use of conservatories tends to prevent them
being used for plants. Reasons are many and
varied; the pots are too large, the plants take
up too much space, the leaves fall, there are
pests and anyhow the room is too sunny and hot.
Look at it the other way. The plants will offer
welcome shade, most of them can be set outside
for the summer, they add interest, foliage and
flower colour and above all many are highly
For gardeners it allows us to grow those plants
that are too tender to grow outside such as
bougainvillea and aloe.
are lots of showy plants that are ideal for
containers but among the best are agapanthus
and clivia. Both have large, strap-like, glossy
green leaves with spectacular flowers. The former
produces large, spherical clusters of various
shades of blue or pure white flowers in late
summer. Clivia miniata will flower from spring
to late summer with large umbels of funnel-shaped,
yellow, orange or red flowers.
Drega sinensis is sometimes labelled as Wattakaka
sinensis. It is an evergreen climber that is
hardy on a sunny, south facing wall in a very
sheltered garden. In the conservatory it will
grow to 3 metres (10 ft ) in height. In summer
it produces umbels of creamy white, red and
pink speckled flowers. They are incredibly fragrant.
tender climber is the strongly perfumed Mandevilla
laxa better known as Chinese jasmine. It's tubular,
creamy white flowers appear in summer and early
autumn. It is vigorous growing to 4 metres (13
ft) high but will be somewhat restricted in
a container. If it needs to be curtailed then
shorten the side shoots to 3-4 buds in late
winter or early spring.
A word of caution. Through wounds it exudes
a milky latex that may cause skin irritation.
If strong sunlight is a problem in the conservatory
and roof blinds prove to be too expensive than
plant a vine and train it on wires across the
roof. The large leaves will cool the room and
perhaps someone will peel you grapes!
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