To kick off the New Year, we will be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Midwest Groundcovers and some of the techniques that our Production team uses to grow the large volume of diverse plants in our inventory. We hope you’ll find this monthly feature educational and be inspired by the science and art that goes into hand crafting each plant variety for you, our customers.
This month, we are busy preparing an enticing display of plants to be used during the winter trade show season. In order to produce lush foliage and beautiful blooms in the dead of winter, we started planning back in July when our Sales Team drafted a list of plants to be promoted, so that a detailed forcing schedule could be created by the main grower at our St. Charles nursery. In August, we began transferring plants from our Michigan, Virgil and Midwest Natural Garden nurseries to St. Charles. Upon arrival, they were moved into the cooler, where light and temperature are carefully controlled, in order to initiate dormancy.
Then beginning in November, after each plant variety had spent the correct number of “chilling hours” in the cooler, they were moved into our Showhouse for a calculated number of “growing weeks.” The now-dormant plants were pruned and shaped and strategically staged to provide the correct conditions needed to initiate growth. Temperature, light, water, humidity, fertilizer, and air circulation are closely monitored and controlled by our Production and Plant Health teams 24/7— including holidays. If a heater fails or a fuse is blown, the whole crop is at risk. The challenge is to provide the ideal growing conditions for each of the 90+ varieties ranging in size from 3” to #5’s—all within the same 1400 square foot Showhouse! Inevitably some plants may grow too fast, so they are transferred to a 2nd Showhouse, with cooler temperatures and no supplemental lighting, in order to slow down growth. Other “long day” plants require short nights in order to initiate blooming, so we use night interruption lighting to trick the plants into thinking the nights are getting shorter.
Many months have passed, and soon it will be time to polish the pots and pack up for the big show—iLandscape! We invite you to stop by the Midwest Groundcovers booth to savor a glimpse of spring including some exciting New Introductions and a clever candy-themed display. Nepeta ‘Kit Kat’ anyone?Learn More...