Growing Conservatory Plants
If you are lucky enough to have a conservatory, or are considering getting one then you should really consider brightening up the place with a few plants. And seeing as you have a nice warm conservatory, why not think about some of the more exotic plants?
Conservatory Plants Available
The options for conservatory plants are practically unlimited! However you may want to think about conservatory plants that produce interesting fruits for you to eat. Lemon plants, Fig Trees, Chilli Plants or even Passion Fruit Plants will all look great in your Conservatory as well as producing some small treats in the summer months. I for one would love to settle down to a Gin and Tonic with fresh lemon plucked from my Lemon Tree in the Conservatory. Lemon and Orange plants will also produce a great fragrance all through the summer months.
A south-facing position means that the conservatory will be lovely and warm on sunny days, but become extremely hot in the summer, when the temperature, light and humidity will be much harder to manage. East and west-facing conservatories have their advantages and there are plenty of plants that can be grown in either. You will find that you are constantly rearranging your specimens as they grow and flower at different times
How much light do Conservatory plants need?
Exotic Conservatory plants tend to need more light than your average household plant. However in mid summer then even the UK weather may be too much for them when they are placed in a south facing conservatory. So you may require blinds or shades to prevent your plants from literally being cooked in the summer months! However North or East facing conservatories may not need shading.
Conservatory Plant Temperature
Conservatory plants generally do like to be kept warm, hence why they are conservatory plants! However excessive heat can be damaging to even the most tropical plants and care must be taken to avoid overheating. Again blinds will keep out the worst of the sun's rays, but be sure to give your plants plenty of water in the height of summer.
You will have more problems in winter, where the temperatures could drop to dangerous levels. Usually conservatory plants do not like to go below 6 or 8 degrees Celcius, but you will need to check for the individual plant. Usually a small portable heater will be able to keep the temperature warm enough even with a frost outside.
Watering Your Conservatory Plants
The amount of water a plant will depend on the temperature, light, type of plant, and whether it is in fruit or not. Obviously the more leaves a plant has the more water it will tend to require.
Most plants will require watering once a day in the summer months and much less so in winter. Do not fall into the trap of overwatering you plants, you will quickly rot the roots and cause massive damage. Underwatering obviously will damage a plant but you will be amazed at how quickly a conservatory plant recovers no matter how wilted it looks. If you are often out of the house, or just plain forgetful then it is probably worth investing in some small plant water feeders. These are small porcelin cups that sit in your pot and gradually drop feed water to the plant.
Looking after Conservatory Plants
As with all plants you should look after your Conservatory plants by following a few simple steps
Plant Pot Size - Make sure that each plant is in a big enough pot, if in doubt then you should repot!
Feeding Conservatory Plants - You should feed the plants regularly, especially during Sping and Summer when they are growing fastest. Different plants will require different types of fertiliser, for example you can get special fertiliser for Citrus plants, especially useful when they are flowering and fruiting.
Pruning- Do not be afraid to over prune most plants. Generally prune after flowering to give a full year for flowering growth to develop; or in late Winter/early Spring just as growth is starting. Pinching out tips of bushy plants regularly can reduce the need for drastic pruning, and produces a nice well-shaped plant with lots of flowering shoots.
Controlloing Plant Bugs- Keep checking you Conservatory plants for bugs and watch for any strange signs that may indicate a bug infestation. If you catch them early then a quick treatment of insecticide should do the trick. For more established bug colonies you may have to use repeat insecticidal treatments, but eventually you should get there.