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Posted: January 4, 2012

Conservatories need not feature tropical temperatures

Keen horticulturists should not assume that their conservatories must be tropically warm to house plants, reports The Olympian.

Craig Sailor wrote in the publication that the “typical” view is for such places to be heated, so that tropical plants can benefit from the brightly lit and warm environment to which they are accustomed.

However, this need not always be the case, with Mr Sailor highlighting the example of the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in western Washington, in which an indication of the temperature is that visitors can see their own breath.

The reason for this is that the plants inside are mountain species rather than jungle plants, so they prefer a colder climate – although they are likely to enjoy having conservatory blinds up during the day to get plenty of light.

Mr Sailor said: “The plants in the conservatory may not be tropical, per se, but they have the quirks and oddities of them. Scores of orchids sport intricate flowers that rise from pseudo bulbs – roots that look like green bananas stuck halfway in the ground.”

This Washington botanical garden is doing its best to preserve a number of threatened species, but amateur gardeners can often struggle to maintain even relatively common plants during the tough winter months.

Southport Visitor columnist Jade Wright also advised people who use their conservatories as a gardening area to use heating, ventilation and insulation to keep the space at around seven to ten degrees C.

She went on to recommend protecting newly-planted rhododendrons and keeping pelargoniums well ventilated.

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