7 Tips for Growing Tropical Plants in a Greenhouse

Palm tree - tropical plants

Want the beauty of the tropics in your own garden? You can have it… but it’ll take some work. Tropical plants need warmth, sunlight, moisture… a pretty high maintenance bunch we might say. And given winter’s cold, dry environment, those needs are not easy ones to deliver, unless growing inside a well-maintained greenhouse. But by doing proper research into the unique needs of the plants you wish to grow and with proper maintenance, you’ll find it is possible to grow tropical vegetation in a greenhouse. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started.

Move plants around – Take special note of which plants need sunlight or shade. Make use of trays that will allow you to shift your plants throughout the garden greenhouse as necessary while allowing for proper water drainage. Also remember that some tropical crops, like the ficus, palms, or banana trees, need plenty of space to grow.

Maintain proper temperatures and air flow – Tending to tropical plants in a greenhouse requires special attention to the necessary growing temperatures and the required air flow to keep the air moist without growing molds. This is challenging to manage as you need to keep the greenhouse at a certain temperature—generally between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit while never dropping below 40 degrees—while also providing satisfactory air circulation.

Rainforest environment – A mister system may also come in handy to keep your tropical vegetation at the correct humidity and maintain the required rainforest environment.

Consistent watering – Growing tropical plants in the greenhouse will also take consistent watering. Generally, every other day, though watering needs will depend on the kind of plants you’re growing. Here it is vital that you pay attention to your garden greenhouse temperatures and how rapidly it takes for your soil to dry. Higher temperatures mean soil should be watered more often to take care of a moist growing medium.

Clean plants – Keep plants thoroughly clean. Manage them properly by trimming lifeless material and inspecting them for pests. Handle these problems quickly to prevent them from scattering disease to other plants in the greenhouse. Molds can be an especially challenging problem when trying to grow tropical plants in a greenhouse and should be eradicated quickly when seen.

Lighting – Try several different lighting options in your garden greenhouse. Some tropical plants favor artificial or indirect lighting, and some are great with the filtered natural light produced by greenhouse panels. Do your homework before selecting various species of tropical plants to identify a combination that works best in your greenhouse garden.

There’s a lot to manage when raising tropical plants in a greenhouse environment, but the incentive in the long run will be the total satisfaction that comes with growing lovely plants that you don’t typically see in cold weather conditions.

This article was republished from Greenhouse Gardening.
image: Rafael Godoy (Creative Commons BY-ND)
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