Saturday, December 11, 2010


For a tropical gardener, the least favorite number in the world is 32. Why? Because it spells the difference between life and death for many tropical plants. Or, it means the top dies back and the plant has to start over from the roots. This can take an entire summer; just in time for it to die again in the next winter!
            I'm lucky. I have a greenhouse. I built it last year after my wife said NO MORE PLANTS in the HOUSE. And I agree. Bringing in 50 or so potted plants into our sunroom every week or so was terrible. And I have back aches just thinking about it.
It's not much, but I will fill it tonight. Even the chair will have plants on it. The plastic you see is a second layer I put inside the greenhouse. I keep it around 40 degrees and don't want to spend a lot of money on heat. It is TOO expensive. I use just common light bulbs in lamps to keep it above freezing. The clear greenhouse roof also faces the south so that the sun shines on it all day. With the door closed, it can get up to 70 while it is 50 outside. I only use the light bulbs if it is going to go below 32 for that night. That's between 1 and 10 times a winter here in Metro Houston (Central).

                      The greenhouse floor is made with live oak leaves from the Spring.
Inside the greenhouse at night

Outside on a cold night.


  1. I identify with you on so many levels right now! Oh, and my fiance is pretty tired of all the plants in the living room right now... it just won't stay warm enough out there! I especially want to let YOU know that I'm hosting a new blog carnival all about epiphytes at my blog... oh, and there's plants to win too! By the way, what kinds of bromeliads do you have?

  2. What a great idea to use the oak leaves as mulch! I'm playing catchup on other blogs, think I've read all your posts. E-mail me at and we'll try to figure out a time for you to stop by!


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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