Dry conservatory ideas

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ourarka
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Dry conservatory ideas

Post by ourarka » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:15 am

Ok, a fairly standard question I know but I am still struggling to find the right blend of plants for my conservatory. It is, inevitably, a dry place but unheated during winter (lowest I've ever measured is about 5C, as it has one solid brick wall which helps to retain the heat and transfer heat from the house).

I'm after quite a lush, leafy feel though many things have struggled due to the dryness. Things do get watered often, but still hard to get a humid feel. Cacti/succulents obviously do well, but don't quite give the effect I am after. I have a large bougainvillea which really enjoys it ...... just wondered what other 'tropicals' people have luck with in this sort of environment. Much of it isn't in direct sunlight, but still receives lots of light.


Steph
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Steph » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:09 pm

I am sure I have said this before but the idea of a conservatory planted / set out once and for ever is a mythical place.
25 plus years on, I have realised that what looks good in one season doesn't suit the next, and some plants prefer to be outside for the summer.
Its about presenting what you have in its best light for the moment and moving stuff in, out and onwards as needed.


Kristen
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Kristen » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:38 pm

Is it dry in Winter? or just in Summer? I'm thinking probably only in Summer?

Would you consider installing a Fogging jet? They are only a few quid, although if you wanted it hooked up to a timer / humidity sensor that would jack the price up, but if you are around morning / evening it might be enough just to turn it on for a few minutes. You could spray the plants with water morning and evening. If you have hard water that will probably leave water marks on the leaves, which may make them look unsightly; may also cause sunburn (light magnified through the water droplets, although some people think that is a myth I reckon it happens in practice)

The traditional way to raise humidity in glasshouses in Summer is to "damp down". Flood the floor with water, and let it evaporate. Added benefit that the latent heat of evaporation means that the process absorbs/consumes heat, so it reduces the temperature too.

An alternative is to stand the plants on gavel trays, or saucers. Put an inch, or more, of gravel in the tray and sit the pot on that. Fill up the tray with water (but not so much that the pot base is sitting in water), and then theoretically the evaporating water rises up amongst the leaves of the plant above. I've always been sceptical how much difference this actually makes, but assuming it works it may be kinder to the structure of the conservatory than raising the humidity in the whole structure.

Sorry, not answered your question, but personally I would prefer to choose plants that I would like to enjoy, and then provide the conditions they want (assuming not impossible / horrendous to achieve).

My ultimate Conservatory Plant would be Strongylodon macrobotrys
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but it requires incredibly high humidity levels, so is out of the question really :(

Mucuna bennettii might be a suitable alternative:
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My shortlist of highly desirable conservatory plants includes Lapageria, Plumbago capensis, Strelitzia, some passion flowers - lots of unusual ones available. Some unusual bulbs to ring-the-changes with the seasons, such as Hymenocallis. Climbers up other, bigger, plants such as Aristolochia perhaps. Maybe even some really tall Fuchsias - something that can be trained over a few years and provide a spectacular display once full size.

Orchids (e.g. Cymbidiums) for the Winter perhaps? They can go outside during the summer (they need Day/Night temperature to fluctuate during Summer to create flower buds for the Winter). They need 11C night and 21C day in Winter ... so would perhaps need to move in/out of Conservatory accordingly. Too much hassle perhaps.

I'm growing a Travellers Palm (from seed) for mine. Bananas might be OK too (fine in Summer, look a bit manky in Winter with low light levels and 5C temperatures)

Image
Heliconia rostrata

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Thunbergia mysorensis

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Kennedia nigricans

Bat plants (Tacca Chantrieria) maybe?

Image
Solandra maxima / grandiflora
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


ourarka
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by ourarka » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:53 pm

Kristen wrote:
Would you consider installing a Fogging jet? They are only a few quid
Kristen,. great post and I will enjoy digesting it in detail later. You mention a fogging jet, and yes I would certainly consider it - have you got any links of what you had in mind, as a simple google search seems to throw me things cost hundreds of pounds!!

I also agree with the principle of using plants you want, and adapt the conditions, though practicalities (and money!!) do get in the way. Hopefully I can find a happy medium.


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leunerj
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by leunerj » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:06 pm

Some lovely suggestions there Kristen. I have to warn though that Heliconia is an absolute magnet for Red Spider Mite so if it's already dry in there then it might not be a good idea.
WISH LIST: Magnolia delavayi, Rhododendron sinogrande and Juania australis :-)


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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Kristen » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:59 pm

ourarka wrote:You mention a fogging jet, and yes I would certainly consider it - have you got any links of what you had in mind
Coolnet Fogger

http://www.access-irrigation.co.uk/shop ... net-fogger
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


ourarka
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by ourarka » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:03 pm

Thanks. So I am being very stupid I expect! but what does that connect up to? The end of a tap? In-line in a piping system?


Kristen
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Kristen » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:57 pm

Its a glue-and-push fitting, bit like you use to fit plastic pipework to your kitchen sink. The top is tapered I think, so you may be able to just "ram it home" as a temporary measure, but probably not safe for "going away for the weekend" :)

Not sure, off hand, if it would ram into a 1/2" hose, or whether it needs the relevant bore plastic pipe
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


Kristen
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Kristen » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:00 pm

Just looked at the blurb and it says "This uses the Eindor taper system" so I think it is just a "ram-it-home" fitting. I assume it fits into the fairly rigid black 1/2" pipe that is used for drip irrigation and the like, and as such it probably will fit a 1/2" hose for an experiment at least.
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


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Blairs
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Blairs » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:02 pm

Plumeria/Frangipani do well inside with light and dry for me.


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Dave Brown
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Dave Brown » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:11 pm

I have a dehumidifier going overnight in late autumn, winter. and early spring to try to get the humidity below 80%, but by May it is becoming too dry, and nothing does well over summer as humidity drops to below 20%. Summer is fine for humans as 35-40C in 20% is not too hot. If you added humidity it would rapidly become a sauna.
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Half Hardy
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Re: Dry conservatory ideas

Post by Half Hardy » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:32 pm

May I suggest a phoenix roebelenii.I keep mine in the house during winter and on the patio during summer.Seems to tolerate a wide range of conditions and always looks pristine.If only they were slightly hardier.


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