Conservatories provide the perfect winter oasis…Published on 18th December 2014
Although at Apropos we’ve worked hard to dispel the popular image of the conservatory as being little more than a place to overwinter tender garden plants, in favour of a fully functional addition to the home, we have to admit that the two uses are not mutually exclusive. With high natural light levels and even temperature, a well-maintained conservatory can be the perfect spot for all kinds of plants, meaning that even in the winter months you can have a calming green oasis to escape to.
All plants have different needs though, so it’s important to select the right ones for the conditions you can offer.
Plants for a Temperate Conservatory
If your Apropos conservatory is kept at a comfortable temperature, there are a wealth of plants that will thrive in the winter months.
Although a shade-lover, the maidenhair fern (Adianthum Fragrans), which will provide beautiful, delicate foliage year-round, will be happy in a conservatory if sheltered by other, taller plants. Tree ferns (Dicksonia Antarctica) will also do well.
Climbers, such as jasmine or plumbago can bring colour and scent, while citrus trees – lemon, orange, lime – will bring a touch of period elegance.
For a hit of exotic colour try some amaryllis blubs. Growing up to two feet tall, the graceful stems explode into three huge blooms, usually in red, white or pink.
Christmas cactus, poinsettias (which are poisonous for cats, so beware), and vibrant orange clivia are also popular at this time of year.
If you’re worried about watering, air plants may also be worth considering!
Plants for a Cooler Conservatory
If you’re working with an older, less thermally efficient conservatory, you can still create a little indoor garden, you just need to opt for a different selection of plants.
British native evergreen ferns (Polypodium, Polystichum, Asplenium and Drypoteris) can fill a cold conservatory with their stately fronds, while the elegant burgundy leaves of the cordyline will compliment beautifully.
For a splash of colour it can be well worth looking at those old forced Christmas favourites; hyacinths with their sumptuous scent; ‘Paperwhite’ narcissus and cyclamen. Indoor azaleas in pink, red and white finery can look stunning, while those darlings of the hedgerow, primroses and polyanthus can fill a pot splendidly.
Daphne odora and Christmas box will also bring colour and scent.
All indoor plants need a little TLC, but if you find the right plant for the right place it will bring you happiness, purifying your air and making your house look homely.