Conservatory D- N

Conservatory & Stove Plants

With the recent growth of heated conservatories in the UK, many of you are now able to grow exotic stove plants that in the past were the exclusive domain of green fingered tropical enthusiasts.  I have chosen a selection of easy and difficult plants many that I have personally grown over the years, but deliberately excluded items I found impossible, despite the many seed catalogue assurances to the contrary. I hope this brings another dimension to your exotic collection that can be appreciated during the winter months in your conservatory, greenhouse or even in a sunny window.

Dombeya calantha

Pink Ball Shrub 5 Seeds
Dombeya are members of the Malvacea family from Africa and only recently coming in to cultivation, cool tolerant they make large shrubs to small trees that can be kept pruned to size for heated conservatory use. They produce large pink clusters of flowers that resemble balls or umbels to 12" across.

Duranta repens

Sky Flower 10 seeds
Duranta repens is a large subtropical shrub to 20ft, native from Florida to Brazil and the Caribbean islands. However it flowers when quite small and is useful in containers. The pale blue small flowers are produced in clusters at the end of arching stems and their mild, sweet fragrance is attractive to butterflies. Plants flower more profusely under full-sun conditions but easy to grow. 

Enterolobium cyclocarpus

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Elephants Ear Tree 5 large seeds
Enterolobium cyclocarpus is the national tree of Costa Rica and a fast growing member of the mimosa family, known for its glamorous feathery foliage.  The common name "Elephant's Ear" derives from the ear shaped seed pods used for decoration. Useful as a fast growing pot plant in a heated conservatory or greenhouse with large fern like leaves it will handle drier conditions than most tropical trees.

Erythrina lysistemon

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Common Coral Tree 10 seeds җ
Erythrina lysistemon is a lovely, small to medium-sized, deciduous tree with a spreading crown and brilliant red flowers. It is a handsome tree at any time of the year, and its dazzling flowers have made it one of the best known and widely grown South African trees. The flowers are a beautiful clear scarlet and are carried in short, dense heads, about 9 cm long, on long, thick stalks. The flowers produce abundant nectar that attracts many nectar-feeding birds and insects. It is easily cultivated from seed and grows rapidly. It is sensitive to severe cold but may be successfully grown in areas where light frost occurs, provided it is put in a sheltered corner. Flowering is best though where the spring is hot and dry or used in a dry conservatory position.

Galphimia gracilis


Thryallis 10 seeds 

Galphimia gracilis,or Thryallis, is a small tropical shrub from  the tropics producing a constant display of yellow flowers, with light green foliage. Easy to grow in heat but they do best in full sun.

Thryallis once established, like to be kept dry, requiring only light waterings and best in a very well drained compost when kept in a container. Allow the compost to almost dry out between watering. The flowers born on terminal spikes appear all year if kept warm.

Gardenia Jasminoides

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Gardenia 20 seeds
Gardenia Jasminoides is the well known florists Gardenia with pure white double flowers and a scent that will fill a room from a single bloom. Prefers soft water conditions and dislikes alkaline potting compost. It can be successfully grown in doors but they seem to do better in semi shade in a warm humid conservatory or greenhouse and brought indoors while in flower. One of our favourite greenhouse shrubs.

Gardenia thunbergia

Wild Gardenia 10 seeds
Gardenia thunbergia is a slow growing evergreen shrub or small tree to 1m or 2m if pot grown. It is hardier than the common pot grown plant down to frost level for brief periods and suitable for unheated conservatories. The leaves are carried in whorls of 3 or 4 crowded near the ends of the branchlets and the flowers are large, showy, creamy white and heavily perfumed, particularly at night. It may take a few years before large enough to flower though! A very popular but expensive plant in California.

Gloriosa lutea


Yellow Glory Lily 10 seeds

Gloriosa lutea is a beautiful climbing Lily with stunning bright yellow flowers. Best grown each year from the fat underground tubers, which are delicate and need storing dry in a warm place indoors before starting into growth again the following spring. Easily grown from seed though  it will attain 5ft to 6ft in a large pot in a sunny position given rich soil.

Gloriosa rothschildiana

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Glory Lily 10 seeds
Gloriosa rothschildiana, a beautiful climbing Lily with stunning crimson and yellow flowers. Best grown each year from the fat underground tubers, which are delicate and need storing dry in a warm place indoors before starting into growth again the following spring. Easily grown from seed it will attain 5ft to 6ft in a large pot in a sunny position given rich soil.

