It's important to think about heating when transforming your conservatory into an indoor garden. Decide whether you want to heat your conservatory to maintain day time temperatures (approx. 15-21 degrees Celsius) so that it has a similar climate to the rest of the house, or to keep the conservatory to a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celsius, or whether not to heat it at all.
Room temperature conservatoriesThe temperature of your conservatory will affect the type of plants you can grow. If you keep your conservatory at room temperature, you will find it difficult to keep the plants at their prime as the atmosphere will be dry. It is best to opt for palms, aloes and olives if you choose to keep your conservatory heated.
Unheated conservatoriesUnheated conservatories are extremely useful for overwintering hardier fruits such as lemons and grapefruits. More exotic plants including brugmansias, tibouchinas, cordylines, clivias, aspidistras, pomegranates, avocados and mandevillas will survive too – especially if you keep them quite dry when it's colder.
If you choose to not heat your conservatory, it can be useful as a greenhouse in the cooler months of the year. You can raise vegetable plants, half-hardy annuals and the likes of basil.
In the summer months, keep in mind that excessive heat can put great stress on plants. Installing blinds will help to keep out the sun's rays, which means there will be less demand to constantly water your plants.
What you grow depends on your conservatory temperature...All plants have their own best minimum temperature, so make sure you do your research when deciding what you want to grow in your conservatory. Subtropical conservatory plants usually have a minimum temperature of 4-8°C.
Oranges, lemons, calamondins, kumquats, clementines and grapefruits will grow beautifully in a conservatory with a minimum temperature of 4°C, if kept in a light position and fed regularly with citrus fertiliser.
Fruits you can grow indoors:
- Peaches and nectarines
- Cape gooseberries
- Dwarf pomegranate
Vegetables you can grow indoors:
- Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants
- Carrots and radishes
- Beans and peas
Tips for growing in your conservatory:
Shading and ventilationConservatories can be become hot during the summer so without protection from heat, plants are unlikely to survive when prolonged to high levels of heat and a dry atmosphere. Think about adding window and roof blinds so you create shading during sunnier days.
Conservatories also need sufficient air circulation to tolerate high temperatures. Open all doors and vents when the weather is warmer. Vents can be left open at night if the temperature remains high.