A small greenhouse may be the answer for storing your tropical bonsai trees during winter … especially if you’ve gone beyond your allotted window space.
They come in many forms. There are kits for freestanding backyard types and some you can add to your home.
Many of them are do-it-yourself and come with instructions.
Gardening catalogs often have supplies such as vents, windows, and water systems.
As your tropical bonsai selections become larger (and larger), you will eventually need more space, more light, and lots more maintenance. When this happens, “room to grow” has a new meaning (unless you live in the tropics).
There are many reasons not to have a special room in your home for indoor plants. Peeling paint and wallpaper, water on the floor, and mildew are just a few potential problems!
Before you experiment, call on experts in your area for advice.
The following are some not-so-typical ways bonsai growers have managed to have a “small greenhouse.”
Dustin Mann – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dustin is the first person I knew with an exotic small greenhouse attached to his home. Before we met, he told me:
“I am the proud owner of a greenhouse purchased through Four Seasons Construction (supplier for many fast food facilities.)
I now look through the glass door wall from my living room to view my bonsai collection. State-of-the-art glass, heat reduction, motorized vents, screens, reverse osmosis water, hot water heat etc. … it’s like a Burger King but with bonsai !”
When I visited Dustin and his wife Bobbie in Michigan, we walked from the living room through glass doors into a different world.
I was amazed at his beautiful bonsai trees.
At that time, he was still doing the dance of the tropicals – in and out according to season.
Over time, Dustin discovered that the year-round low light of Ann Arbor was just not sufficient.
Then he began keeping his tropical bonsai in the small greenhouse under metal halide lights year round! The results competed with anything in a Florida bonsai nursery!
Dustin is the go-to guy when it comes to metal halide lights! If he doesn’t convince you, no one will.
Although all the above information is still good, Dustin has retired in Florida. After all those years of searching for sun, I think he’s finally found it!
Jerry Meislik – Whitefish, Montana
When Jerry retired and moved to Montana, he took what he had learned, researched some more and went all the way with an unbelievable facility for his tropical bonsai!
For me, the most interesting part, besides his beautiful bonsai, is what I read about the floor and drainage system.
If you are seriously considering expanding your indoor growing space, look at this must-read lighting article on Jerry’s site.
Carl Rosner, New Jersey – A Porch Turned Small Greenhouse
Carl, like many hobbyists, began with a few indoor plants placed by the windows of his home. Also, like most of us, a few bonsai trees became many. This is what Carl had to say about his porch turned ‘Tree House.’
“When winter hits the mid-Atlantic states, the southern storms coming up the coast pick up a lot of moisture and dump heavy snows upon the South Jersey area.
That is the time I enjoy opening the door between our living room and my ‘Tree House’ (given that name by my wife).
While the snow is piling up outside, the sight of Bougainvillea in bloom, the tiny white flowers or the hanging green and red fruit on the Fukien tea, and the jasmine aroma of drooping flowers on my Wrightia religiosa just delight the senses.
I would never give up the tropical trees, which can be enjoyed year-round. It is my tropical paradise!”