Painters is a unique retail greenhouse; we have over 100,000 sq. ft. of growing and retail space; we are one of the only greenhouses in the region to grow our own plants and sell them directly to the customer. We grow around 1,000 species on site; since we raise over 95% of these ourselves, we can keep our prices lower than garden centers who purchase finished plants. By shopping at Painters, you are buying locally grown plants from an environmentally conscious establishment and supporting the community and local economy. Each season, we donate over $15,000 of plants to local non-profits and schools.
Painters has become known for its ongoing sales that make it worth the drive for customers hours away. Our sale season runs mid April-mid July. A good rule of thumb is to come early in the season if you have specific plants in mind, as our inventory can decrease quickly during popular sales.
Below we offer info on our eco-conscious approach and a summary of the wide variety of plants you can find at Painters; please keep in mind that we offer potted plants only, no bulbs or seeds. Visit our gallery for photos and the FAQ page for more specifics.
Green in more ways than one!
EFFICIENCY & REUSE
We do our best to conserve energy when possible. We have shade curtains in the main house, which allow for conservation of heat in the winter and help cool the greenhouse in the warmer months. We also reuse a lot of our plastics each season, though we only accept plastic trays back from customers (we had to limit this after a decade of receiving a huge range of non-Painters pots and random plastics and not being able to locate a recycling center able to process them.) Lowes seems to have a unique connection and can accept all forms of plastic pots and trays, so we encourage you to take any empty pots to Lowes to ensure proper recycling (most pots aren't the right type of plastic for basic recycling centers).
While we cannot run an organic facility due to the vast array of crops we grow, we do our best to offer safe edibles. All edible varieties are non-GMO, and if any require pest control, we only use organic-safe applications. We grow about 95% of our edibles from start to finish here on site, and we almost never treat them - many staff and customers will sample our herbs and greens right off the tables!
PEST PREVENTION & TREATMENT
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, organic-safe oil and soap treatments. In 2015, we started incorporating varied beneficial insects into our program - these species eat or parasitize problematic pests, and we've included them in our annual treatment program with varying degrees of success. (Click here to read about them.) Keep this in mind if you see an insect on or around our crops - they may actually be helpers rather than harmers!
Lately there has been a lot of talk about neonictinoid pesticides and the danger they pose to bees. There continues to be debate as to whether neonics are a factor in decreasing bee populations (habitat loss and climate change are likely more critical), but it is definitely known that they can be damaging.
We only use neonics as a last resort treatment at Painters, and are very careful in application of any chemicals that may affect pollinator health. Neonics are one of many that can be problematic, and methods and timing are crucial. (We avoid applying such chemicals to natives or blooming plants that bees might be visiting.) While pesticide use in greenhouses can certainly be an issue if done irresponsibly, the majority of the damage from chemicals such as neonics results from misapplication and/or overuse by field crop farmers and by, believe it or not, home gardeners!
Take the time to look at the labels on anything you use to treat your gardens or lawns at home and be aware of the potential effects. Many common pest and weed treatments have some pretty scary ingredients that can harm pollinators, wildlife or even your pets, kids and you. Shockingly, home garden products containing such chemicals can be applied in much higher concentrations than commercially legal - up to 120 times more potent than what we can use in greenhouse production! (Some ingredients to watch for include Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam, Acetamiprid, Dinotefuran, Chlorpyrifos, Glyphosate, Metolachlor and Carbaryl.)
We offer an ever-increasing selection of natives each year, and we also offer a wide range of non-native pollinator friendly plants. We have become known for our support of local pollinator gardens, discounting and donating thousands of natives to varied efforts. In our 'off season', we offer select pollinator plants at wholesale prices for large-scale plantings in the area (our milkweed in particular has been popular with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Americorps, Monarch Watch, and the NC Arboretum Monarch Day). If interested in off-season wholesale pollinator plants for late summer/early fall planting, please contact us no later than May 1st of that year.
