New York has one of the largest numbers of greenhouses in the U.S. at about 400. Greenhouses offer a more controlled environment than a regular outdoor garden. Do you have a greenhouse? Are you wondering what types of plants grow best in a greenhouse environment? Read more to learn more about the best greenhouse plants and when to grow them.
Warm Season Vegetables
Almost everyone loves a fresh-grown summer tomato. Are the temperatures in your greenhouse between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (F)? Great! Cucumbers, squash, peppers, and tomatoes will thrive.
Did you know there are two kinds of cucumbers? They're slicing and pickling. Slicing cucumbers are about 8 inches in length. Pickling cucumbers only reach about 4 inches.
Cucumbers grow on vines that spread. Make sure to give them room or train them to a trellis.
Tomatoes do best in full sun. Place the tomatoes in the sunniest part of your greenhouse. The same goes for peppers. It's obvious when to harvest tomatoes. Peppers are a little trickier.
Grasp the pepper without squeezing or pulling. If the pepper's on the plant too long, it'll feel soggy. If it feels thin, it's not yet ripe.
The summer varieties of squash include zucchini, crook-neck, straight-neck, and scallop.
Cold Season Vegetables
When the nights grow chilly, it's time for the cold season crops. Think lettuce, carrots, peas, broccoli, and spinach. Grow lettuce when temperatures are between 45 and 65 F.
Cool moist conditions are best for lettuce. But a light frost won't kill the seedlings. Lettuce loves the sun but also tolerates a little shade. Harvest lettuce when the head appears full size.
If you wait too long to harvest, the lettuce becomes bitter tasting.
Broccoli is an easy-to-grow vegetable. It's nutritious and delicious! Broccoli is a great source of protein, low in fat and cholesterol and full of vitamins. Broccoli is great for an anti-inflammatory diet.
Steam broccoli for about four minutes to reap the most nutritional benefits.
Peas also do well in a cool climate. Plant them as soon as the soil is at least 45 F. Eat garden peas raw in a salad or by themselves. If you love stir-fry, then grow snow peas too.
Don't forget the carrots. Carrots do well in moderate to cool weather. They tolerate chilly nights, though extreme lows are a problem. These hardy vegetables are great for soups.
Spinach is another great greenhouse plant. When the leaves are mature, harvest and cook immediately.
Fruit works great in the greenhouse as well. Grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits thrive in the greenhouse environment. And don't forget raspberries. Berries grow best in the warm seasons.
Citrus fruit also does well in the summer. Berries and citrus are also full of nutrition and fiber.
Herbs and Spices
When you're cooking up your veggies, there's nothing better than some homegrown spices to throw in the pot. Parsley, cilantro, and coriander are a few tasty spices to grow in the greenhouse.
Parsley and other spices grow in temperatures around 70 F. Plant them about 6-8 inches apart in moist, rich soil. These spices are great thrown in soups. You can also dry them to keep for later.
Ornamental Greenhouse Plants
Many beautiful ornamental plants also grow well in the greenhouse. You can grow them in the greenhouse and then transplant them outside, sell them, or give them to your friends as gifts.
Geraniums are beautiful and grow well in the greenhouse. Geraniums need potting soil that's well drained and moist. They grow best in temperatures of about 65-70 F during the day. At night, the temperature should be around 55 F.
Geraniums are easygoing. Keep the soil moist, but not too wet. Fertilize them every four to six weeks with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
Impatiens are another greenhouse favorite. These hardy little flowering plants grow well in the shade. Impatiens need lots of water. They're very sensitive and wilt as soon as they need a drink.
If you transplant the impatiens outside, put them in a shady spot. Use a hole that's as wide and deep as their rootball. Make sure you don't put soil above the level the soil was when the plant was in its pot.
If temperatures rise above 85 F, impatiens need four inches of water a week. Fertilize them on a regular basis every two weeks.
The coleus plant is easy to grow and comes in a stunning array of colors. The green, yellow, pink, and maroon leaves are perfect for beds and borders. Coleus plants also have interesting spiky blooms.
Feel like you don't have a green thumb? Try a coleus. Keep them moist, especially in containers. Coleus does not like cold weather.
Salvia plants are also known as sage. They come in varieties with purple and yellow blooms that attract butterflies. If your greenhouse has part sun and part shade try salvia.
Don't overwater salvia plants. Although different varieties have different requirements, most like to dry out between watering. After the spiky blooms die, remove them. This encourages more blooms.
Poinsettias are a popular Christmas flower. These plants are picky when it comes to growing conditions. That's why they're great greenhouse plants. They'll bloom during the holidays.
Poinsettias like bright, but indirect, sunlight. They also thrive in humidity and semi-cool conditions. Give them plenty of water. Make sure there's proper drainage. Poinsettias get root rot if left in saucers of water.
If you're tempted to fertilize, don't do it while the plants are in full bloom. Only fertilize poinsettias if you keep them after the holidays.
Petunias bloom in bright purples and pinks. They love the hot summer. Put them in the sunny part of your greenhouse. Fertilize them once a week with a water-soluble fertilizer. Remove spent blooms.
Enjoy Your Greenhouse Plants
Greenhouse plants are fun, delicious, and beautiful. There are plenty to choose from.
With proper care, you'll have year-round vegetables and beautiful ornamentals. These plants grow great in the greenhouse and transplant well to your outdoor garden too.
Follow the requirements for each type of plant regarding soil, water, and sun and enjoy watching your plants thrive.
Find the perfect greenhouse plants and get started here.