Wiethop Greenhouses visit part 1

I'm determined to not only visit more area nurseries this year than I have in the past, but to share the visits with you as well -- something I've not really done over the years. Remember the other day when I gave you a little view of Sherwood's Forest Nursery and my stone supplier Kirkwood Material Supply that was right on the other side of the fence? Sharing the other (north) fence with Sherwood's is Wiethop Greenhouses.

Wiethop is unique in this area of St. Louis as they're 1) open seasonally only, from early April to mid-June, then again September through mid-October  2) a grower, not just a seller of plants. Both of these things combine to make a trip to Wiethop irresistible to me each Spring. (I've never actually been there in Autumn).


One of the things I like about Wiethop is that it's all about the herbaceous plants. No fancy displays of arrangements, no "hot plant" tables, no shrubs or trees taking up valuable space. It's rare in today's nursery retail climate, where more and more effort is put into making things pretty.

Tables upon tables of blooming plants are quite effective sales tools too...

...as this place is huge! Here's what Google Maps shows:

The entrance is right in the middle facing Barrett Station Road, but those first few connected greenhouses are where most of the flowering annuals are:

They do tend to focus on the popular bedding plants like begonias, impatiens, petunias, marigolds, etc., things that I don't typically grow...

Zinnias are nice, but they grow only dwarf varieties. I want big plants!

...but they have something for even a picky plant person like myself. For instance, I'm planning on picking up a Cardinal Climber vine or two:

I grew this from seed a few years ago and really appreciate having the option to buy one that would be at least a few weeks ahead of what I'd have on my own -- if I had remembered to start some seeds I mean.

Also, I'll be buying half a dozen of these Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage):

Especially since they're the kind with the black calyxes that I like so much!

(They have the "coral" ones too! If only they grew the white as well...) They also have the more common Salvia spendens, which I find to be quite horrible for some reason and is therefore not pictured here.

I'm tempted to buy a flat of portulaca...

...except I know that rabbits will eat every last bit of it.

I love coleus, but the coleus varieties they grow aren't overly exciting to me, at least at this size:

The caladiums though...

...this 25-foot-long (7.6m) table is the reason that I try caladiums every single year, even though I don't have a great place for them. Maybe in a pot down on the patio this year?

Up above in some of these shots you may have noticed the baskets of ferns:

There are hundreds of them! Wiethop customers must love pre-planted hanging baskets as you'll see soon.

Moving into the absolutely gigantic main greenhouse...

...where there are more flowering annuals...

...foliage plants like ornamental sweet potato...


...which I'm not sure are a bargain at $20 each, but that's not a completely unreasonable price.

I'm glad they're not cheaper though, as I would have bought more elephant ears. (I might already have more of these than Wiethop does but they call out to me!)

So much more here too, but again, plants that I typically pass over for my garden.

This year the Rex Begonia table caught my eye...

...I'll show you more of this in a separate post, as there were some truly beautiful plants here!

Only half of this monster room is accessible to customers, with the other half being a stock area I presume:

With this many plants, you might be surprised to find out that by the time they close in June everything is gone. I wonder if they sell any leftover stock to the neighboring year-round nurseries?

Now, the hanging baskets:

You'll notice that every single aisle has an "upper deck" of plants in hanging baskets.

On my next visit I'll have to count a row and estimate how many there are, but easily hundreds. They must sell 1000 of these in a season!

They do pre-planted non-hanging planters too:

The people who are buying these are probably not gardeners, or they haven't been told how much fun it is to create your own baskets! (Plus you'll save a ton of money doing it yourself)

Speaking of saving money, I love the herbs for sale at $2.00 each:

Although some of the plants are pretty small right now...

...others are as big as anything you'd find at another nursery at double or triple the price:

They tend to stick to the common, popular herbs but I almost always find something exciting too, like this "ginger mint":

And how can anybody walk past the red-veined sorrel without grabbing one?

(I have a few of these in the ground already and still bought one!)

They also have edible starts, where you can get not only cool-season veggies like kale and lettuce, but your warm-season foods too, including corn:

They've moved the tomato plants this year, giving them much more room:

You won't find hundreds of different tomato varieties here, but you will have quite a good selection, including heirlooms:

The gallon pots are $5.00, while the smaller ones were $3.00 (or maybe $2.50), so again, a reasonable price.

There are informational signs on the wall, although I think most people don't notice them as they're too focused on the plants (and there's only one solid wall in the entire space):

The most important sign is in yellow and posted everywhere, including at the checkout registers:

It's really tricky to know when to plant in St. Louis, as we'll have a week of temps in the 70's with lows in the upper 50's or lower 60's (all ºF of course. 70ºF = 21ºC, 60ºF = 15ºC, 50ºF = 10ºC), then a couple of days where lows will dip down near freezing. Since our last frost date is around May 7, there's really no reason you should be buying tomato plants in early April, unless you're a gambler or are garden-obsessed.

The door near the herbs directs you to the perennial greenhouse, and that's where I'll continue on Monday:

In the meantime, if you live in the St. Louis area and haven't been to Wiethop before, I recommend a visit!

Note that I think my visit last weekend was the first day that they were open for the season. I've never been there this early before, so it was nice seeing just a few shoppers and every single table packed with plants.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (April 10, 2015 at 9:44 AM)  

I love visiting greenhouses, especially if the plants there are for sale. It's the thrill of the hunt, not knowing what you'll find.

Can't wait to see what else you bought.

BTW, the prices do seem quite reasonable to me.

Lisa  – (April 10, 2015 at 7:00 PM)  

Holy cow! That's some kind of greenhouse!

Do you eat your bloody dock? We grow ours at the edge of our pond and it comes back every year. We cut it back mid-season and use it in salads or smoothies. Quite delicious!

danger garden  – (April 11, 2015 at 12:39 AM)  

Wow, that's a lot of plants. And really, that many hanging baskets will sell? That's crazy.

Hoover Boo  – (April 11, 2015 at 5:46 PM)  

Neat place--even visiting greenhouses with uninteresting plants is fun--

outlawgardener  – (April 13, 2015 at 12:59 PM)  

Yowza, that's a huge operation! Amazing that so many plants sell in the short time they're open. All those ferns...Do they maybe sell wholesale to area markets as well?

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