Caring for your conservatory plants: part 1

These days conservatories are often used for multiple functions, and although they used to carry the stigma of being too hot in summer and too cold in winter, this is no longer the case. With the latest glazing capabilities and room temperature control systems, the conservatory of today can serve as the perfect environment for growing plants. Whether it’s fruits, vegetables or flora you decide to grow, it’s good to understand the fundamentals of caring for your conservatory plants.

Feeding

It’s important to feed all plants regularly:

  • Weekly in spring and summer
  • Once every 4 weeks in winter
  • For flowering plants, use a fertiliser that’s high in potash (eg tomato food)
  • For green plants, use a  fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen (grass food)
  • For citrus trees, use seaweed or special fertiliser that is high in all the micronutrients; magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, boron and zinc.

It’s imperative that the plant pots are washed thoroughly twice a year to prevent an accumulation of damage from fertiliser salts. Note: If you wish to use plant pins remember to keep a record of when they were inserted.

Watering

Did you know that the number of leaves a plant has, corresponds as to how much water they need? A small plant that has lots of leaves may need watering every day in summer, but a plant with few leaves can thrive on water once every 10 days. The general rule of thumb is to check daily and when the compost is dry to the touch, add enough water from the top of the surface so that a trickle emerges in the bottom of the pot. Don’t forget that too much water is just as harmful as too little! If you decide to grow cacti, they should be watered weekly in the summer but there should be no watering in the winter months.

Repotting

When children get too big for their shoes they become unhappy.  Well, it may interest you to know that plants suffer the same effect when their pots become too small. It’s important to check the roots by gently tapping off the pot and seeing if the roots look to be full and straining. If this is the case then repot in a pot that’s at least 2-3cm bigger, using a compost that’s comparable with the previous one. Make sure the water levels are kept topped up after potting.

Pruning

Sometimes getting those secateurs out feels a little bit daunting – don’t be scared! Most plants not only benefit from being cut down, they actually need it. The general consensus is:

If the plant looks like it’s getting too big or unruly then it’s time to cut it down to size!

The best time to prune is after flowering or in late winter/early spring when growth is just beginning. Pinching the tips of the bushier plants regularly will reduce the need for intense pruning.

In our next post we shall continue with our tips for a plant care regime and give some tips on the most popular and a couple of fascinatingly named plants to grow in your conservatory. Take the ‘Mother in Law’s Tongue, Snake Plant’ which is described by the Johnstown Garden Centre as: “One of the most durable plants there is”.

[Photo by MabelAmber] Tags: ,