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Acclimating Greenhouse Plants For Real Life


Acclimate Before Planting

Crucial Steps for ensuring the success of greenhouse-grown plants


Most of the plants you buy from Pine Lane Nursery grew up in our climate-controlled greenhouses and need to be gradually introduced to the outdoors before being planted or, in the case of hanging baskets, hung for the season.

To transition these plants successfully, we recommend placing plants outdoors in a protected area during the day over a period of 5-7 days before leaving them in their final growing space for the summer. A protected area is a semi-shaded place in your year that is shielded from the direct sun, wind, and temperature extremes.

  • For the 1st day, place your new plants in the protected area for a few hours then bring back indoors.
  • Repeat this for the next 2-3 days, gradually increasing the time spent each day outdoors.
  • After a few days, begin exposing the plants to the sun, also increasing the time spent outdoors.
  • After 5-7 days, plant your plants in t

    he ground or in outdoor containers when daytime / nighttime temperatures are between 50-80°. If high temperatures are expected, delay planting until early evening or morning to reduce heat-induced stress to the plants.
  • New tender annual plants, like hanging baskets, will not withstand temperatures lower than 50° so bring them in if lower temperatures are expected.
  • If you have already planted your plants and cold temperatures are in the forecast, you will need to cover them for protection. Move containers or baskets to the garage or other sheltered area during these times.

The average last frost date for our area is May 14th but diligent weather monitoring is suggested until June.

Happy Growing!


Which Fruit Tree Is Right For Me?

On April 22nd and 8am, Pine Lane Nursery will be having a Fruit Tree Tour to be followed by a Small Fruit Tour a little later in the season.  Growing fruit trees requires more patience and is more labor intensive than growing an ornamental or a shade tree.  There are of course more tangible rewards, food for example, from growing fruit trees in our area but it will require special effort and attention.  This is a preview of the fruit tree assortment for 2023.

Apples are one of the better fruits for the Front Range and there are a couple of old apple orchards south and east of the Parker area.  These orchards date back to times when fruit was not as easily transported and had to be grown more locally.  Apples are mostly self-unfruitful and will need another domestic apple or crabapple nearby and blooming at the same time in order to improve the chances of getting fruit.  Then they need bees to complete the pollination in order to set and bear fruit.  If there is a strong bee population in your area, the trees can be up to a quarter mile apart.   So if you live in a suburban neighborhood with bees, the chances are pretty good that you can get fruit on a single tree.  The Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apple trees are self-fruitful and will produce a decent crop without another apple tree nearby.  With another apple tree nearby (even of the same variety) the crops will be more abundant.  The Honeycrisp apple tree is a good choice for our area because it is extra cold hardy, resistant to fire blight, and produces high quality fruit. 

Cherry trees can be either sweet or sour.  The sour cherries are self-fruitful producing a good crop from a single tree but the crops are heavier for each tree when there are multiple plantings.  The Montmorency cherry was grown commercially in the Longmont area until the late 1950’s when a hard freeze killed most of the trees.  The Evans Bali cherry from Canada is extra cold hardy and has a slightly higher sugar content making it more suitable for fresh eating when fully ripe.  Sweet cherries are mostly self-unfruitful needing another sweet cherry for cross pollination.  The Stella and Lapins cherries are self-fruitful sweet cherries and will pollinate other sweet cherries such as the Bing, the sweetest of the sweets.  Cherries are in the Prunus family and all parts of the plant except for the ripe fruit pulp are considered toxic to dogs, horses, and humans. 

Peach trees are mostly self-fruitful, but you will get more peaches if there is another peach tree within 100’, even if it’s the same variety of peach.  Peach trees bloom early with showy pink blossoms.  Sometimes that is too early and the flowers are frosted off before the fruit sets.  That means no fruit for the season but the trees usually survive and will come next year to try fruit again.  The Frost peach tree blooms a little later and could avoid some of our late spring frosts.  The Contender peach is the most cold hardy of the peaches, rated at zone 4 (-20 to -30°F).  If the flowers miss the frosts, it is one of the more abundant producers.  Peach trees flower and fruit on one year old branches and the old grey branches should be pruned away yearly in late winter to early spring, up to 40% of the tree may be removed.  Peach trees usually live about 12 years so planting a new tree every 5-6 years means there will always be at least one producing tree, frost permitting.  Peaches are in the Prunus family also so don’t eat the pits!

