Queens Botanical Garden’s greenhouse is packed full of plants and activity this time of year.
Our working greenhouse is used solely by staff to prepare plants for the growing season and a small section that contains some specialty plants to educate school groups.
Curious to learn more?
All of our tropical plants are riding out the cold weather in a special section of the greenhouse. Plants such as, bird of paradise, banana, variegated ginger, and rubber tree will be moved outside come early summer to be replanted into the Tropical Bed (located at the corner of Main Street and Blossom Avenue).
Cuttings are harvested from tender perennials, such as coleus, geranium, and begonias for propagation. Come March, gardeners will receive some extra help from the students of John Bowne High School as QBG hosts a number of students for their work-site placements. These students play an important role in propagating all these cuttings, but they also will learn valuable horticultural techniques from professional gardeners.
A number of our annuals are grown from seed, such as petunias, zinnias, marigolds, pansies, globe amaranth, and more. Come May all these annuals and tender perennials are moved outside for hardening before planting. Hardening is the process of acclimating plants to a new temperature by gently introducing them them to new environment for short periods of time. This process is crucial, because without gradual acclimating, plants could die from shock soon after being planted in the ground!
There is a whole section of the greenhouse devoted to educational programming with school groups and teachers.
It houses tropical orchids and cacti, for teaching students about various plant adaptions; sprouted avocado pits and coconuts, for demonstrating how food is connected to nature; and a collection of marigolds, corn, beans, and sunflowers that students get to plant and take home.
Our Gardening Programs for Kids staff also use the greenhouse to start vegetables that campers in Children’s Garden | Sponsored by HSBC will get to plant, care for, or harvest. Right now, hardy spring vegetables that can handle the colder temperatures are getting started. Yummy leeks, lettuce, kale, and cabbage will be ready for planting this spring.