Conservatories are typically positioned to receive full sun and are built with large windows to let in sunlight. Some of the best plants for conservatories are those native to hot, humid climates, which conservatories can replicate well. They provide an opportunity to grow many plants that otherwise can’t be successfully grown in the UK.
In the heat of summer, conservatories can become very dry and lack humidity. While some plants thrive in these conditions, most benefit from growing in a more humid environment. Sitting pots on a saucer filled with water and pebbles, plus misting the leaves regularly, can increase humidity levels when needed.
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Discover some of our favourite plants to grow in conservatories, below.
Mandevilla ‘Hybrid Pink’Mandevillas are showy, tropical climbers with large, usually colourful, trumpet-shaped blooms. They’ll do best in a partially shaded area of a conservatory with warm, humid growing conditions.
Bougainvillea ‘Scarlet O’Hara’Bougainvillea are fantastic plants, bearing small flowers surrounded by colourful bracts in a range of tones. They’re ideally suited to growing in sunny, humid conservatories as they’re frost tender, so can’t be grown outdoors all year round.
Hoya bellaHoyas are renowned for their richly perfumed flowers, so they’re ideal for conservatory cultivation, where you can get the best of their scent. Generally, hoyas grow best in bright, indirect sunlight, which will encourage flower production.
Plumbago auriculata f. alba and Plumbago auriculataYou can commonly spot plumbagos growing in the Mediterranean outdoors all year, but in the UK they’re usually too tender to do the same with. Fortunately, they’re easily grown in sunny conservatories and will provide beautiful flowers for months on end.
Pitcher plant, Sarracenia flava var. atropurpureaPitcher plants thrive in the sun, so they’re ideal for the sunniest parts of your conservatory. However, these bog plants do need to be constantly standing in a tray or saucer of rainwater, so make sure you’ll be able to supply this, for example using the water from a water butt, before buying.
Lapageria rosea ‘Nash Court’Despite exotic appearances, the Chilean bellflower can actually take temperatures down to -5ºC, though it’s great for growing in a shady corner of the conservatory, too. Needs ericaceous soil.
Bird of paradise, Strelitzia reginae, in flower. Photo: Getty Images.With their distinctive flowers and large, paddle-shaped leaves, strelitzias are popular plants for conservatories. Strelitzia reginae is perhaps the most frequently grown, but you could also try the white-flowered Strelitzia nicolai, though it’s only really suitable for those with a large conservatory.
White Hymenocallis speciosa flower. Photo: Getty Images.Spider lilies, Hymenocallis, are exotic bulbs native to southern parts of North America, northern parts of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. These tender, bulbous perennials can be grown in containers in conservatories, where they’ll exude a heady fragrance. Spider lilies to try growing include Hymenocallis littoralis and Hymenocallis x festalis.
Dutchman’s pipe, Aristolochia sempervirensCommonly known as Dutchman’s pipe, aristolochias are twining climbers with heart-shaped leaves and distinctive, often chocolate-brown flowers that resemble smoking pipes. Species to have a go at growing in conservatories include Aristolochia elegans and Aristolochia grandiflora.
Cacti and succulents
Aeonium ‘Kiwi’We couldn’t end this list without mentioning the many lovely types of cacti and succulents to grow – nearly all of which should thrive in the warm, sunny conditions a conservatory provides. Discover some of our favourite succulents to grow for more ideas.