Pears are mostly self-unfruitful and will need another different type of pear growing nearby (100’) for cross pollination in order to bear fruit.  Pears are highly susceptible to fire blight but do have the potential to live and produce fruit for up to 70 years.  Common or European such as the Anjou and Red Bartlett are best picked early and ripened off of the tree.  If left on the tree, the fruit tends to have a gritty / grainy texture.  The Summercrisp pear came from a chance seedling of ‘unknown’ heritage and some of that heritage must be from an Asian pear because Summercrisp pears can be left on the tree until they have a nice red blush.  At that time the fruit can be picked and eaten fresh from the tree and is crisp and crunchy with a sweet flavor.  All pear trees have white flowers in early spring and can have outstanding late fall colors. 

Plum trees can be self-fruitful or self-unfruitful.  European ‘prune’ plums are usually self-fruitful.  The Mt. Royal plum is an example.  It came from Canada in the late 1700’s and a single tree can produce good crops at elevations up to 7000’.  Hybrid plums can be self-fruitful or self-unfruitful.  The Santa Rosa plum is a complex hybrid of American, European, and Japanese plums developed by Luther Burbank in 1906 and is self-fruitful.  The Superior plum is a natural cross between American and Japanese plums and is self-unfruitful but can be pollinated by an American, Japanese, or hybrid (of the two) plum such as the Santa Rosa.  The American plums fall mostly into the small fruit category though the Prunus americana can be pruned into and maintained as a tree form.  Again, do not eat the pits!

Pushing the envelope, a little, the tree forms of the North American native Serviceberry produce a tasty blueberry-like fruit as well as having profuse white spring flowers and great fall color.  The ‘Caddo’ sugar maples, such as Flash Fire and Powder Keg are from the ecotype native to Oklahoma.  They are better suited to our area than the eastern sugar maples if you want to make your own Maple Syrup.


Join us for the tour and we will do our best to give you confidence in growing these valuable assets in your own yard. 

What is a Kokedama?

The name Kokedama literally translates from “koke” meaning moss, and “dama” meaning ball. These moss balls are a centuries old tradition in Japanese gardening and are somewhat related to the accent plants often shown alongside a Bonsai. This style has experienced a resurgence as a modern art form, as it is a unique way to present plants and flowers and bring a little more nature into your space. A Kokedama can be created with a wide variety of plant species, providing a range of possibilities!

The distinctive round shape can be made by first molding a compact ball of soil, roughly the size of a grapefruit. Traditionally this would be made with an Akadama, or Bonsai soil, which is clay based. The clay granules are mixed with peat moss, and together they provide minerals to the plants and offer a balance of moisture retention and drainage. This means that the soil holds enough water for your plant, but releases enough as to not oversaturate the roots. A more cost-effective option is to use a standard potting soil, or a cactus and succulent mix, however this can dry out more quickly.

Once your clay ball is made, you can give it a little toss in the air to make sure that it holds together well enough. If it is still crumbly, add a little water until it keeps its form. Then you can either split it in half or use your fingers to create a hole in the top. Your plant should be removed from its pot and as much soil as possible cleaned from the roots. The roots will then be either placed in the hole, or sandwiched between the two halves. The ball will need to be re-formed around the roots to ensure they are snuggly held within and the ball will still retain its shape.

A sheet of sphagnum moss is wrapped around the ball, up to the base of the plant, and then secured with twine, wire, or nylon string. The method of wrapping is up to the individual, and can be a creative way to add unique detail. You want to wrap the binding around enough to ensure that the moss is held in place, and after that it is a matter of decoration.  The moss balls are traditionally displayed on a shallow tray or dish, but can also been displayed as hanging plants.

How do you water a Kokedama?

Luckily, this is a relatively straight-forward task! The best way to determine if it needs water is to feel how heavy it is. You can also check the moss to see how dried out it feels to the touch. How easy is that? Soaking the ball in water for about 10 minutes should be more than enough to make sure it is saturated.

What kinds of plants can be used?

There are many options for plants that will do well as a kokedama, and this allows for a wide variety of styles. However, the primary thing to take into consideration is how much moisture the plant can tolerate. Plants that are typically prone to overwatering will not do well sitting in the consistently moist soil, and should be avoided. This primarily includes cacti and succulents; however, these are not out of the question if using an appropriate soil. Always check the requirements of the plant, to ensure that you are selecting one that will thrive. Also take light conditions into consideration. These balls should never be placed in direct sunlight, as it will dry out and “burn” the moss, making it crispy and brown. So, plants that prefer from low to bright indirect light will do best.

Some plants to consider:

  • Ferns (be sure to still mist them, as our dry air in Colorado can still be problematic)
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron
  • Ivy
  • African Violet
  • Peperomia
  • Begonia
  • Money tree
  • Spider plant
  • Ficus varieties

If you want to learn art of Kokedama yourself, join us for a fun hands-on workshop on March 11th. We’ll provide instruction, assistance, and all materials! Space is limited, registration is Purchase tickets HERE.