Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Chilean Butterfly flowers

Also known as Fringe flowers and Poor man’s orchids Schizanthus are a glorious way of filling a glasshouse with summer colour. Coming from S. America this small genus related to potatoes derives both common and scientific names from pretty pansy like blooms. These have split corollas and look much like orchids, and even more like […]

Every greenhouse gets an Oxalis sooner or later

Now here’s a genus I promise you are going to grow at least one species of some day. You may already have one. A delightful purple leaved miniature clover like creeping plant, Yellow Oxalis, Oxalis corniculata. It’s one of the commonest of greenhouse weeds, which means it’s seldom thought desirable. Okay, it does spread invasively […]

Schefflera, Queensland Umbrella trees

The Queensland Umbrella tree, Schefflera is an evergreen greenhouse or conservatory shrub come small tree distantly related to ivy. Given good conditions a plant under cover may flower and berry though it’s for the somewhat hand shaped and handsome foliage this is cultivated. Originally from Australasia these distinctive ornamental shrubs have proved popular in subtropical […]

These are here, there, everywhere

Okay I admit of all glasshouse and conservatory plants Ficus benjamina might be considered one of the less flamboyant. Indeed this is just a foliage plant, mind you what lovely clean glossy foliage and on such delightfully neat shrubs. Tough and reliable benjaminas have long proved popular with gardeners and indoor decorators just because they […]

Echeverias, houseleeks from sunnier climes

“Why are you growing houseleeks in your greenhouse?” said a friend looking at some Echeverias I had around the base of a Bougainvillea. An easily made mistake for these are a fine example of parallel evolution. Houseleeks are temperate plants designed to survive conditions as harsh and impoverished as crevices of dirt on rock-piles or […]

African violets, pretty, tough but fickle

Okay of the many tender glasshouse plants Saintpaulias can be one of the trickiest. Yet almost everyone knew an aunt with a massive old African violet enduring on for years blooming almost perpetually. It will have been the original blueish violet flowered Saintpaulia ionantha, and it was probably set on a table in some north […]

Chinese Lanterns in your greenhouse

For a wonderful display in your greenhouse or conservatory all winter through you just cannot beat Chinese Lanterns. These are long stems festooned with numerous orange ‘flowers’ and so called as they so closely resemble brilliantly coloured paper decorations. Also known as Bladder Cherries Physalis alkekengi really are most distinctive and have been grown since […]

Spider lilies and Peruvian Daffodils

You need a heated greenhouse or conservatory where the temperature never drops below 20°C/70°F to safely grow these rare bulbous plants known in Latin as Hymenocallis. Very closely related to Amaryllis (note the similar strap like leaves) these are amongst the most beautiful of flowers carrying a heavy vanilla perfume to add to their pristine […]

Apios, hopniss, a forgotten gem

Apios is one of those forgotten greenhouse gems seldom come across nowadays. It was once very popular in late Victorian times for the violet scent from the small racemes of purplish flowers. However after the First World War the shortage of labour and its slight tenderness made this plant unattractive. Indeed in the UK it […]