Plant outside the box to beat climate changeGardeners need to re-think growing conditions

16 February 2007

Unpredictable climate conditions mean it's time for gardeners to think outside the box, says Gardening Which?

In new research out today, the magazine has trialled 15 types of house plants outside and 15 types of outdoor plants inside, with exciting results.

Ten of the 15 outdoor plants flourished successfully indoors, when sun-loving plants were kept on sunny windowsills and shade-loving plants on shady ones.

For those house plants tested outside, most were happiest positioned in shade during the hottest part of the day. Those that didn’t make it tended to be devoured by slugs and snails.

Gardening Which? editor Julia Boulton, said: ‘The results of this research show that with the right care and conditions, house plants and outdoor plants can successfully trade places.

‘With our climate becoming warmer, it’s even more important for gardeners to challenge convention.’

The house plants included the most widely-available types and outdoors plants were sufficiently small and attractive to be placed on a windowsill.

 

Outside-in successes

Garden pinks – favourites include the Dianthus ‘Whatfield Cancan’

New Zealand Flax –‘Maori Queen’ pink stripe glowed in the sun

Heather – winter flowering Erica carnea is also lime-tolerant

Hosta – all three varieties were happy on the windowsill

Hardy Ferns  - Polypdium and Gymnocarpium varieties do well

Houttunyia   - Houttunyia cordata ‘Chameleon’ needed lots of sun

Euonymous – a smart, neat, drought-tolerant little foliage plant

LavenderLavendula stoechas proved flourished from July to August

Conifer - Thuja orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’ was popular with all trialists

 

Inside-out successes

Tillandsia - a striking plant that looks lovely in a hanging basket

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) – had vibrant coloured leaves

Prayer Plant (Stromanthe) – this plant did best out of direct sunlight

Swiss cheese plant – for masses of character keep it in the shade

BougainvilleaB. ‘Alexandra’ gave a Mediterranean flavour

Money Plants – sun loving, drought tolerant and trouble free

Dragon tree (Dracaena) – successful whether in the sun or shade

Tradescantia – great for window boxes, avoid the midday sun

Spider plants – only need early morning sun for the best green leaves