Choosing Conservatory Plants
Though a conservatory and a greenhouse both contain plants, a conservatory is more of a house extension that could be used for relaxation of the whole family. A conservatory may well be used to receive a small group of friends for tea or snacks. A conservatory can be your hobby room where you can grow your favourite plants for your own pleasure.
A conservatory can create a soothing and relaxing space for eating, reading, studying and generally de-stressing. It employs the basic design principle of a greenhouse in terms of natural lighting, ventilation and temperature control but has the comforts of an interior room with its tall windows, seats, tables, and other interior decorating elements. You can opt to use solid wood, laminates, stone or ceramic flooring in the conservatory. The best flooring material though is terra cotta as they act as thermal mass during the day and slowly releases heat at night.
You can choose to hang curtains and layout are rugs where you deem appropriate. You can put up bookshelves on one wall and even a desk for writing or for your laptop. A conservatory could be your home office and what a nice and green home office that would be.
To avoid glare and too much sun in the summer months, you can opt to fit the glass roof or polycarbonate roof with roof blinds to reduce glare and create some shade. The placement of cost-effective light bulbs is crucial for the plants during the cold winter months.
Plants for the Conservatory
Raising indoor plants is still the number one reason for building a conservatory. Gardening, whether indoor or outdoor is a very pleasurable and relaxing activity. Is it possible to grow grapes and those wonderfully scented Stargazers or those exotic Orchids? Why not? Most plants will thrive in a conservatory for after all, the temperature and humidity are controlled all year round. Your choices then will depend on the type of plants that you like to grow in the conservatory. If you are aiming for fruits, then you go ahead and choose dwarfed fruit bearing trees. If you are more into flowering shrubs, pick out the ones you like most. If you just want to have a lot of greens without the required maintenance, then choose hardy plants like ferns and cacti. If you have the energy and passion to take care of exotic plants, pick some wonderful orchids like cattleyas and Vandas for your flora.
If you want a balanced conservatory with different types of plants, here are some recommended ones that are quite easy to grow and maintain yet are colourful and a delight.
Bougainvilleas are perfect flowering plants for the conservatory. This plant species is available in different vibrant colours. They are in bloom 10 months a year. They have the tendency to be climbers too when left to grow.
Clivia are trumpet-shaped flowers that have different varieties. These plants are in vibrant orange, yellow and cream. They usually bloom in the spring through fall and rest in the winter.
Cacti and succulent bulbs like aloe vera, tunilla, disocactus and many more will definitely thrive in a conservatory. There are over 2000 named varieties of cactus and majority bloom at least once. These plants are low maintenance and even knew gardeners will have no problem growing these plants.
Climbers such as roses and luteas are great additions to the conservatory. Aside from their colourful blooms, these flowers are also sweet smelling." Lady of the night" is a greenish white flower that is fairly regular. However, when night comes, this flower will scent the conservatory, your house even with a light but distinctively sweet and floral scent. Flowers from summer to autumn, this plant is a must-have for the conservatory.
Jasmines varieties are ideal for conservatories as they are climbers too and can literally fill the whole space with their blooms and lovely fragrance. The flowers are mostly white and they bloom all summer long. These are ideally placed where there is plenty of sunshine but are hardy enough to tolerate temperatures down to 0° Celsius.
For a more exotic variety, choose Bird of Paradise plant. It's bloom of blue and orange flowers are a sight to see. This plant will thrive in the summer and in a frost-free conservatory during winter.
Oleander is native in the Mediterranean. It is an evergreen shrub with clusters of pink flowers. It is in full bloom during the summer months and will thrive in the winter if there is no frost. Note that the plant is harmful to eat. To keep the flower in bloom, keep it under the sun.
The Chinese Banana is a sacred plant to Buddhists. This is a slow growing banana-like exotic plant with a big yellow artichoke-like flower that can last for months. However, the fruit cannot be eaten. This will thrive well in sunny but shaded spot.
Most indoor and outdoor plants will do well in the conservatory. You can even plant oranges, peaches and grapes if you like as their size is fairly manageable. There are some points that you should remember when choosing and planting conservatory plants. Try to grow plants at varied levels. Plant some on the ground soil, some on pots on the floor, on shelves, window sills and on hanging baskets. Tropical plants and climbers can be guided into wires so they could cover the walls and rafters. Choose plants that are scented for its wonderful fragrance would definitely delight you.
You can bring in some of the outdoor plants during the winter for shelter. These plants will continue to flower if the temperature is right. Remember to water the plants, as in soak, at least once a week.