Steinert's Greenhouse & Gardens
Steinert's Greenhouse & Gardens is one of the oldest nurseries in the Ozarks, having started in 1912 as a truck farm on the James River belonging to William Steinert, the great-uncle of Theta Steinert's late husband Robert.
Theta can tell you how she and Robert operated the nursery for years, then together built and opened today's building in 1998. "I held every board in this place," she says.
Theta can also tell you about the nursery's phenomenal growth. "We don't have too many quiet moments," she says. "We have 13 greenhouses and grow about 10,000 chrysanthemums, 10,000 poinsettias, and 6,000 geraniums. We also grow roses, hostas, coneflowers, and a lot of other perennials, and annuals like zinnias, amaranthus, and tons of impatiens."
Steinert's success is no mystery. In addition to growing excellent plant stock, the nursery is also known for its amazing range of garden plants and unusually attractive hanging baskets and container plantings. Nor do the Steinert's folk lack for humor. They chat and joke with customers. "We're not all that shy," says Theta. The result, of course, is a genuine comfort, ease, and down-home feel to the nursery.
Steinert's Greenhouse & Gardens sits atop a hill overlooking Highway 160 just south of the Springfield, Missouri, city limits. We think it's well worth a visit. But come see for yourself.
| ||Gardening Pals|
Theta Steinert (in the red jacket and "Don't Ruffle My Feathers" sweatshirt) has been operating the nursery nearly 40 years. Theta says this lady, Lavon Hensley, is a good friend and "one of our original customers." How long has Lavon shopped at Steinert's? "Thirty years," she said. "I must like it."
| ||'We Grow Tons....'|
Lavon holds one of the nursery's most popular
perennials, a bright yellow lantana. "We grow tons of perennials," says
Theta. She isn't kidding.
| ||The Rush|
We'd never seen a nursery so busy it took two people to
direct traffic, until we visited Steinert's Greenhouse & Gardens on
a May Saturday morning. Cars, SUV's, and pickups literally packed the
lot with eager gardeners loading up goodies for spring planting.
| ||Spring Bounty|
In early May the greenhouses are loaded with new plants
ready to go. Steinert's has a longstanding reputation for growing
excellent plant stock.
| ||By Demand....|
A closer view of the greenhouse stock, here a bonanza of geraniums in pots and in hanging baskets. The nursery's geraniums are a
big, big seller. "We think we grow the best in the country," says Theta.
Note: The airy, trailing white flowers in the hanging baskets are Bacopa.
| ||On the Go|
Nursery manager Carolyn Willoughby is on the run with an armload of plants in one of the nursery's 13 greenhouses. Steinert's and today's greenhouses are located not far from the one original greenhouse used in 1920 by Robert Steinert's parents.
| ||Artistry in Plants|
Carolyn arranges red geraniums and white lantana in one of the larger container plantings she creates for the nursery. Steinert's arrangements take many forms and mixes and are terrifically popular with both individual and corporate customers.
|Cool Container Blends|
At left, blending a sea of white petunias with only miniscule spots of color ingeniously makes all three elements much more dramatic. At right, an arrangement that plays a cool, almost frosty pale green against brilliant red verbena.
At left, Carolyn's cascading Petunias are capped with vibrant pink Pentas. At right, combining blue-lavender Plectranthus and Verbena with a touch of white Bacopa produces an unusually cool and soothing arrangement.
| ||And Baskets Too....|
Just when we thought we'd seen it all in Steinert's largest container plantings, we happened upon these hanging baskets of Bougainvillea hybrids. They left us, well,just about speechless.
| ||Verbena in Baskets|
More subtle but still arresting were these baskets of Verbena hybrids. At last, we were beginning to understand why this nursery needs to direct traffic on weekends.
|Verbenas and Vivid Color|
For a many gardeners, Verbenas are unequaled for vivid color, which makes them perfect for borders, edging, rock gardens, pots, and, as shown above, hanging baskets.These marvelous plants grow in clumps 6-10 inches high and 12 inches wide, bloom all season long, and bear flowers in shades and hues of red, orange, pink,and purple. They like full sun and well-drained soil. They require little care other than deadheading to make sure they keep blooming. In the Ozarks and all climates with killing frosts they must be grown as annuals. They can, however, be brought inside if you want to carry them through the winter.
