Sun Safety: For You and Your Plants

Spring and summer are by far our favorite seasons here at Thornton Nursery. Mild weather means we’re back open for business, and the sun that comes with it brings us new growth and new friends in all of you. As we all begin to enjoy more time outdoors, it’s important to know both the benefits and dangers of the sun for you and your plants. And there’s no better time to talk about it than today, National Sunscreen Day!

The Sun and You

Sunshine and warm temperatures provide the perfect combination for a day in the yard. There’s nothing better than enjoying the outdoors while tending to your favorite plants and taking care of your green space. While the sun provides so many physical and mental benefits, like increased levels of serotonin and vitamin D, its effects can be harmful if not properly protected against. 

Keep yourself protected outdoors by applying sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and wearing a hat to keep the sun off your face. Without sunscreen, you risk developing skin cancer, increased signs of aging, and other forms of irreparable skin damage. Protecting yourself is as easy as a quick application of some lotion or spray to every area of exposed skin. Whether you go with a mineral or chemical sunscreen, spray or stick application,  and SPF 100 or SPF 30, your skin will thank you. With so many options to choose from, picking the right sunscreen for you can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few of our favorites:

The Sun and Your Plants

The sun is necessary for the healthy growth and development of our plants. However, plants can suffer damage from too much time in the sun. An important part of plant care is learning what type of sunlight your plant needs to flourish. Full sun, partial shade, or full shade placement can have a huge impact on the growth of your plant. When considering a new addition to your yard, be sure to take note of the amount of light you have in that location. Our team members can use that information to assist you in finding plants that will thrive in your environment. 

Think your plants may have sun damage? With plants, signs of sun damage caused by too much direct sun will look like:

  • Dark or bleached spots on leaves
  • Dry, hardened soil
  • Wilting with first exposure to sun (most common in baby plants being transplanted outdoors)

Tending to your plants on a warm sunny day should be stress relieving, not something to stress over. Get rid of the added worry of potential skin damage by applying some sunscreen before your next day outdoors. 

Enjoy the warm weather and keep on planting!

UPDATE: Opening for the Season April 25th

Thornton Nursery is opening for the season on Saturday, April 25 at 9 a.m., in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-59. We are looking forward to welcoming you back and assisting with all your planting needs!

While we are excited to serve our community once again, we remain committed to the health of our employees and customers. Thornton Nursery is fortunate in that we are an open air, outdoor location. We’re adhering to all guidelines and recommendations from Governor Whitmer and the CDC to keep our community, guests and team members healthy.

We’ve also adjusted our hours. Our new hours are as follows: Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition, we are asking for your help in keeping our community safe. Please follow all guidelines provided by the CDC and our governor. Consider wearing a mask when visiting our nursery, remain 6 feet apart from team members and other customers, use a credit or debit card if possible, and opt for call-ahead services like remote pay and curbside pick-up if you’re able. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at or give us a call at (248) 887-2217.

Thank you all so much for your continued support and patience through this difficult time. By supporting Thornton Nursery, you support our family. We can’t thank you enough!

Composing Compost


In a time focused on environmental consciousness, metal straws, and reusable water bottles, we’re highlighting another Earth-friendly way to reduce, reuse and recycle: composting. A simple and easy way to get rid of bits and pieces from a full day of cooking, composting provides an endless list of benefits for your soil and plants. 

There are a couple of different ways to start your compost pile. If you want to keep your project completely outdoors, you’ll need to start your compost pile directly on top of bare soil. If you’re starting during the winter or want to bring your operation indoors, use an indoor composting bin, such as this one available from Amazon. Once you have a spot for your compost, decide what you should or shouldn’t compost.

Do Compost:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Newspaper
  • Tea leaves
  • Corn cobs
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Cardboard

Don’t Compost:  

  • Bones or meat scraps: these will attract unwanted scavengers and pests to your garden.
  • Pulled weeds or diseased plants: these could spread and infect the plants you’re trying to grow. 

Important Note: While manure is used in composting and can be very beneficial, avoid using manure from pets in produce gardens. 

