PAINTERS – A UNIQUE & ‘GREEN’ GREENHOUSE
Painters is a unique greenhouse business; we have over 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space and are one of the only retail greenhouses in the region to produce our own plants from start to finish and sell them directly to the customer.
When you are buying from Painters, you are truly buying plants ‘fresh from the farm’. We are able to keep our prices lower than other garden centers because of this practice – other retailers buy most of their items from a wholesale grower and then have to increase the price to make a profit. We raise over 750 species on site; the main exception to the rule are the larger, slower growing shrubs & trees, which we buy from a local Morganton nursery.
Painters Greenhouse has always been run with conservation in mind. Painters founders Stephen and Susie incorporated shade curtains into the main house, which allow for conservation of heat in the winter and help cool the greenhouse in the warmer months. They also began a recycling program that we have continued to expand; we encourage Painters customers to return their plastic containers and trays to our recycling area next to the parking lot. The plastics are then either sterilized and reused at the greenhouse or donated along with other unused containers to local nonprofits and greenhouse hobbyists.
Additionally, we strive to use an Integrated Pest Management practice in the houses; by using a preventative practice of thoroughly inspecting crops on a regular basis and maintaining specific water and fertilization needs for varied plant species, we ensure that our plants are at their healthiest and therefore less susceptible to pests and disease. When pest problems do arise, we try to control them using nontoxic treatments. It is very challenging to grow and maintain such a wide variety of plant crops at peak performance in our limited space, but we do our best!
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Natives at Painters
NATIVE PLANTS 2013
The above list includes all of our native plants organized by category. We include some plants native to the general US but not to our specific region. We also include cultivars as well as 'true' natives on the list, as the cultivars are the same species & only vary slightly from the parent native.
Gardening with natives has become an increasingly popular way to incorporate environmental consciousness into our lives. The native plant program we started in 2010 was a success, and we plan to continue improving our native selection each year. It is often assumed that natives are less ornamental than non-native species – we hope to challenge that misconception with a wide array of beautiful foliage and blooming plants in our natives selection.
We offer several natives from the well-known American Beauties collection (we are the only source in our area), as well as natives seeded or propagated here at the greenhouse (aptly named ‘Painters’ Natives’). The American Beauties collection has been very carefully crafted by plant and wildlife experts, and as a result their plants are highly sought after. Buying American Beauties plants is a way to help the environment nationally; every plant sold benefits the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) with home habitat and outreach programs. We carry many plants from their collection, as we've added their suggestions to our own propagated natives in addition to carrying their line.
Click above logo to learn more about the American Beauties program on their website.
What Defines a Native Plant?
Native species are those that occur naturally in an area, having not been introduced by human action. It can be difficult sometimes to determine whether a plant is a true native, as there are many plants present in our natural surroundings that may have escaped human cultivation years ago. Natives are beneficial for many reasons, but mainly as support for the local wildlife; native plants and animals have evolved together. If left undisturbed, naturally established checks and balances can be maintained in the environment, reducing the likelihood of any one species dominating the plant community. If we allow exotic invasives into the picture, then that balance can be overturned and have major consequences for the native plants and animals of the area.
Why Garden with Natives?
At Painters, we offer several important host plants for native butterflies and moths. We carry Butterfly and Swamp Milkweeds, which host Monarch butterflies & provide nectar for other butterfly, hummingbird and Hummingbird Clearwing Moth species, as well as Turtlehead and Beardtongue, which serve as host species to the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.
Natives can create a pocket in your neighborhood/suburban area that acts as a refuge, allowing wildlife to remain in the area despite fragmented natural habitats caused by development. Planted in larger quantities, natives can help restore degraded habitats and contribute to the maintenance of a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem.
Natives are a good choice for new gardeners or those who prefer minimal garden maintenance, as they are suited specifically to our local soils and climate and therefore tend to be less sensitive and easier to grow than non-natives.
