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What's Growing in the Greenhouse (July, Zone 6b)


Shade cloth in greenhouse

It’s mid-July and the greenhouse is in it’s prime - it feels colorful and lush when I walk inside and the plants have filled out nicely. Each year the mix of plants in here changes; I find new things to try or I find something on clearance that I wouldn’t have normally purchased. Of course, I always have my list of “must-haves”, and that list grows each year.


My greenhouse is an outdoor living space for me where I can relax, putter away taking care of plants, and work on garden projects. By the end of Summer, I’ve accumulated a mix of plants that’s a surprise and ends up different every year. In other words, I have no grand plan at the beginning of Spring!


Now that it’s July, here’s what’s growing in my greenhouse in Zone 6b.


Petunias

Deep purple and deep red petunias are one of my must-haves. I love the burst of color and the way they cascade over the sides of the tables. To keep them from drying out, I usually set the pots in a tray and water from the bottom as well as the top. Sometimes I pinch them back so they get bushier and sometimes I don’t. They do well even though they are in partial shade.


Bougainvillea

Bright pink bougainvillea is also one of my must-haves. They remind me of tropical, sunny spots and I think they’re unique and beautiful. I give it one of the sunniest spots in the greenhouse for the best color. It doesn’t need watered every day and responds best to periodic deep watering.


Mandevilla

I’ll take any color of these gorgeous flowering vines! I always have them on my deck and am trying one inside my greenhouse this year. It also needs one of the sunniest spots in the greenhouse. Sun and regular watering is pretty much all this plant needs to look its best.


Nasturtiums

I think nasturtiums are just delightful. I love the shape of their leaves, the way the plant cascades, and the way it bounces in a breeze. I have five plants scattered around the greenhouse, but they seem particular about where they thrive. I’ve moved them around to find the place in the sun where they seem happiest. They don’t like to get too dry, so I try to check on them frequently.

Pelargoniums

These are my new favorite plant and I can’t wait to propagate them! These will be getting a whole post dedicated to them in the future. They’re often confused with geraniums and share similar characteristics. The biggest visual difference is that pelargoniums have unevenly spaced flower petals, with two on top and three on bottom. Mine is covered with little pink flowers. Here’s why I love them: they’re very pretty, always look good (they never droop!), can handle drought, and they smell great. Apparently there are many different scents, and mine smell like lemon.


Ferns

With my greenhouse being in partial shade, it’s a perfect microclimate for ferns and I take advantage of that. They love the shade and the humidity, and they’re also one of the last plants to die in the Fall. I usually purchase several and I feel like I really get my money’s worth since they last so long. These also get discounted around the 4th of July so that’s when I buy most of them. While I love all ferns, I usually get the standard Kimberly Ferns at the nurseries. They’re hardy, big, and reasonably priced. I pick up other varieties if I find a good deal.

Sweet Potato Vine

I like these for their interesting leaves and of course their cascading vines. They fill in spaces between plants and make the tables feel nice and full.


Caladiums

Also a must-have, the time to get these (at least in my area) is around the 4th of July, when they get marked down. I just picked up three for very reasonable prices and I’m excited to finally have them. I look forward to their big, colorful leaves every year. They like the shadier areas and don’t like to dry out. I both bottom water and top water these.


Coleus

These come in so many different colors (the leaves) and I usually pick up 3-5 of them. They’re pretty and work as nice filler plants on the tables. I need to start pinching them back in the Spring so they get nice and bushy.


I have a few other random plants around the greenhouse, but the ones above make up the majority. As I mentioned, my greenhouse is in partial shade, so I choose plants that will do well in that environment.


You may have noticed that most of these are annuals (in Zone 6b) and won’t make it through Winter. I don’t heat my greenhouse, so I'll let some of these die and I'll bring some inside.


Happy gardening!

 

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