A guide to choosing and growing plants in an orangery

For the keen plant enthusiast, an orangery or conservatory provides another dimension in gardening. A wide variety of species thrive in these conditions and tender and exotic plants can be nurtured and appreciated.

Historically, orangeries were used to grow citrus fruits and were a status symbol of aristocrats. Nowadays, orangeries are designed as additional spaces for family living and are wonderful links to the outside world.

New glazing technology provides greater flexibility in choosing plants as the ambient temperatures are more comfortable all year round.
Climbers and shrubs add to the décor and structure of a room. They bring life into a room and help to purify the air. Heavenly scents provide aromatic atmospheres which are a delight to enjoy.

Ventilation

This is probably the most important factor to consider when growing plants. Windows and doors can be left open during the summer to bring cooler fresh air in and keep the air circulating. Also some structures have electronic thermally controlled roof vents which can be programmed to open once the room reaches a certain temperature. This air movement is helpful in reducing problems with pests and diseases.

Humidity

Most plants seem to be much happier growing in a humid environment rather than a dry one. The frequency and amount of watering is the key regulator of humidity. Try standing your potted plants on a tray or saucer of damp gravel to increase the local humidity. An occasional spray with water may also benefit the plants.

Scented Plants

Scent is often described as the soul of a plant or flower and on warm, summer evenings you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scent permeating around your room.

Jasminum azoricum

This Madeiran native has a delightful scent. Its lax stems makes a twining climber. It is relatively tough and will take 0°C in winter. Prune in the spring.

Stephanotis floribunda

A very attractive shrub which is grown for its frangrance as well as its colour. Leathery, glossy leaves with clusters of white waxy flowers open from Spring to Autumn.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

A woody, evergreen climber which flowers mid to late summer with pure white scented flowers. Plant in loam-based compost and place in full light but not direct sun.

Grown for their colour

Plants play an important role in the interior of a conservatory or orangery. The external landscape is bought inside to add colour and vibrancy to the décor. Interior walls are perfect for growing colourful climbers and will provide a living art.

Plumbago capensis

One of the best conservatory plants which comes from South Africa and has branches that resemble vines with a profusion of blue phlox-like flowers. Plant in loam-based compost.

Bougainvillea

A must-have climber that is ideal for conservatories as it likes heat in the summer and can tolerate winter chill. Flowers throughout the summer with a variety of colours to choose from – purple, pink and orangey-amber.

Morning glory

All Morning glories produce typical funnel-shaped blossoms in white, blue, purple, red and white. As in the name, its flowers are vines which are saucer shaped which open at morning time. They thrive in full sunlight.

Topical Plants

As trends change some plants are more fashionable at certain times. The minimalistic look attracts designer style plants and living walls are another option. Cacti, succulents and palms are easy to maintain and fall into this

Sedum morganianum

A particularly fun plant which has masses of overlapping, succulent leaves on trailing stems

Phoenix canariensis

This is a fast growing palm which can be potted and grown within a conservatory. Its architectural shape features arching fonds.

Traditional Plants

Citrus plants have successfully been associated with orangeries due to the ideal conditions for their growth. They provide colour, scent and fruit which, throughout the year can be very satisfying and rewarding. They need regular feeding from the beginning of spring to autumn.

Meyer Lemon

A hybrid citrus fruit which is a cross between a citron and a mandarin. Grow in loam-based potting compost in full light.

Citrus madurensis

This is a pretty orange plant that grows into a small tree. It keeps fruit and flowers on the plant for most of the year. Water moderately.

Orangeries and conservatories are a very popular choice for extending homes and with them comes a unique space that brings the outside in. If you are looking to transform your home, contact us for more information.

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