As you start composting, make sure to add your compost in layers alternating between dry and wet materials. This will help the materials you add decompose at the same rate. Keeping your compost pile moist is also essential. It doesn’t need to be sopping wet, just give your compost a light watering when you water the rest of your yard. Once you have your first few layers situated, make sure to cover your pile. You can use a  garbage can lid or piece of plywood for example. A cover traps heat and aids decomposition. It also keeps any pets out and ensures your compost won’t get over-watered by rain. Once you have your compost pile started, you no longer need to add in layers. Instead, mix in materials by giving your pile a good turn.

Composting enriches over-planted soil, prevents pests and harmful insects, and is a clean and safe alternative to chemical fertilizers. By simply taking the trash you were going to throw into the garbage and putting some of it back into the soil, you are doing your plants and our Earth a solid. 

COVID-19 Update

Update April 25, 2020: Thornton Nursery is now OPEN in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-59. We’re closely monitoring and following guidelines from the CDC.

A message to our friends, neighbors and incredible customers –

We’re living in unprecedented, uncertain times. The coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe has hit home for all of us, and we recognize the stress and strain this has caused each of you. In times like these, it is critical that each of us do our part to support our community. 

In keeping with precautionary guidelines, Thornton Nursery has made the difficult decision to delay opening for the season. This situation is ever-changing, and our team continues to monitor all updates and adjust to new recommendations accordingly. While our timeline is uncertain, we vow to keep you updated and informed regarding our official season opening.

Until then, we’ll be practicing some social distancing of our own and taking all necessary precautions. The trees, shrubs and plants we pride ourselves on will continue to receive the tender loving care they need, and we’re still available to answer any questions you may have regarding inventory or product care. We’ll also be posting updates and new content across our website and social media profiles.

Since 1964, Thornton Nursery has been committed to growing and supporting our community. We remain dedicated to our friends, neighbors, customers and family through these trying times. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns on any of our social media pages, by email at or by phone at (248) 887-2217.

Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to growing with you in a healthier future! Until then, be safe and be well.

With sincere well-wishes, 


The Thornton Nursery Team

Honorary Green Thumb

 At Thornton Nursery, we know not everyone is born with a green thumb. If you try every year to bring home pretty new green things to plant just to watch them wither away, Thornton Nursery is here to help with some quick tips on general plant health. Knowing what to look for may be the hardest part of the battle. Is your plant getting too much or too little sun? Should you water your plants every day or is the rain enough? While each species of plant is unique, having a good understanding of why your plant looks like it needs a doctor is a step in the right direction. 

If you are the proud new owner of any of our plants, making sure your plant is getting enough water is crucial to its long and fruitful life. After planting your new addition in the appropriate soil, make sure you give that plant some water, enough to get at least 6 inches of the soil around the root area completely wet. Newly planted trees require extensive watering: start with a thorough watering every day for 4 or 5 days, then gradually reduce the frequency of watering. When watering, slowly apply water to the rootball and the surrounding soil. 

Keeping a relatively consistent watering schedule is an important part of plant care. Plants are pretty self sufficient as long as we are able to give them water. However, if you notice any of these signs of under-watering, you may need to give your plant some extra love. Wilting or dry, dead leaf tips are clear signs of a plant that is not getting enough water. Soil that is dry to the touch a couple inches down or has visible animal footprints in it are both good indicators of under-watering. Slow growth could also be a sign that your plant may need to be watered more, but keep in mind this could also be an issue with your soil or sunlight exposure. 

Lack of sunlight is generally a bigger issue for indoor plants, but can be a problem for outdoor plants, too. Is your plant yellowing on the leaves or looking dull? Is its growth slowing or stopped? Maybe its stems and leaves are small and thin, or it just won’t flower? All of these symptoms may indicate a need for your plant to be moved to an area that gets more sun. 

Understanding what your plant needs so that you can get the most out of your new green friend is as simple as knowing what to look for. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still have a beautiful yard full of thriving, healthy plants. 

Keep in mind, these are general tips and may not be specific to your exact plant. Always follow the instructions of our knowledgeable nursery staff, and feel free to contact us with questions or concerns. We’re happy to help!