Things are growing in the greenhouse

With only 2 weeks of spring left, the garden is finally beginning to look good. Everything has leafed out, flowers are showing up, and I’ve finally had to water a few things. I still haven’t had to water the lawn yet though!

This part of the year is when I get to appreciate big leaves. Of course things will be better the further into the growing season we get, but the first new big leaves of the year are a welcome sight. In the greenhouse, things are really starting to put on growth.

Hedychium coronarium (White Butterfly Ginger) is hardy outside, but grows even better in the greenhouse. Quite a few of my greenhouse plants are “insurance plants”, to prevent a complete loss of landscape plants in the event of a killer winter.


Opuntia fragilis, a WA native cactus that I picked up a few years ago. This year I put a little bit of Osmocote in the pot, and it has decided to put out a bunch of new pads in return.

No flowers this year, unfortunately.

In the greenhouse, the desert bed I made is doing well. I stacked flat rocks about 18 inches high, and filled the bed with super fast draining media and mycorrhizae. Even though it has only been 6 weeks, I can already see that things are growing.

Aloe striata (Coral Aloe) is special, so it gets it’s own little bed. With time, this stemless aloe will fill in this spot nicely.

In another corner of the desert bed, I upgraded the Schizobasis intricata from bonsai pot to this super-bed. It loves it, and the heat that the greenhouse provides. Once it gets bigger, I’m hoping the crazy hairdo it has will cascade down the rocks on the side of the bed.

Out of the desert bed and into the ground, there are lots of big leaves showing up. There are bananas, gingers, colocasias, and a few other oddballs. So far I have been sticking to a few basic types of plants.

This banana is probably Musa ‘Rojo’, but it was sold as Musa ‘Raja Puri’. We’ll see whether it ends up being a blood banana or not. I think that’s probably what it is.

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ (Red Abyssinian Banana) is pushing out nice red leaves, that dwarf everything else in the greenhouse. The leaves have been getting more and more green though, and I think that has something to do with the temperatures getting warmer.


Phormium tenax (New Zealand Flax) is happy, and dripping with nectar. I don’t think any hummingbirds (or bees for that matter) have ventured into the greenhouse yet. I keep the door open in the hopes that something might fly in and give these plants a try. It’s just ants so far.

Colocasia esculenta (Taro) bulbs are cheap, and easy to find most grocery stores around here. It turns out that they are also a great elephant ear to have as a landscape plant. Especially in a greenhouse. They have massive leaves!

Alpinia purpurata (Red Ginger) loves the heat and humidity of the greenhouse. I kept it as a houseplant before the greenhouse, and it survived well enough. As soon as it went in the ground in the greenhouse, it started getting much bigger and fuller. It is still about a foot tall, so I wonder whether it is the dwarf version.


The Coffea arabica (plain old coffee… ha!) trees are doing very well. They have big, dark green, glossy leaves and several new branches each. In the last month they have put on nearly 6 inches of height each, nearly doubling their size. I’m sure it’ll be a few years before I get beans off of them though. I can dream.

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