| ||'Aztec Silver Magic' Verbena|
Steinert offers the 'Aztec Silver Magic' Verbena (Verbena x hybrida 'Aztec Silver Magic'), from the Aztec series of
perennial verbenas. Early-blooming and mildew-resistant, it likes well-drained, fertile soil and can grow to 10 inches tall and 16 inches wide. Bonus: It bears its unique silvery lavender flower clusters all season long.
| ||'Babylon Light Blue' Verbena|
The 'Babylon Light Blue' Verbena (Verbena hybrid 'Babylon Light Blue' is another early-blooming, mildew-resistant Verbena that provides color right up until frost. Vigorous and easy to grow, it likes full sun and fertile soil and can grow to 9 inches tall with a spread of 24 inches.
| ||Abunda 'Ghost' Bacopa|
As the above Verbena indicate, Steinert's offers a remarkable selection of bedding plants. Many are as distinctive as this white Bacopa hybrid, the Abunda series 'Ghost'. Thanks to its delicate appearance and its beautiful trailing habit, Bacopa is superb as an ingredient in hanging baskets or mixed containers. Among its virtues: it blooms profusely and all season long.
Among its already diverse plant stock, the nursery now and again turns up such extra-charming surprises as these Sunset Group Lewisia cotyledon hybrids. From the species native to the Rockies, these little perennial hybrids bloom from basal rosettes with pink, orange, red, or yellow flowers that are often striped.They grow to 6 inches tall, love full sun, and to avoid rot must have excellent drainage. Note: As lovely as these plants are, don't they deserve a better common name than Bitterroot?
|Inside the Nursery|
Not all of the surprises at Steinert's are in the plants outside. Inside the building visitors might encounter something like this remarkable Angel's Trumpet. Of tropical origin, this dramatically beautiful plant with its large, pendulous blossoms is of the Brugsmansia species and grown in containers in the Ozarks. Some hybrids can grow to 20 feet in height. Before you try it, though, be aware that as fascinating as it is, all parts of the plant are poisonous.
What could be more fun than this Pitcher Plant (unless you're a fly)? It's another tropical treat inside the nursery. The term Pitcher Plant applies to several plant species that attract and feed on insects. This one from its appearance and coloring is most likely Nepenthes burkei, native to the Philippines and said to be relatively easy to grow if warm enough and often misted. The pitchers here are about 6 inches long and can grow to about 8 inches. Note: If you are a fly, do not climb down into a pitcher, no matter how tempted.
We can't resist including these wonderful pots made by Felix, a Mexican artist who visits the nursery every year to sell his handiwork. No two are similar, says Theta, because all are handmade.
|And Pure Whimsy....|
We love these container figurines--is that what they're called, or should they be referred to as "fun thingies"? We're not sure. What we are sure of is that they make us laugh and we love 'em and they're by the same artist who created the pots above.
Take our word for it, you've absolutely got to click on these pics to get the full effect of these goodies, and once you do, you might find a personal favorite.
We're not sure which we like best. The chicken to us seems to be the chicken of all chickens and pretty much knocks us out. But then, we don't exactly object to the bunnies. And the swan and armadillo pairing has their points, and the solo armadillo does as well..
What the heck, you choose.
|Roses, Roses, and More Roses....|
It wouldn't be stretching the truth to call Steinert's a virtual oasis for rose-lovers. The nursery has a wide reputation for offering each season a great many of the most beautiful, most interesting roses available. Take for example the 'Oranges 'n Lemons' Rose at left. A true conversation piece, it's available as a floribunda, grandiflora, hybrid tea, or shrub rose. As a shrub rose it has a beautiful fountain-like habit and can also be trained to climb as high as 8 feet. The flowers also have a lovely citrus fragrance. At the right, 'Ultimate Pink' is for many the most beautiful of all pink roses. A hybrid tea, it grows to 4 1/2 feet tall with deep-pink blossoms 4 1/2 inches wide on very long stems. The blooms first appear as exquisite, ovoid, pointed buds and open as flowers with a light, sweet fragrance. At left, another very special rose is 'Europeana', a classic floribunda rose developed in Holland that has won many medals worldwide and was an All-America Rose Selection in 1968. A superb landscaping rose with attractive bronze-green foliage, it bears large clusters of dark red, highly fragrant flowers all season long and is said to be spectacular when planted in groups.
|How They Do It|
"We order each fall for the next season," says Theta Steinert of the nursery's roses. "We get the number one roses of the year and add in the favorites, plus Knock Outs. We usually do 2,000-2,500 roses and sell them all." At left is the white climbing rose in front of the nursery. "It's 'New Dawn'," says Theta, "the first climber ever patented. The best red climber is 'Don Juan'." At right is another favorite, 'Pope John Paul II', widely praised as "the best white rose ever." A hybrid tea, it features glossy green leaves and pristine white blossoms with a crisp, clean, citrusy fragrance.
