mpa
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Location: Zone 8A

Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

I am a new user in desperate need of advice, TIA. I propagated gardenias, azaleas and camellias this summer--planned for 30 plants, ended up with 300 plants.

Will a makeshift thick plastic greenhouse keep them safe for the winter? I live in central Alabama.

Thank you for your help

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digitS'
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Re: Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

I don't know about those specific plants nor your location but construction grade, 6mil plastic holds up for several months.

I have used it long enough at a time to know that it can be useful for the gardener. It can't take much sunlight. Setting up little "hoopies" on the lawn to catch greenhouse overflow leaves me with sheets of film that can be used for several weeks and for about 3 times. The film goes over 1/2" pvc pipes slipped over short pieces of rebar.

The same idea with film over plastic pipes provides me with a larger, 9' by 20' hoop house which covers 2 garden beds for early crops. It stays up from March to mid-June. That plastic film often begins to split where it is attached to a door or window frame at the ends of the structure. With 3 months of sunlight, that 6mil plastic wouldn't have much more life to it.

I use one of those little hoopies over a bed in my greenhouse each winter. It isn't able to keep a lot of warmth in but with the greenhouse covering and the additional plastic film indoors, I can grow Asian greens through the winter.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

Central Alabama is either zone 7b or 8a. Once you determine your location and zone please update your profile it helps to answer your questions.
https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
Camelias are hardy to minus 25 degrees
Azaleas would depend on the cultivar but should be hardy to at least 5-10 degrees F. Most are hardy to zone 6
Gardenias would be the most sensitive to cold and will be damaged below 15 degrees and are better in a garage or indoors when it gets that cold.

Younger plants and potted plants may not be as hardy as older plants. If they are being kept outside, it will help to dig them in and cover them with a thick layer of mulch and keep them well watered.

https://www.humeseeds.com/wntrng2.htm
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Susan W
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Re: Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

I'm impressed with your propagation success!
I am thinking you will be OK with most of your plants unless you get a meanie spell. What size pots are they in? That makes a huge difference this 1st year. If gallon size should be fine just snugged up by house during the bad few days. As you will be above 32 most of the time, the plants happier outside, have somewhat sheltered when 20-25. If below 20, scoot into garage or shed for the short duration.
Have fun!
Susan

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Allyn
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

I'm right next door to you in Mississippi. I can't specifically speak to those plants, but I'll tell you what I do.

I use 6 mil UV plastic and it lasts a few years (four-year warranty) as long as you put felt tape between the plastic and anything it touches -- like the PVC frame. I fashioned a tunnel greenhouse similar to the one shown here. I have two black trashcans inside filled with water that absorb warmth during the day and then release that warmth at night. It usually doesn't get down to freezing temps here, so the passive heating is usually enough. On the rare occasion the temps do actually get down to freezing, I have a small heater -- so maybe a handful of nights over the course of the winter I need the extra heat.

mpa
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Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:39 am
Location: Zone 8A

Re: Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

Thank you all so much for the advice! I bought plastic and PVC today and will begin assembly this week.

Susan W: My pots range from vitamin water bottles to 5 gallon containers. My previous propagation attempt was a complete failure. I did not expect to succeed this time so I used old pots and empty bottles. Last time, I did quite a bit of research, bought the correct soil mixture, etc. This time I stuck cuttings in cheap top soil, in left over containers, and for some reason, they took root.

Thanks again!

imafan26
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Re: Please Help! Need a makeshift green house for winter

When propagating plants, it helps if you take them the right time of the year. Most plants are better propagated right before a flush or the plants are coming out of dormancy. Rosemary cuttings taken between January and May will root in 6 weeks. Cuttings taken in summer while the plant is in bloom will take 7 months to root with an 80% mortality.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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