Kronenwetter Greenhouse Finds Ways Around Bitter Cold

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

It's hard for most of us to adjust to these frigid cold temperatures. But what about the plants that rely on humidity, sunshine and 80-degree weather to survive? Yes, those plants do exist in Wisconsin.

At Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens Inc. in Kronenwetter, employees have found a way around Mother Nature.

The greenhouse's roof is made of two layers of plastic so that solar light can come through. The air in between acts as insulation.

"The sun is pretty powerful," said Tropical Gardens' president Debbie Chrouser. "The more we have, the happier we are. At night we have our automatic curtains that close so that we retain our solar gain from the day. And then the heat comes from natural gas at night."

But when the subzero temperatures roll through, they have to pump extra natural gas in during the day, and that comes at a price.

"We probably use 30 percent more," Chrouser said. "It can be quite costly. So that's why we close some of our houses over the winter to help save on fuel."

The greenhouse is one of the largest in the area--caring for 500 different breeds and 20,000 plants total. It sells wholesale to florists, other greenhouses and garden centers in nine different states.

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