Guaicum officinale


Tree of Life 10 seeds

A small evergreen tree native to the West Indies that grows slowly to 30' in the wild but as a manageable shrub if pot grown making it a potential candidate for a warm glasshouse or conservatory. It forms a twisted trunk and produces blue flowers with five petals, followed by bright yellow-orange fruits with red flesh and black seeds. The wood called lignum vitae is one of the hardest known, almost impervious to water and has medicinal properties.

Hamelia Patens

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Firebush 10 seeds
Hamelia patens, a fast growing scrambling shrub like plant, flowers late spring to early autumn and the flowers are bright orangish-red borne in clusters. The stems and flower stalks also have a red hue. The Firebush from Mexico is heat and drought tolerant and requires good drainage and a hot sunny position. Very popular with butterfly collectors that love the nectar. (The butterflies not the collectors!)

Hibiscus mutabilis

Confederate Rose 10 seeds
Hibiscus mutabilis becomes a large shrub or small multistemmed tree that grows to 15 ft in a warm climate and a native of China. Hibiscus mutabilis will need a warm glasshouse in the UK to over winter but is spectacular when in full bloom starting in late summer and on into autumn. The flowers open pure white and change colour over a three-day period until they are deep pink. The most notable characteristic of this flowering shrub is that flowers of three distinct colours appear on the bush simultaneously as the blooms colour cycle independent of one another.

Hibiscus tiliacius

Beach Hibiscus 10 seeds 
Hibiscus tiliacius is a tropical evergreen shrub, or small spreading tree that can reach up to about 15 foot tall and wide but much smaller if pot grown and kept pruned. The large 10cm flowers open up and start out yellow and then as the day progresses they turn to orange. The flowers and young leaves are edible but the plant likes a well drained compost and a sunny location. Easy to grow from seeds and should make a good conservatory plant with its handsome large leaves.

Holmskioldia sanguinea

Chinese Hat Plant 10 seeds

The unusual orange flowers, looking like a mandarin's hat, are the main interest of this scrambling greenhouse shrub called Holmskioldia sanguinea. They appear in dense terminal clusters through autumn and winter. The mid-green leaves are oval and slightly serrated. Growth habit is similar to plumbago capensis with long scandent training shoots. Rampant growth can be contained by pruning after flowering and old canes can be removed. This plant requires full sun but will bloom in filtered light.

Hypoestes confetti series

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Polka dot Plant 20 seeds
Hypoestes confetti is an easy growing colourful foliage plant for pot work or spot summer bedding. We offer a mixed colour spot range.

Ipomoea Carnea

Bush Morning Glory 10 seeds 
Ipomoea Carnea is a large leafed tropical bush version of Ipomoea seen throughout the Caribbean and should be useful in this country as a large annual for summer bedding or for conservatory use. The large pink or white flowers are a classic morning glory type fading by the late afternoon  as they close. Flowers produced in dense clusters making a great show if given enough sun. In our trials the large quick growing plants reached 6ft by september under glass from a March sowing.

Ixora coccinea Red

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Ixora - Jungle Geranium Red 10 seeds
We have managed to find a source of fresh seed for Ixora, a bushy, rounded shrub that has long been a popular hedging plant in subtropical and tropical areas. Ixoras freely produce loose, corymb-like cymes, 2-5" across of red, orange, pink, or yellow flowers. This plant is a member of the Rubiaceae family which includes the Coffee plant and Gardenia. An excellent tropical pot plant subject, but feed with trace elements as it can suffer from iron deficiency.

Ixora coccinea Yellow

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Ixora - Jungle Geranium Yellow 10 seeds
We have managed to find a source of fresh seed for Ixora, a bushy, rounded shrub that has long been a popular hedging plant in subtropical and tropical areas. Ixoras freely produce loose, corymb-like cymes, 2-5" across of red, orange, pink, or yellow flowers. This plant is a member of the Rubiaceae family which includes the Coffee plant and Gardenia. An excellent tropical pot plant subject, but feed with trace elements as it can suffer from iron deficiency.

Jacaranda cuspidifolia

Purple Jacaranda 10 seeds
Jacaranda cuspidifolia is a Brazilian dry savannah species of Jacaranda with deeper, purple/blue flowers than mimosifolia held in clusters. Said to be fractionally hardier and not quite so tall to 25 metres in tropical conditions. A rare tree that flowers earlier than mimosifolia after perhaps two to three years in ideal conditions. Worth a try as a pot plant for its attractive ferny foliage and possible flowers in a large conservatory. Frost tolerant as an established tree to -3c

Jacaranda mimosifolia

Jacaranda 15 seeds
Jacaranda mimosifolia is a common tree for tropical locations with soft ferny foliage and spectacular lilac blue flowers a bit like upright laburnum or the Paulownia in shape. A tree in full flower is a sight not to be missed! Easy to grow from seed but difficult to reach flowering size in the uk unless you have a very tall heated conservatory. Can be pot grown and stood outside in summer until it gets too large. Worth growing for the foliage alone.

