If you own a conservatory, greenhouse or even an enclosed porch then you may have everything you need to grow an exciting range of plants.
They are unique structures offering a well-lit, frost free and protected environment perfect for growing ‘Mediterranean’ type plants that cannot be grown anywhere else in the home or garden.
This guide selects plants that are generally easy to grow and carefree with exciting possibilities.
Many of the plants mentioned below can be viewed on our Plant Finder.
HOW TO SUCEED WITH CULTIVATION
Terracotta pots offer the best way of growing your plants. A size of 35cm-40cm (14”-18”) is best for the eventual size and we offer those in a range of colours and shapes. Remember to pick up a saucer too if you have purchased a pot with drainage holes. A few hanging plants will also add extra interest to your surroundings.
Any general compost is usually suitable unless otherwise specified. We recommend Tree & Shrub compost for shrubby subjects and a good Multi-purpose compost for most other plants.
Most plants like to remain on the dry side in the winter. Water well during the main growth period, especially during hot spells.
All plants featured need to remain frost free during the winter and a minimum temperature of 7-10ºC (45-50ºF) is essential. A small thermostatic heater will ensure this minimum.
In summer, if your conservatory or greenhouse gets very hot and bright, you should consider improving the ventilation and adding blinds or other shading material. No plants will survive for long in the 100ºF plus temperatures that an unventilated, unshaded conservatory or greenhouse facing south can reach!
Conservatory plants will not generally survive in modern day indoor room winter temperatures of 18-21ºC (65-70ºF) as they are not houseplants and do not enjoy a centrally heated atmosphere.
Most brand-name insecticides and fungicides will control any pests and diseases that your plants may suffer from, or you may consider biological control.
Some plants can be placed outside in pots on a warm, sunny, sheltered patio during the warmer summer months providing they are brought in again to a conservatory, greenhouse or porch before the first frosts and cold winds.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A GREENHOUSE
Don’t worry! We sell a very wide range of Greenhouses to extend your summer garden throughout the year. There are all types and sizes to suit every position (and every pocket!).
Please ask our Garden Buildings representatives for leaflets and information without obligation.
PLANTS FOR CONSERVATORIES AND GREENHOUSES IN SUNNY POSITIONS
If your structure faces E, SE, SW or W and therefore has sun for much of the day, then you can grow a wide range of plants, including many that are quite exotic.
SHRUBBY SITES FOR SUNNY SITES
- Abutilon (Flowering Maple): Exotic bell-shaped pendulous red, orange, yellow or white flowers. Plain green or mottled variegated leaves. All year round. Fast growing to 1-1.5m.
- Acacia dealbata (Mimosa): Fern-like leaves with fragrant yellow ‘fluffy ball’ flowers January to March. Eventual height 4m but can be controlled to two thirds of their height.
- Allamanda compactum: The smallest of this family of showy shrubs with lemon yellow trumpet shaped flowers from July to September. A. compactum grows to 50cm, but there are some climbers in this family which grow extremely vigorously and large and are not recommended for the average conservatory.
- Cestrum newellii: Clusters of tubular red flowers each about 2cm long in spring. Fast growing, height 2m. Can be grown by a very warm wall.
- Citrus Fruits (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit etc): Fragrant white waxy star shaped flowers followed by fruits but temperature of 18-24ºC (64-75ºF) required to ripen properly. Will take temperatures down to 10ºC (50ºF) in winter. See our separate culture leaflet
- Cordyline (Cabbage Palm): Although C. australis and C. indivisia grow outdoors in mild areas, they are ideal to grow along with additional varieties in full light throughout the year in conservatories.
- Erica gracalis/hyemalls: These ‘Bell Heathers’ with their pink or white tubular flowers will flower November then through Christmas. After flowering, pot into an ericaceous compost and stand outside in summer.
- Eucalyptus: Easy fast growing usually grey leaved shrubs examples including E. citriodora (Lemon Scented Gum) – an excellent ‘green’ air freshener, E. cordata (Silver Gum) and E. exima ‘Nana’ (Dwarf Golden Gum). Tall growing varieties can reach 18m but can be kept smaller!
- Jacaranda mimosaefolia: Foliage plants with graceful ‘ferny’ appearance. Yellow ‘fluffy ball’ flowers.
- Musa (Banana Plant): Grown principally for their exotic large foliage. Mature plants may fruit. 2-2.5m
- Nerium (Orleander): Glossy foliage with masses of white, pink or carmine shaded flowers. summer to Autumn. Sap is poisonous. 1-2m.
- Palms: Good specimen plants for the conservatory include Chamaedarea elegans (Parlour Palm) and Howea foberiana (Kentia Palm). Need min 10ºC (50ºF) in draught-free situation with protection from direct sun.
- Sollya (Australian Bluebell): Nodding Groups of sky blue bell-like flowers. Can climb. 1.5-2m.
