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Plants For Brilliant Profits From Your Greenhouse

Dec 14, 2007
Here are some great plants for brilliant profits from your greenhouse:

Pinks (Dianthus)

Pinks, so easily grown, and in such a wide variety of colors, are good plants for terraces, bedding, or borders. There are single and double kinds, many having a pungent, clove like scent.

Start seed in February in the cool greenhouse. Make one transplanting to 2- or 3-inch pots, or sell directly from the flats.

to purchase a mixture. From a mixture you will get shades of light lilac, rose, pink, and red.

Low-growing Dianthus deltoides has pretty small pink, scarlet, or white flowers with little fragrance. These, too, flower the second year.

China pinks (Dianthus chinensis), the rainbow or annual pinks, grow rapidly from seeds sown in March and grown in the cold greenhouse. Pot and sell from 2- or 3-inch pots or directly from flats. They are not fragrant but their single and double flowers in a wide variety of colors make up for lack of fragrance, and they bloom from seed the first year.

Fragrant-flowered Dianthus grenadina resembles the florist carnation and will produce flowers from seed the first year but is not hardy in northern gardens.

Ranunculus

These daintily flowered creepers make splendid terrace plants. The small double flowers are in shades of yellow. Ranunculus asiaticus, tuberous rooted, is one of the best. Although it can be propagated by seed, the tubers are plentiful and low priced. Pot the tubers in early January, several to a 7-inch bulb pan or flat of soil. Tubers should be planted about 1 inch below the soil surface. Grow them in the cool greenhouse, or cold frame. When strong new growth shows, pot them in 2- or 3-inch pots of soil.

Stonecrops--Sedutn and Sempervivum

Most terracing includes steps, ledges, or a retaining wall of stone, brick, or cement. Often the retaining wall is not a complete one. It may be of slender stone slabs wedged into the soil with spaces left between the slabs. For the gardener who wantschoice, long-lasting material to add interest to any of these terrace features, suggest that he plant stone crops.

They have thick foliage in shades of gray, green, and rose-tinted green; attractive growth patterns (rosettes, fernlike spires, and slender trailing stems); a bonus of interesting flowers, and the ability to grow in poor soil.

You can grow these from seed, giving them the same culture recommended for cactus (page 191). However, the plants of most varieties are reasonably priced and the owner of a small greenhouse may find it more profitable to purchase them in lots of 50 or 100 and retail them. Among my favorite sedums are S. acre, S. album, S. reflexum chameleon, and S. spurium.

Hen-and-chickens is one of the most popular sempervivums. This one, a low-growing gray-green rosette, sends out tiny plants in such abundance it would seem, indeed, to be an old mother hen and her chicks. Cobweb is another attractive sem-pervivum. Gray-green, hairy leaves joined together by a lacy web, plus red flowers, make this an excellent choice for the terrace.

Tuberous Begonias

You can't beat tuberous-rooted begonias for growing in shady areas of the terrace. It's easy to see why they are called mocking-bird flower, for the blossoms come in shapes resembling roses, gardenias, camellias, and carnations. The colors are gorgeous, including pure white, all shades of yellow and orange, pink, rose, and red.

If this is your first year with tuberous begonias, you may want to start by offering mature tubers, started in pots. The tubers are reasonably priced--the domestics from California cost more than the imports, but they're usually larger and firmer.
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