Each year we update our edible selection with delicious vegetable and herb varieties as well as a variety of fruiting shrubs and trees. We offer a wide variety of heirloom vegetables as well as those bred for disease resistance, container gardening and other characteristics. Our herb selection is widely appreciated, and we offer unbeatable prices and unusual varieties during our annual Herb Festival.
With the increasing concerns over GMO seed, we have made the commitment to locate and purchase only non-GMO vegetable and herb varieties. In the rare case of pest or disease outbreaks on edibles, we use organic-safe products.
POTTED ANNUALS, PERENNIALS
Outdoors: We offer annual and perennial plants in pots ranging from 3.5” to 12” in size. Choose from a variety of colorful annuals, and peruse a wide selection of perennials. We offer an assortment to suit your garden requirements, whether it be sunny, shady, wet, dry or somewhere in between!
Indoors: While our focus remains on outdoor ornamentals and edibles, we've greatly expanded our selection of houseplants (especially succulents) for those of you looking to beautify and oxygenate your indoor environment. If you have pets, make sure to download our Categorized Plant List to learn which of our houseplants are pet safe. Also be sure to keep houseplants out of reach of hungry toddlers - no beautiful plant is worth risking your child’s health!
SHRUBS & TREES
We offer a variety of shrubs and trees including many evergreen and blooming options. Choose from a wide selection of fruiting shrubs and trees, an array of native options, and an assortment of ornamental or screening varieties. While we grow some shrubs at the greenhouse, we do buy the larger, slower growing shrubs and trees from a couple local wholesale nurseries. We do not purchase any plants from more than an hour away to ensure they have been raised in a similar climate and plant health isn't affected by being shipped long distances.
We recommend doing some research prior to planting shrubs or trees to ensure the long-term success of your plant - some require specific planting depths, maintenance or companion plantings for optimal performance. Check our Availability tab for our Shrub and Tree Availability and Shrub & Tree Planting Guide.
Painters has long been known for massive, colorful hanging baskets at unbeatable prices. We offer a wide range of beautiful annual blooming baskets and combos, as well as our famous massive ‘Weddin’ Ferns’ and many others. We provide a variety of options for conditions ranging from full sun to full shade, and even have some perennial combo baskets available.
Native plants are those that occurred in North America before European settlement, and which have evolved to perform well in our specific climate, soils and temperatures. Natives are becoming an increasingly popular way to incorporate environmental consciousness into our lives.
The majority of our natives can be found naturally growing in the WNC area, but we have also included a few plants native to our general Eastern US region. Our natives are all seeded or propagated here at the greenhouse with the exception of some shrubs and trees from a local nursery. To read more about the benefits of native gardening and about the importance of natives to local wildlife (specifically bees), visit this page.
We offer a wide selection of marginal and wetland aquatic plants plus a few floating options. While most are native to the southern US, some can be voracious spreaders - please keep this in mind when planting. We are gradually incorporating more natives that are appropriate for rain gardens or moist plantings and hope to have a demo area in place soon. If you simply want to add a little beauty or fun for your kids and aren't ready for a large water or rain garden endeavor, try making a container water garden for the season!
We offer a wide selection of succulents and xeric plants, both annual and perennial. Succulents are a great option if you don't have the time to water regularly, and you may be surprised at the variety of colors and unique foliage!
For those of you looking for drought-tolerant indoor plants for a sunny room, we have an entire area of the greenhouse dedicated to tropical succulents - it's hard to beat our selection and prices. Our succulent combos have become one of our most popular gift options - we offer them in a range of designs and pots for every taste!
We have a lot of fun creating combinations and specialty container gardens. We provide all the means necessary for you to create your own container garden, or you can purchase one of our completed designs.
We offer a variety of herbs and edible combos (typically available during and following our Herb Festival), and we have a range of beautiful pottery and baskets planted with individual designs. We strive to offer combo pots for a variety of needs, including sun, part sun, and shade, as well as low-maintenance. Our grower Sarah McClary has really made a name for herself at Painters with her incredible eye for combo design - you will often see her creations featured on our Instagram page!