Dave lives in southeastern Arizona, a few miles from the Mexican border, in a milder high desert climate at elevations around 4600 feet. Dave's hibiscus don't get the kind of scorching hot sun that lower parts of the southwest get, but they do get freezes, and even a dusting of snow at times in the winter.
Dave's Greenhouse was Built off a Laundry Room
Inside Dave's Greenhouse
Dave with his Dogs
Dave Grows Hibiscus Indoors and Outdoors
Hibiscus Blooming in Dave's Living Room Window
So Dave grows his hibiscus outside part of the year, and inside in a greenhouse part of the year. When his plants are all inside, space is a constant issue, as it is for so many of us. Dave fills his greenhouse and every window in his house - even doorways at times! Here hibiscus 'Erin Rachel' is taking advantage of the sun that comes through Dave's front door.
Dave's greenhouse was originally an add-on to the laundry room which was built by a previous owner. Dave and a neighbor removed all the siding and the roof from that addition and replaced it with filon - a type of fiberglass. But the filon roofing always leaked. So Dave eventually replaced the filon roof with a regular roof and had a huge skylite installed in the center. The skylight works very well, and the roof helps cut heat from the midday sun. The greenhouse is roughly 7' wide by 10 1/2' long. It was originally done for Dave's collection of about 200 potted cacti, which has slowly given way to hibiscus.
In the afternoon, the heat builds up to a very high level in Dave's greenhouse, so he uses a box fan to help ventilate it. The original laundry room was not heated or cooled and neither is the greenhouse adjoined to it. In the winter, the laundry room retains more warmth than the greenhouse, and has an east-facing window. So Dave overwinters many of his most fragile plants into the laundry room. When a severe cold front comes through, he moves his entire collection into the laundry room for the coldest nights. It's not ideal, but it works! His hibiscus are thriving! Fortunately in southern Arizona, nights of severe cold are fairly rare, so Dave doesn't have to move his whole collection very frequently.
'Lady Cilento' & 'Bluebird'
"I wish I had a real greenhouse about twice as large as this one," says Dave, "but if I did where would this hibiscus addiction end?" I think we can all relate to that sentiment!