Set on turning your new conservatory or orangery into a house plant haven? Let us help. We all want your plants to be happy, so in this article, we’ll be discussing which plants relish the sunshine and are best suited to life in your conservatory.
How big do you want your plants?
When choosing your conservatory plants, consider how big you’d like them to be. And crucially, how big you’re happy for them to grow to. This seems like a simple point, but size is an important factor when curating your dream plant-filled conservatory.
It goes without saying that some plants will continue growing until they reach the top of the tallest pitched roof, while others will stay small for years. We’d advise staying away from plants that are predisposed to grow into huge verdure if you’d like minimal, low-maintenance greenery.
Of course, if you’ve fallen for a plant that’s hardwired to grow, it can still look great in your conservatory. You’ll just need to prune it! A quick search on the internet will tell you how to do it and it isn’t too tricky, though it might take some time and dedication.
And on the topic of dedication…
How much upkeep are you willing to do?
Everyone wants to think that they’ll always care for their plants. And while you may well have the greenest thumb around, it’s good to have an idea about how much TLC you’re really willing to give to your plants throughout their lifetime. The last thing you want to do is let them down.
Plus, if you tend to forget about watering the plants in the rest of your home, travel away from home often, or want plants that will (almost) look after themselves, you’ll definitely need to consider your choice of plants.
Weird and wonderful, yet coincidentally high-maintenance, plants can be tempting, but try to make sensible decisions. Perhaps it sounds dramatic but it’s better to say goodbye to a would-be plant now than be sad when it dies.
There is an exception to this advice. If you’re planning to make horticulture your new hobby (and you’re truly committed), then get all the plants you want. You’ll just need to educate yourself on their specific needs, which might require a few labels or notes if you’ll be keeping lots of plants in your conservatory.
What temperature is your conservatory?
Conservatories are built to let in sunlight, so it’s no surprise that they are filled with just that. Plus, their large panes of glass mean they can get very warm. House plants love environments that mirror their natural habitats, so specimens native to hot and humid climates will have a wonderful time in your conservatory.
It’s worth remembering that in summer, conservatories and orangeries can get quite dry. We mentioned that humidity-loving plants will like your conservatory. Still, during the hotter months, you’ll need to ensure that they have enough moisture. You can easily do this by frequently misting their leaves with a spray bottle or placing their pots in a saucer filled with water.
Conservatories tend to be warm, but not all of them. That’s right. If your conservatory is old or faulty (and needs an upgrade), tropical plants might not thrive. The gaps in your panes, poor quality glazing, and old, worn roofs will let heat escape much more readily than a new conservatory will. If you have high heating bills and notice a chill in your conservatory, it’s probably a little worse for wear.
Likewise, if you live in a cold area of the UK, your conservatory might not be providing the tropical environment you’d hope for — which again, will limit your selection of suitable plants.
Large conservatory plants
If you’re looking for some specific house plant recommendations, you’re in luck. Here are some of our large conservatory plant picks.
- White bird of paradise – also known as the Strelitzia Nicolai or wild banana. A fabulous green, leafy classic. If you’re looking for large, you’ll be delighted to hear it can grow to six metres tall.
- Blue hesper – or Brahea Armata, can grow over ten metres tall. Being from Central America, it thrives in full sun and dry air.
- Fishtail palm – for a large leafy plant with a touch of personality. It has fin-like leaves and will grow to (a slightly more modest) one metre tall. It can withstand very bright light.
- Dracaena marginata – this plant can also grow up to one and a half metres tall and has tufts of aesthetic strap-like foliage.
Easy-care conservatory plants
Looking for some easy-care options? Try these hardy plants…
- Devil’s Ivy – an attractive yet low maintenance option. Devil’s Ivy will thrive with minimal watering and can handle the heat. Plus, it loves bright light and humidity.
- Cacti and succulents – anyone can keep these plants alive! These hardy specimens don’t need much watering.
- Sago palm – also known as Cycas revoluta, is a tropical plant with feathery foliage. This cycad (that’s right, it’s not actually a palm) does well in bright light — handy for a conservatory.
- Mandevilla ‘Hybrid Pink’ – if you’re looking for a plant to add an exotic edge to your conservatory, this climbing perennial will do the trick. Their pink and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers really make a plant array ‘pop’.
If you want our advice on plants that won’t thrive in a conservatory, we’d say keep any shade-loving plants in your home (and out of the sun). There will be no escape from the rays in your conservatory. Likewise, some other plants can easily bleach in the sun — so keep these out of direct sunlight if you don’t want it to happen.
Have fun with your green transformation! Your conservatory will look better than ever.