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Thread: Greenhouse pros and cons

  1. #1

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    I'm considering building a greenhouse or some sort of enclosure for next years growing season but before I spend the cash to do so, I'd like to seek some of your opinions or advice on how growing my CPs in a greenhouse can be better/worse than simply growing them outside. Any advice on size or style to build? I have a smaller CP collection at the moment but I hope to expand that by quite a bit in the future. A lot of plants I've seen on this site that are greenhouse grown look very healthy and a bit 'cleaner' (my VFTs look like a bug graveyard) but I like to learn more on the pros and cons of greenhouse growing.

  2. #2
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    I've never had a greenhouse (I wish I did), but I'll try getting the ball rolling with a few pros/cons versus growing outside without one:

    Pros:

    1. Your plants will likely be better protected from heavy winds and rains, as well as animal wildlife.

    2. It'll probably give you more space to grow your CPs than on windowsills, railings and balconies.

    3. If it works, it'll make you feel really good as you walk into a room filled with healthy CPs.

    Cons:

    1. Cost, construction, maintnance. Although these can be mitigated by the smaller, easy-to-install greenhouses that come partially prefabricated.

    2. Unless you live in a warm climate or intend to build a cold-house, you'll have to contend with winter. This means heating the greenhouse which can be quite costly and risky (God forbid the heating fails). Alternatively, you could bring all the plants indoors, but you'd need an equivalent amount of space and adequate indoor lighting.

    3. It's actually harder to control some environmental conditions in a greenhouse relative to outdoors. Rule of thumb is that a larger enclosure has more stable environmental conditions than a smaller enclosure (e.g., outdoors > greenhouse > terrarium). So you'de have to make sure the plants don't bake in the summer or get pest infestations due to overcrowding.

    I'm sure other members who have actual experience with greenhouse growing can come up with better and more detailed information. Hope this helps.
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

  3. #3
    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    Pros
    large growing area
    relatively inexpensive to build the structure if its a hoops style (metal loops)
    sell you excess plants
    experience

    Cons
    expensive to maintain, heat, water, cooling, etc.
    you'll buy more plants!
    space
    worry about your plants when its hot or cold out

  4. #4
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Pro:
    You can alter the growing environment to best suit the plants you want to grow.

    Con:
    The greater the degree of altering the more it cost!
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  5. #5

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    Great information and many thanks. I will be primarily growing Sarracenia and Dionaea (I look forward to expanding the collection [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img]). I plan on bringing my plants indoors for a dormancy period so hopefully fighting cold wouldn't be an issue, however, my biggest concern would be to not 'cook' the plants, especially if we continue to get this hot Western New York weather in future seasons. Is there any difference in appearance, growth rate, plant health for plants grown in a greenhouse as opposed to plant grown strictly outdoors?

  6. #6
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Since your in western NY, I don't think I would bother with a full blown greenhouse if your only growing Sarracenia and Dionaea and not planning to run tropical through the Winter months. The best looking Sarracenia and Dionaea I see from pics are the ones grown outdoors. They really do want lots and lots of sun and running a greenhouse without much shade cloth poses great difficulty with heat buildup.

    I would be more tempted to utilize it as a cold frame structure to lengthen the growing season from early Spring to early Winter. Still alot of work though to design and opperate for genera that are just as happy sitting outdoors exposed to the elements.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  7. #7
    RL7836's Avatar
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    Hi Tony,
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Since your in western NY, I don't think I would bother with a full blown greenhouse if your only growing Sarracenia and Dionaea and not planning to run tropical through the Winter months. The best looking Sarracenia and Dionaea I see from pics are the ones grown outdoors.
    This is also what I've read repeatedly but my own experience in central NJ differs. 90% of my inground bog-grown VFTs died overwintering. The ones that did survive typically did not survive through the summer (too weak). I tried multiple mulching methods (including no mulch one year and an insulated frame another year). I was never able to locate a good supply of pine needles. If I had them, I would try it again.

    OTOH Sarracenia were fine outside in the bog - rarely lost any of them. If I did, it was usually due to critter damage.
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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  8. #8
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Eh? sorry was not my intention to imply they should be overwintered outdoors. I wouldn't even risk Sarracenia to outdoor overwintering, much less the VFT.

    So that leads to the difficult decision how to handle a large Sarracenia collection in a climate where the Winters are risky for outdoor dormancy.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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