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Thread: Greenhouse cooling

  1. #1

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    I plan on building a small greenhouse that will roughly be 8' x 8' in size. I'm mainly interested in growing Nepenthes. Temps here in Lakeland in the summer are on average 95F during the day and 75F at night. From what I hear lowlanders would have no problem but highlanders would. How would I cool a greenhouse here at night (say to 60F - 65F) for highlanders? From what I've read the humidity is so high here (especially at night) that a swamp cooler would not be effective. What other options do I have? Does anyone grow highland Nepenthes in Florida in a greenhouse?

    Chris

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    A Cajun(isc) Carnivore CP30's Avatar
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    Be very careful - the temp inside your greenhouse can climb MUCH higher than the outside temp, especially in a smaller greenhouse. I found this out the hard way last spring in southern Louisiana!! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_h_32.gif[/img]

    I have since scrapped the greenhouse and simply keep my neps partly shaded outdoors in the spring/summer/fall. The lowlanders are outside most of that time, many of the highlanders came in to a terrarium in the AC. I have read much success with this method - my plants loved it. If you have the heat and humidity naturally, why a greenhouse?
    All proofs inevitably lead to propositions that have no proof. All things are known because we want to believe in them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (cstriker @ Dec. 29 2005,8:41)]I plan on building a small greenhouse that will roughly be 8' x 8' in size. I'm mainly interested in growing Nepenthes. Temps here in Lakeland in the summer are on average 95F during the day and 75F at night. From what I hear lowlanders would have no problem but highlanders would. How would I cool a greenhouse here at night (say to 60F - 65F) for highlanders? From what I've read the humidity is so high here (especially at night) that a swamp cooler would not be effective. What other options do I have? Does anyone grow highland Nepenthes in Florida in a greenhouse?

    Chris
    Air conditioning?

    Maybe Trent does, he's in Florida too.

  4. #4
    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    I personally wouldn't try any true highlanders. Plants like N. ventricosa, N. maxima, N. ramispina, and hybrids might be ok. Also, keep in mind there are species with both lowland and highland forms, like N. maxima, and N. veitchii, if you may not be able to grow a highland form, you could most certainly aim for a lowland plant of almost the same "look". For your cooling solution, I cannot offer a true sure fire solution as I do not live in Florida and am not aware of an effective and relatively cheap method to cool your enclosure for highland temperatures, without much investment and equipment.

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    I figure I'd need a greenhouse for winters. While it doesn't snow it does get down into the 30F at night during the winter. This would kill lowlanders from what I've read. I really like the look of lowii and ephippiata and would love to try to grow these.

    Chris

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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    N. lowii would be a good choice if you could provide days at max 85F nights of high humidity and around at least 55F.




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    cstriker-

    As NG has suggested there is no real "cheap" method of cooling your GH at night without the use of an air conditioning unit. But there are some alternatives. First and foremost you must begin with keeping the day temps at a reasonable level. The cooler your days the better your chance of keeping night temps moderated.

    The first thing I would start with is shading. Stay away from shade cloth. Most shade cloth is made in dark colors and dark colors attract heat. If you have to use shade cloth it is advised to build a framing system where the panels can be suspended abve the roof a minimum of 8-10 inches. The higher the better. You may also want to consider white washing the glazing...which IMO is the best option. The whiter the outside surface...the cooler the temps will remain since lighter colors reflect heat away. Do not worry about the prospect of decreased light to the plants from the use of white wash as they do not need to be in full sunlight. 50% to 70% shading would still offer your plants plenty of light to grow well seeing as the sun is so intense in your area to begin with.

    You will also need a constant supply of fresh air intake and an exhaust system both working simultaneously. It is best to locate the fresh air intake at ground level (on the shadiest end of the GH) and the air exhaust system should be located on the opposite end wall located as close to the roof as possible where the heat accumulates.

    You may also want to grow your highland plants as close to the ground in your GH as is possible. This is where the coolest temps will reside. They should also be in the vicinity of the fresh air intake system because at night the air will be cooler here than it will be at the other end of the GH.

    If Cliff Dodd was a member here he could be a huge help. He grows many highland Nepenthes in his greenhouses in Florida...but I "think" he uses air conditioning at night. Don't quote me on this though.

    If all else fails and you can't cool your system enough you can grow your ultra highlanders under lights in your basement...provided you have a basement and can accomodate an artificial light growing setup.

    Best of luck to you and do let us know how you progress with your project and what devices you employ.

    Phil

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    Basement in Florida... swimming pool. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img]
    There's a tunnel at the end of the light...

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