Among the favorites Steinert's provides customers is 'Showbiz' at left, a floribunda with up to 12 brilliant red blooms on each stem and an All-American Rose in 1985. At right, another favorite, 'Veterans Honor', an elegant hybrid tea that grows to 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide with exquisite, bright red flowers as much as 5 inches wide.
The nursery's roses are all field-grown in Arizona and California and graded in the fields. "We refuse anything that isn't number one," says Theta. "We prune the roots and make 'em look decent and put 'em up in 5-gallon cans."
| ||Milwaukee's Calatrava Rose|
One of Steinert's newest rose offerings is Milwaukee's Calatrava (Rosa 'Radfragwhite'), a new white rose named for famed architect Santiago Calatrava. Bred by Bill Radler, who created the enormously popular Knock Out Rose, from spring to frost it produces an abundance of uniquely lovely soft white double flowers with intoxicating fragrance. It grows upright and can reach 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Highly disease resistant, it performs beautifully in Ozarks gardens. (We know, because we have one and it's a joy.)
'Peace' is believed to be the most famous and most successful rose of all time. A hybrid tea, its blossoms are 5-6 inches in width, sweetly fragrant, contain 40 petals, and are golden yellow in color with blushing pink edging. The plant grows 4-6 feet tall with a 24-inch spread. Note: Originally named 'Madame A. Meilland' the name 'Peace' was requested by its developer, French horticulturist Francis Meilland, as a more enduring appelation. The new name was announced the day Berlin surrendered to the Allies in World War II, April 29, 1945.
Note: These are a very few of Steinert's roses. Theta Steinert also donates all of the roses in the beautiful rose garden at Springfield, Missouri's, beautiful Botanical Center. To see these roses, simply click on Close Memorial Park Roses.
| ||Back to Other Plants--and Garden Color|
But back to plants. Among the most colorful annuals the nursery offers are Celosia in several species and varieties. Native to Africa, these plants are named after the Greek word kelos, meaning "burned," which refers to those with flame-like flower heads.They do spectacularly well in Ozarks gardens, thriving even in our hottest midwestern summers. But read on....
| ||'Century Fire' Celosia|
'Century Fire' Celosia (Celosia plumosa
'Century Fire') features tall, feathery flower plumes deep red in
color. This well-branched annual grows 24 inches tall and blooms early
in the season and up till frost. It's an easy-to-grow, highly eye-catching
addition to any garden and also works wonderfully well in containers.
| ||'New Look' Celosia|
Its beautiful deep-red foliage is fast-making 'New Look' Celosia (Celosia argentea plumosa 'New Look') a great favorite with gardeners who like vivid color. Extremely easy to grow, it grows to 14 inches tall and a foot wide and blooms beautifully all season long. Note: Foliage and flower color deepen as the season progresses.
| ||'Double Bridal Wreath' Spirea|
'Double Bridal Wreath' Spirea (Spirea cantoniensis 'Double Bridal Wreath') gets its name for its breathtaking double clusters of tiny white flowers. It grows upright with arching branches of dark bluish green foliage and blossoms from mid-spring to early summer. Given full sun or part shade, it can grow to 4-6 feet tall and as wide. Long treasured in the Ozarks, Spirea are becoming even more popular as more and more new hybrids appear.
| ||An Ocean of Lantanas|
Lantanas provide great garden color from spring to frost in the Ozarks, and Steinert's grows an ocean of them. Varieties of Lantana camara produce multicolor flowers and grow to 4 feet high and 6 feet wide. Those of Lantana montevidensis produce single-color flowers and grow to 1-1/2 feet tall with a spread up to 4 feet. Note: Superb on their own, they're almost always an extra-appealing addition to containers and hanging baskets.
| ||'Coral Nymph' Sage|
Certainly among Steinert's most beautiful annuals is 'Coral Nymph Sage' (Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph') with its bright green leaves and lovely spikes of delicate rose-pink and white flowers. This garden marvel grows to 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide, and sometimes even larger, with as little as 3 hours of direct sun per day. Best, it blooms prolifically all season long. A Big Bonus: It reseeds very nicely in the garden.