- Stredtosolen jamesonii (marmalade Bush): Quick growing with orange/yellow flower clusters in summer. 2m
- Tibouchina (Glory Bush): Velvety leaves with pansy- shaped violet purple flower clusters in summer. 2m
FLOWERY PLANTS FOR SUNNY SITES
- Canna Lily: Exotic green, brown or purple broad leaves and orange, red or rich yellow flowers often orchid-like and speckled all summer. 1m.
- Clivia miniata: Strap shaped foliage with enormous umbels of large orange flowers in spring. 50cm.
- Hibiscus rosa ‘sinensis’ varieties: Olive green-brownish shiny coarsely toothed leaves and hollyhock-like yellow, pink, salmon or deep crimson flowers from July to September. 1.2m
- Lotus (Fire Vine): Trailing grey strap foliage with pea-like orange-red flame like flowers. Good for pot edges and hanging baskets. Spread 1m.
- Orchids: Not as difficult to grow as generally thought. O. cymbidium: Arching stems of typical orchid flowers with spectacular colours and markings which last well. O. paphiopedilum: Plain and mottled leaved types, the former better for cool conditions. Slipper-shaped and quaintly marked flowers. Varying heights.
- Pelargonium (Scented Geranium): Although also both a house and garden plant, they are desirable in conservatories to scent the air when conditions are warm. They will take a minimum winter temperature of 7º-10ºC (45º-50ºF).
- Soleirolia soleirolii (Bird of Paradise Flower): Most spectacular with bold spear-shaped leaves and large flowers in orange and blue like an exotic bird’s head produced summer and Christmas. Needs good light but shade from sun. 1-1.5m
TROPICAL OR EXOTIC PLANTS
- Bromeliads: Weird exotic plants. Some have very unusual flowers, others striking foliage. Most require bright light but not direct sun and a winter minimum of 10ºC (50ºF). They need a humid atmosphere in summer. Examples include Aechmea (Urn Plant), Ananas (Pineapple) and Neoreglia.
- Cacti & Succulents: Many to choose from. Most cacti
- have spectacular flowers at various times of the year.
- Good south-facing windowsill plants needing a minimum of 10ºC (50ºF). On hot summer days, try to provide good air circulation. Some of the most commonly found for sale are Echeveria, Mammilaria, Notocactus and Sedum.
CLIMBERS FOR SUNNY SITES
- Bougainvillea: Famed for their cerise, scarlet, deep pink or orange bracts surrounding insignificant white flowers. Needs good light to colour. 2.5m
- Cissus antarctica (Kangaroo Vine): Smoke tolerant foliage plant with dark green leaves with sharply toothed margins. Winter min 5ºC (41ºF). 3-4m.
- Mandevillea/Dipladenia: Glossy leaves, trumpet-like rose pink flowers June to September. 2m.
- Passiflora (Passion Flower): Easy to grow, its exotic flowers and evergreen leaves make this plant a great favourite. The best varieties are:
- P. caerula ‘Racemose’: Large purple flowers
- P. coccerea: Flowers bright red
- P. edulis: White & blue flowers with edible fruits September
- P. incence: Large purple flowers, strong sweet pea scent.
- P. ‘Lavender Lady’: Pendulous pink flowers, large edible fruits.
- All flower most of the summer and reach 2-3m.
- Plumbago capensis (Auriculata): Beautiful sky blue flowers all summer. Alba has white flowers. 3-4m.
- Stephanotis floribunda (Madagascar Jasmine): Powerfully fragrant white tubular flowers from May to October. Ideal for bouquets. 3m.
SHRUBBY PLANTS FOR SHADED SITES
- Fatsia japonica: Erect shrubs with large glossy mid-green leaves with seven to nine coarsely toothed leaves. White flowers in October. 3-4m.
- Ferns: Many to choose from but some recommended species are:
- Asplanium nidus (Bird’s Nest Fern)
- Cyrtomium falcatum (Holly Fern)
- Nephrolepsis exalta (Ladder Fern)
- Polypodium vulgare (Polypody)
- Pteris cretica (Ribbon Fern).
- These are generally garden hardy but are excellent for very shady cold conservatories.
- Grevillia robusta: Foliage shrub with deep green pinnate leaves up to 50cm long. Covered with silky hairs and are pale bronze when young. Needs lime free soil – plant in pot using ericaceous compost. 1-2m.
- Pilea cadierei (Aluminium Plant): Attractive foliage splashed with silver. Neat and bushy. 20cm.
CLIMBERS FOR SHADED SITES
- Fatshedera: Cross between Fatsia and Hedera (Ivy). Can be trained up supports as a climber. Hardy. Variegated form needs winter minimum 3ºC (37ºF).
- Hardenbergia violacea: Deep purple flower spikes in late winter. 1.8m
- Hedera (Ivy): As it is hardy, Ivy is ideal to climb or trail in a cold conservatory.
- Jasminum mesnyl (Primrose Jasmine): Strongly scented double yellow flowers February to April. 1.8m.
- Pandora jasminoides: Climber with glossy foliage and trumpet-like white flowers in summer. P. rosea has pink flowers. 2m.