Greenhouse says with 180K square feet, heating is challenging

GERMANTOWN (WITI) -- It's March, and with the winter we've seen, many of us just cannot wait until spring -- but we're still seeing snow and bitterly cold temperatures. So, while many of us may be starting to think about what we'll plant this spring -- gardening experts say the weather is impacting plants and flowers.

At Karthauser & Sons Wholesale Florist in Germantown, it takes a lot to grow the plants and keep them looking fresh.

The wholesale florist has 180,000 square feet of greenhouse space, and heating it has been a challenge this winter.

"We had those couple of nights where we had those 50mph winds, and it actually peeled the whole roof right off on a couple of panels. You get a lot of snow up in the gutters, and then it makes the greenhouse darker than normal, and that affects how things grow," Brian Karthauser told FOX6 News.

In order to keep plants and flowers looking lush, staff had to step things up inside.

"There's 13 (greenhouses). They all have heating fans that run underneath the benches. The source of the hot water here is the wood," Karthauser said.

It is not possible to consolidate the greenhouses because everything has its own temperature zone. The company produces plants and flowers year-round, and has recently taken extensive measures to heat the massive facility.

"It's meaning a lot more burning of natural gas. Right now, we go through about four semi loads every week. We do have retention curtains for heating. We burn wood for an alternative source, but then the high prices of diesel cost more to have it shipped here, so it's always something. Right now it almost seems like whatever you're going to sell -- you're almost using to pay the heating bill," Karthauser said.

Karthauser doesn't believe he'll be looking at much profit this year, but says he's thankful he's able to keep his bountiful stock, so folks can at least have a bright and cheerful spring and summer.

"I think once winter breaks, people are going to be chomping at the bit to plant stuff outside -- so that's a good thing," Karthauser said.

Karthauser & Sons says it will raise prices a little bit to help off-set the heating costs, but says there is only so much prices can go up. Karthauser says customers shouldn't feel the impact too much.