| ||'Vista Red' Sage|
'Vista Red' Sage (Salvia splendens 'Vista Red') is a perennial sage that features attractive green foliage and bright scarlet flowers from early summer to late fall. It likes full sun, tolerates heat and drought, and grows slowly to 30 inches tall and a foot wide. This versatile plant is good in borders, containers, and as a ground cover and will naturalize.
| ||'Sizzler Purple' Sage|
'Sizzler Purple' Sage (Salvia splendens
'Sizzler Purple') is an annual dwarf sage that grows 10 inches high and
a foot wide. In the garden the dense, flat, deep-purple flower spikes make it an
unusual presence and an interesting counterpoint to more finely defined
flowers. Good for beds and borders, it needs full sun and moderately
fertile, well-drained soil. It blooms in summer and fall and responds
well to deadheading.
| ||'Blue Eyes' Nierembergia|
'Blue Eyes' Nierembergia (Nierembergia frutescens 'Blue
Eyes') is a lovely annual that produces an abundance of beautiful white, lavender-shaded, inch-wide, saucer-shaped flowers with blue and yellow centers. Given full sun, it can grow to 16 inches tall with a 36-inch spread. It blooms all summer long, is perfect for borders or containers, and is
especially appealing in hanging baskets.
| ||Nemesia in Colors|
The white Nemesia is Sunsatia Coconut, one of the remarkable Sunsatia series of hybrids that also includes Sunsatia Cranberry, Lemon, Mango, Peach, Pineapple, and Raspberry. Sunsatias are crosses between annual and perennial Nemesia and while all have beautiful coloration, some characteristics vary. Note: The purple Nemesia in this photo is most likely 'Bluebird' (Nemesia fruticans 'Bluebird'), a lovely, very fragrant annual that grows in an upright clump to a foot tall and 10 inches wide and blooms from spring to fall.
| ||'Bressingham Purple' Polemonium|
'Bressingham Purple' Polemonium (Polemonium 'Bressingham Purple') may be best described as a compact Jacob's Ladder. This remarkable annual features very showy, fragrant, lavender flowers in April and May in part-to-full-shade exposures. It grows as tall as 18 inches with a similar spread. The common name: Jacob's Ladder.
| ||Orange New Zealand Sedge|
Orange New Zealand Sedge (Carex testacea) is a grass that provides wonderful variety in the garden with its needle-like orange-coppery foliage. A welcome addition to any border or cottage garden, it grows in a clump 2 feet tall that can spread to 5 feet if not controlled. It likes moist, well-drained soil and does well in full sun to part shade. Light green in spring, its coloring turns darker in fall and winter.
| ||Maiden Hair Grass|
Maiden Hair Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus') is a tall, beautifully showy ornamental grass that features graceful, arching green foliage and very striking feathery, copper-colored flower plumes in fall. Growing to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it's a guaranteed standout in garden or the landscape.
| ||'Dream Queen' Hosta|
Steinert's also manages to stock some unusually engaging hosta varieties. 'Dream Queen', for example, features large, nearly round leaves blue-green in color with creamy yellow centers and a uniquely free-spirited variegation pattern. It tolerates more sun than most hostas and grows to 16-18 inches tall and 24-26 inches wide.
| ||'Brim Cup' Hosta|
Many gardeners think 'Brim Cup' indispensable for
variety in the hosta garden, thanks to its thick, horizontal, puckered
and cupped leaves and striking creamy chartreuse edges. The plant can
reach 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
| ||'Wide Brim' Hosta|
The Hosta 'Wide Brim' is especially striking for wide, irregular, creamy leaf margins that develop gold tints as it matures. The leaves are an engaging, broadly ovoid shape and the plant grows to 20 inches high and 3 feet wide. It needs full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Important Note: Gardeners say this is one of the best of all hostas for bringing vivid color to the shade garden.
| ||'Twilight' Hosta|
'Twilight' is a beautiful Hosta that sports nicely shaped, rich green leaves with margins that can range from cream to yellow. It grows to 18 inches high and 36 inches wide. The leaves are about 7 inches long and In July and August the plant sends up lavender flowers.
| ||Miniature Hosta Varieties|
Steinert's also has a superb collection of miniature
and dwarf hostas. Ideal for rock gardens and small containers, they can
be as small as 6 inches wide when mature, but still command attention.
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