“If it’s cold, I’ll just keep my plants in the garage”…. We can’t tell you how many times we hear this every season in our sales greenhouse and then the next question we are asked is, “Why aren’t my plants doing well? I brought them in when it was cold.”
The answer is: Garages aren’t greenhouses.
When plants spend large amounts of time in a garage and then do when poor weather sets in, they develop what we call “Garage Syndrome”. So what is garage syndrome? Garage syndrome happens when a plant spends too much time in a hostile environment – a hostile environment being one that does not provide the ingredients it needs to survive – it languishes and begins to get ill. In a greenhouse the environment is optimal: it’s sunny, the ambient light is adequate on cloudy days, the climate is controlled, and the watering and fertilization meet metabolic requirements. From the greenhouse, plants are moved outside to where environment and temperatures can change at a moment’s notice and if it gets too cold, they are put into a dark garage, heated or unheated. Even inside a home is challenging because being in a static heated or unheated environment sets off alarm bells.
When this happens for multiple days, everything changes for the plant –
– Sunlight is cut off or reduced, causing plants to stretch as it searches for sunlight. Leaves (foliage) start to turn yellow, and generally they stop blooming.
– Water and fertilizer requirements change – because of reduced sunlight exposure, plants need less water and fertilizer and as a general rule, get water logged in a dark environment.
Additionally, when plants are continually being moved in and out of the garage or other type of environment, the inconsistency of the back and forth are hard on its metabolic systems and they just don’t thrive.
Our suggestion is to let the greenhouse grow it until it is time to put it your surroundings. We know that items do get sold out, so our counsel to our customers is to buy the things you can’t live without and let us take care of the plant products that you are more flexible about. There are some fun new interesting alternatives growing in our greenhouses that we’d love to show you – Who knows? You may find your new favorite that you can’t live without next year.