Most natives are deer resistant and many are rabbit resistant (they have evolved qualities over the years to ward off herbivores).
Natives compliment the surrounding landscape, creating a natural-looking garden.
Gardening with natives is an easy, fun way to incorporate environmental consciousness into your lifestyle and to support a land ethic that celebrates our natural heritage.
Important pollinators and migratory birds rely on natives (if we displace the natives with development and non-native species, then we also endanger the animals that depend on them.) Attract beautiful and beneficial native insects and birds to your backyard by providing them with their host/food source plants.
What Defines an Invasive Plant?
Invasive plants are those able to grow quickly, reproduce in large numbers, and spread aggressively in a variety of conditions outside of their natural range. An invasive species that colonizes a new environment often has an ecological advantage as the usual insects, diseases, and foraging animals that naturally keep its growth in check in its native range are typically not present in its new habitat.
Threatening Invasives in the Southeastern U.S.
Japanese Honeysuckle – Lonicera japonica (We sell the native Coral Honeysuckle.)
Tartarian Honeysuckle – Lonicera tatarica
Japanese Barberry - Berberis thunbergii
Chinese Wisteria – Wisteria chinensis
Chinese Silvergrass – Miscanthus sinensis
Chinese Yam – Dioscorea batatus, D. oppositifolia, D. bulbifera
Oriental Bittersweet – Celastrus orbiculatus
Privet - Ligustrum sinense, L. obtusifolium & L. vulgare
Autumn-olive – Elaegnus umbellata
Kudzu - Pueraria lobata
Mimosa/Silky Acacia/Silk Tree - Albizia julibrissin
Golden Bamboo - Phyllostachys aurea (Contain or grow a less-invasive or native variety)
Multiflora Rose – Rosa multiflora
Tree of Heaven – Ailanthus altissima
Princess Tree – Paulownia tomentosa
Purple Loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria
Siberian Elm - Ulmus pumila
Garlic Mustard - Alliaria petiolata
Lesser Celandine/Fig Buttercup/Pilewort - Ranunculus ficaria
Lilyturf - Liriopi spicata (Painters sells the noninvasive L. muscari)
Commonly Grown Plants with Invasive Tendencies
Butterfly Bush (Deadhead blooms to avoid free-seeding)
We sell the above six plant species at Painters due to high demand, but we encourage gardeners to use caution when planting such varieties. Many of these are not as invasive in our area as they can be in other parts of the country. Typically the most problematic are vines and groundcovers; keep an eye on plants such as ivy, periwinkle and winter creeper and contain them within your garden limits by pulling up new growth and runners and disposing of them (don’t throw them into the woods – try burning or composting them instead). A majority of aquatics are known to have invasive tendencies in tropical areas. When using aquatic plants, you should always keep them in a contained body of water and be careful disposing of excess (for instance, don’t dump azolla or water hyacinths in an area where they may wash into nearby waterways).
References for Gardening with Natives (some available at Painters)
Native Perennials for the South East
Gardening with Native Plants of the South
Great Natives for Tough Places – Brooklyn Botanic Garden
National Wildlife Federation – Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife
The Natural Gardens of North Carolina – Revised Edition
Wildflowers in Your Garden – A Gardener’s Guide
Fall Color and Woodland Harvests
A Gardeners Encyclopedia of Wild Flowers: An Organic Guide to Choosing and Growing Over 150 Beautiful Wildflowers
Growing and Propagating Wildflowers
Growing and Propagating Showy Native Woody Plants
Native Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Southeast: Landscaping Uses and Identification
Gardening with Native Wild Flowers
Pioneering With Wildflowers
Wild Flowers for Your Garden
The Wild Gardener in the Wild Landscape
The Art of Naturalistic Landscaping
Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards
The Wild Lawn Handbook: Alternatives to the Traditional Front Lawn
Bringing Nature Home
Last Child in the Woods
For a list of online resources regarding gardening and natives, see the “Links” page.