A year ago I was scouring the books to find ideas for greenhouse plants to grow in my dream new glasshouse. Much of the greenhouse is given over to raising plants from seed or cuttings, but as a plant lover I thought it could also be a destination – a mini Kew Gardens – somewhere to be surrounded by lovely plants. This morning, and yesterday, the rain has fallen heavily bringing welcome moisture to the soil but inhospitable gardening conditions. On days like these, the greenhouse is somewhere to go for a little tea break. My collection is slowly expanding and many are coming into flower after a winter of dormancy in the greenhouse.
If you’re looking for easy ornamental greenhouse plants to grow, here are some good ideas, but in fact many of these would work well as houseplants in a bright location.
Oh my goodness these flowers are stunning and fill the greenhouse with a delicious scent. The flowers on this plant have been developing for a while so I’d stopped checking them daily. Yesterday I went into the greenhouse and was struck by a sweet scent filling the air. And there it was, a the beautiful creamy flower of the Epiphyllum.
Regular readers of this blog my remember that last year I bought four different varieties of Epiphyllum in hanging baskets in the greenhouse. The succulent leaves are long and unruly so giving the room to hang down helps to create a goo display. One is on a hoist so that I can raise and lower it for watering. So far, there are only buds on two of the plants but I hope others will develop soon, especially with a bit of tomato fertiliser to give them a boost.
Being a succulent, these are really easy to grow and don’t seem to mind a bit of drying out in between watering.
I bought this plant at Hampton Court Flower Show last year from Tynings Climbers, who had an amazing array of exotic looking climbing plants on their stand, and were helpful with their advice and suggested varieties. My plant has sometimes struggled a bit. At times it grows quickly and healthily, at others it just seems to stop doing anything. Several buds have formed on this plant over the last year but none have quite opened before, dropping off disappointingly to the floor. I think its quite sensitive to changes in temperature, watering regimes and the like but this week, unhelpfully turned shyly towards the wall, this flower finally showed me what this plant is made of.
I’m not sure it’s beautiful but it’s exotic and crazy and alluring and I love it. This isn’t the best photo as it was hard to get in a good position to capture it but hopefully you can see the purple and white striped frilly filaments either side of the centre. It’s weird and wonderful and I’m hoping that the further buds will open in a more helpful position.
I am growing this greenhouse plant in a pot, trained against the warm south facing brick wall and in the section of the greenhouse that I try to keep at about 10 degrees C over the winter. This plant could take lower temperatures over the winter but probably not low single figures in order to thrive. I’m slowly trying to figure out what it needs, how much water, how much food, and this flower shows me I’m getting there…
I bought six small Streptocarpus plugs in a mixed box a couple of months ago. Bred by renowned Streptocarpus nursery, Dibleys, I and have been really pleased with them. I’d already read that Streptocarpus are reliable, easy to grow flowers. My plugs are still pretty small but this hasn’t stopped 5 out of 6 of them putting up flowers. The colours of those already in flower are vibrant and attractively marked,
This picture is of one called “Targa”, which is a velvety blue/purple. The photograph does not do it justice.
If you’re looking for a reliable flower for a home windowsill or the lower shelves of a greenhouse, these would be a fantastic choice. Th eonly thing to remember is that they prefer soft water, so I use rainwater from a water butt. They also don’t take kindly to direct sunshine.
I’ve shared pictures of this plant before, having bought a large one, 25m in diameter (not pictured), at a plant fair last year. It wasn’t named but looking online it looks like one called ‘avalon’. If any succulent experts know its name I’d love to know.
Regardless, it flowered beautifully, took sporadic watering, and rewarded me with a dozen or so offsets which I separated from mummy last summer. I pulled them gently away from the parent – most already had developing roots – and here are the babies – thriving and flowering away themselves. I have given some to friends and arranged a few in a big cluster in a terracotta pan.
Succulents are very popular right now and easy to care for in a greenhouse, as houseplants, or in fact outside. Of all the ones I own, this is my favourite though. It’s beautifully shaped, a lovely blue-green colour and holds diamonds of water drops in its centre when it rains or when watered carelessly. A top plant, I don’t risk it outside in the UK over winter although they are apparently pretty hardy.
I’ve never been massively keen on burgundy-flowered plants but this one has really won me over with its three lobed leaves, arranged a bit like a mutant butterfly. This was bought small and is slowly growing well now, sending out pretty white flowers on delicate-looking stems, amongst or above the leaf clusters. Particularly charming is the way its leaves close up at night and open as the greenhouse warms in the morning.
I struggled to know how to display it until I found this old, white, glazed pot at the back of a cupboard, which sets off the burgundy leaves beautifully. Easy to care for, I water it when the surface of the compost dries out and feed it occasionally with houseplant food.
These flowers are commonly known as calla lilies and are popular with florists. Mine are too precious to pick and bring a welcome splash of orange sorbet to the greenhouse. I was thinking back to how long I’ve owned these two plants and realised I bought them five years ago, as corms, from a stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. They are hardy outside and until recently I had them planted in a garden border, where I got an occasional flower.
Having read they are a good ornamental greenhouse plant, I thought I’d release them from the torments of the Chiltern winter and bring them into the cosy greenhouse. They were kept dry in their pots over the winter, the foliage dying back in dormancy, but have zoomed away this summer sending up glossy, spotted leaves and these pretty flowers.
Six on Saturday is a link up of gardeners from around the world, sharing the best of their gardens each week. If you want to read other contributions to go to the page of host The Propagator.