Jatropha podagrica

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Buddhas Belly 5 seeds
Jatropha podagrica an unusual desert plant of the Euphorbia family has a small woody trunk or tuber swollen at the base, like Buddha s belly with a few leaves and flowers out of the top. I bears clusters of bright red blooms during spring and autumn, likes a sunny spot and copes well with dry air. Excellent for containers or bonsai.

Lagerstroemia indica

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Crepe Myrtle mixed colours 10 seeds җ
An ideal conservatory plant, Lagerstroemia indica is a highly ornamental, deciduous shrub or small tree from Asia bears large panicles of lovely white, pink or purple flowers with crinkled petals. It should flower the second year from seed, but can be kept pruned to keep it to a sensible size, as it flowers on the old wood in early summer. Maybe hardy in mild areas to -5˚C

Lagerstroemia indica - Little Chief

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Dwarf Crepe Myrtle with purple flowers 10 seeds җ
If you do not have room inside or the location for a Lagerstroemia outside (in a warm micro climate), then Lagerstroemia indica - Little Chief originating out of America, is an excellent alternative. Little Chief is a dwarf form of lagerstroemia indica growing only to a height of 1m with shades of purple flowers. An outstanding pot plant, flowering within 4 months from seed.

Manihot esculenta


Yuca, Cassava, tapioca etc, 5 seeds 

Cassava the worlds third largest source of carbohydrate is a shrubby perennial that grows to a height of 6-8 feet in the tropics. It has smooth erect stems and resembles the cannabis plant in appearance. The large compound, dark green, reddish veined attractive leaves are palmately divided into about seven leaflets. It is unlikely to produce any sort of sensible crop if pot grown in the UK and should be treated as a novelty. Also be aware that all parts of the plant including the edible tubers contain a small amount of alkaloids and correct preparation peeling and cooking is essential to remove the toxicity. Well worth growing both for its novelty value and ornamental appearance. Our seeds come from the "sweet" variety not the bitter form of Cassava.

Maranta arundinacea

Arrowroot 10 Seeds
One for the heated conservatory where it will make a handsome foliage plant. Maranta arundinacea or Arrowroot, is cultivated commercially for its starch-storing rhizome.  Because this very nutritious starch is so readily digested, it is often fed to infants, invalids, and those allergic to wheat. The name arrowroot derives from its past medicinal use as a poultice to remove arrow poison from wounds. So if you come home from a bad day at work with poisoned arrows in your back this is just what you need!

Markhamia lutea


Nile Tulip Tree 10 seeds

Markhamia is a medium sized tree native to Africa but because of its slow growth may be suitable as a courtyard or for pot grown culture. Resistant to some cold spells and used as a street tree in Madeira. The large pinnate leaves look very tropical and the terminal racemes of large bright yellow trumpet flowers are typical of the Bignonia family. Prefers semi dry hot sunny conditions and tolerates poor soil.

Melastoma malabathricum

Blue Tongue Aprx 20 tiny seeds

Melastoma malabathricum  is a small shrub from South East Asia and Australasia with hairy leaves and 2" to 3" purple/pink flowers reminiscent of Tibouchina. Quite a tough plant once raised to a sensible size from the tiny seed as long as the temperature does not fall below 10C. A good warm conservatory plant.

The seeds are tasteless and can be eaten, but stains the tongue black, hence the name melastoma which in Greek means "black mouth". The young leaves are eaten raw or cooked and taste sour for traditional medicinal uses including treatment for diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcers and to treat piles. (Please do not try eating any part of this plant)

Molineria capitulata


Syn Curculigo recurvata or "Palm Grass" 10 seeds

The Palm Grass is 3 to 4ft tall, forming large clumps of leaves that are up to 6" wide in tropical regions but smaller as a pot plant. The leaves are sometimes used in flower arrangements and often seen as a house plant. Some skill needed for germination.

Mussaenda macrophylla


Sweet Root 20 seeds

A native of Asia and Africa, this attractive tropical shrub has large white bracts typical of the family with tiny insignificant flowers. It will grow to 3m or 4m as a lax shrub and will need to be kept pruned if pot grown in a heated glass house.

Nerium oleander

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Oleander Bush Mixed Colours Pkt җ

Nerium oleander a well known shrub seen all over the South of France is a tough one, very tolerant of dry conditions and flowers profusely in full sun. The seed offered is mixed hybrids, but you may have to wait until the second year to see what colours you have grown. Easily over wintered in a cool or cold greenhouse as it will take a light frost without any serious damage.