Creating a Temperate Greenhouse in the UK to Grow Subtropical Plants Successfully
The climate in the UK is very dependent on the prevailing wind direction. Britain is under an area where five main air masses meet, so the weather can vary depending on your location.
There are many regional variations and micro-climates, ranging from the nearly subtropical climate of Cornwall (SW UK), to the dry semi-arid conditions of East Anglia (E UK) to the Arctic tundra conditions which can be experienced in the highlands of Scotland (Far N UK). See Plant Zone Map for more information.
A greenhouse is an excellent way to control some of the UKs extreme weather conditions. Glass greenhouses are good for plants which require temperate/cool conditions and plastic greenhouses are excellent for subtropical/tropical plants which prefer a higher humidity.
To create a temperate growing environment the gardener is required to raise the temperature of the greenhouse to 10C+ in the daytime and sustain a night time minimum of 4C. The daytime temperature is certainly achievable from spring to autumn in southern UK, but a tube heater will help in northern areas, Ireland and Scotland. Night time temperatures are an issue in the UK, especially in winter when temperatures can drop as low as -10C, as we saw this year (2018). Good heater tubes and fleecing plants inside the greenhouse will help to protect them through to spring. Heater tubes and fleece together are no more than £50 and will make the world of difference to a temperate greenhouse. There are other ways to increase the temperature which include underground convection heating and using the thermal storage properties of water to keep the chill at bay.
Once your temperate greenhouse is setup, plants associated with the frost-free climates of California, South Africa, Mediterranean, parts of Australia and South America may then be grown in our harsher climate. Plants include plants such as Brugmansia (Angel plants), Hibiscus, Protea, Banana, Ginger Lily and Canna to mention a few.
Fortunately our Brugmansia and other subtropical plants favoured well this year in Devon's milder climate, but we still had to protect them this winter! For more information on the subtropical plants we sell please see the Exotic Earth Plants Shop. #Brugmansia #protea #Hibiscus #Bananaplants #temperateplants #subtropicalplants #exoticplants