job, I persuaded a fine agile young aerialist to install aluminum capping with a special filler compound. 

A conscientious house painter painted the aluminum caps in my absence, and it looks like my maintenance in that direction will be zero for some time despite exposure to the corrosive ocean mists. 

If you are considering a new greenhouse, consider aluminum carefully, as it will save you expenses in the future.

White Ginger Lily

The fragrant white ginger lily, Hedychium coronarium, is in its glory this month. In its native Hawaii, it is used for leis. 

It is not so showy as it’s relative to the flaming red torch-ginger but a favorite with those who grow it.


From a creeping, branching rhizome, like a huge canna root, come head-high “corn” stalks. 

In summer and fall, these are topped by a cone-like scaly green bud, a generous hen’s egg size, which pops out the fragrant white flowers. They appear in a ring or head, giving the species its name coronarium, or crown. 

The individual flowers have a narrow tube a couple of inches long and a butterfly-like flat face resembling a white orchid. 

While their life is short on the plant and shorter if pulled from the cluster, the sweet fragrance stays with the flowers until they are dry. 

The crown-like cluster is replenished daily until the two or three buds behind each scale have opened. The delicious fragrance makes one take a deep breath when entering the greenhouse.

Hedychium Gardnerianum

Hedychium Gardnerianum has smaller yellow flowers with red anthers and reminds me of Habenaria, the Northern fringed orchid. 

This hedychium is seen in tropical gardens along with several other species but I have never been induced to pack any of them into my tiny crowded greenhouse.

44659 by Victor Greiff