Which plants are best for heated conservatories/porches… Conservatories are an obvious place for growing houseplants, big leafy plants or smaller succulent / cactus type plants look equally fab. Lots of natural light equals lots of photosynthesis (growth!). However, it is important to consider the temperature fluctuations in a conservatory.
It can get very hot in a conservatory in the summer and very cold in the winter. The position of the sun in relation to your conservatory will affect the temperature greatly. This will suit some houseplants but others will hate it so it is important to choose your plants carefully. There are many cacti and succulents that love direct sun and don’t mind cold at night or through winter (as long as their soil is kept on the dry side), so if you acclimatize them slowly, they should do well.
It is important to consider how low temperatures might drop to during winter, particularly if your conservatory is not heated with central heating though-out winter. It can get very cold in there, especially if there is little or no direct sun during the day (in my case, surrounding trees and a garage completely block direct sun during winter months) . Ideally temperatures should remain over 10 degrees (C), any less would only suit hardy plants.
(Please see my post ‘best houseplants for an unheated conservatory‘ if your conservatory does not have consistent heat throughout the winter months).
This is my conservatory during summer, the conservatory has two radiators but the heating is switched off at times during the day and it is off all night so it gets really cold. There are quite a few plants that I bring into the house at the start of autumn/beginning of winter.
If your conservatory has consistent heat throughout winter (with a minimum of around 10 degrees C (50F) even at night), the following are some plants that I would recommend as suitable:
1. Money plant / Jade plant (Crassula ovata) – Perfect for a conservatory, this plant should last for many years as they are very easy to care for. It likes lots of bright light and even some direct light (though don’t leave it in full sun all day). It requires temperatures of around 18-24 degrees (C) in summer and a low of 10 degrees (C) in winter. Water it well then let the soil dry out before its next watering. Feed it once in summer and once in spring. They are said to bring good fortune to its owner.
2. Fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) – I love the look of these plants; I think they bring a sense of the outdoors, indoors! Provide it with a temperature of 18-24 degrees (C) during summer and a minimum of 10-12 degrees (C) during winter. Position it away from draughts and radiators, in a bright spot (but not direct sunlight or the leaves will burn). Water it when the top of the soil has dried out during summer and sparingly in winter. Mist the leaves during summer. Feed once a month during spring and summer. This should keep your fiddle happy.
3. Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis blume) – There are so many orchids to choose from but Moth orchid is one of the easiest to grow. It also likes temperatures of 18-24 degrees (C) and bright indirect light, so make sure it is in a shaded spot in the conservatory. Water once a week during spring and summer and once a fortnight during winter; though don’t let roots dry out completely, nor let it sit too long in water. It is best watered by dipping it into a container of water and letting it sit for around 15 minutes then letting the water drain out.
4. Pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) – This palm grows quite large so make sure you have the space for it. It requires temperatures of around 18 degrees (C) and bright indirect sun. Water it well during summer months and mist daily to increase the humidity. Water more sparingly in winter, though don’t let the soil dry out completely, keep it slightly moist.
5. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) – A bright conservatory is perfect for String of Pearls (or String of Beads as its often known as) as it needs plenty of light. It likes as bright as possible, some direct sunlight, though not all day long. This plant is a succulent and stores water in its pearls/beads, so doesn’t need too much watering. Let the soil dry out between waterings. If pearls start to shrivel however, it needs more water. It doesn’t need much in the way of fertiliser either, once in spring and once in summer is enough.
These are just a few suggestions, there are of course loads of plants that would thrive in a conservatory. If you have plants in mind, do a bit of research to see what the particular plant likes, then see if you can replicate this. There is no point in putting a plant that loves shade in a sunny conservatory; nor is there any point in placing a sun loving plant in a shady spot.
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Disclaimer: None of the information shared should be used as a replacement for seeking medical attention.