Adventures in Greenhouse Growing

Last year was my first year attempting to start native plant indoors from seed.  I learned a little and seem to be having more success this year.  We have transplanted at least 1000 pollinator plants into the greenhouse from the lab where they germinated.  We are growing several species of milkweed which we purchased from various online seed sources.

  • Asclepias tuberosa
  • Asclepias viridis
  • Asclepias speciosa
  • Asclepias syriaca
  • Asclepias curassavica (not native and is being used for research on influence of this species on fall monarch migration – see future posts!)

We are growing a number of nectar sources too:

  • Blazing star (Liatris species)
  • Sunflower/aster species (probably Symphyotrichum species)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago species)
  • Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)
  • Cowpen Daisy (Verbesina encelioides)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda citriodora)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea species)

Most of these native nectar plants were collected locally, but the coneflower and one of the Liatris species and one Monarda was purchased.

We are also planning to incorporate a few non-natives that are good nectar sources – Zinnias, Siberian Wallflower, and Geraniums.

This year we are keeping a close eye on the plants to avoid a spider mite infestation.  We have treated a few plants this week with insecticidal soap.  We hope to move them outside before the problem gets worse.  Closely inspecting the plants we also spotted other fauna enjoying our little microhabitat!


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