Houseplants to see in our conservatories and glasshouses
As houseplants enjoy a renaissance, there’s never been a better time to get indoor plant inspiration from National Trust gardens. Conservatories, orangeries and glasshouses across the country are packed full of tender plants, including historically significant collections and classic, popular houseplants.
Find fantastic houseplants
Many National Trust gardeners are houseplant enthusiasts. They’re constantly on the lookout for rare and unusual plants, alongside more familiar ones, arranging them in creative displays. From the smallest succulent to the largest cactus, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and spadefuls of horticultural inspiration and ideas for your own houseplant collection. Here we look at some of the best.
- Dyffryn, Vale of Glamorgan
- The long glasshouse at Dyffryn was home to Reginald Cory’s important collection of tender plants. It was rebuilt in 2011 on the footprint of the Edwardian original and is heated in winter. The cactus house features prickly pears and many mammillaria cacti alongside aloes, agaves and other succulents. The orchid house is a steamy, tropical paradise, home to bromeliads, begonias, orchids and tender ferns. Some of the glasshouse specimens are huge but many can be kept as small houseplants. See the gardens at Dyffryn
- Kingston Lacy, Dorset
- The large range of glasshouses were part of the Kitchen Garden, created by Walter Ralph Bankes, who inherited the estate in 1869. Not only were these used for growing edibles, they were also home to many exotic plants. The recently restored Orchid House features many of the orchids available in the late Victorian and Edwardian period. These were among the favourite plants of Henrietta Bankes, Walter's wife and a real plant enthusiast.Explore Kingston Lacy's garden
- Monk’s House, East Sussex
- Leonard Woolf kept an impressive collection of cacti and succulents at Monk’s House, the country home he shared with his wife Virginia. His collecting spanned nearly 30 years, until his death in 1969. Leonard kept extensive lists and notes, including dates of purchases and when each plant flowered. These have been invaluable in tracking down some of the rarer plants he once owned. Originally kept in a dedicated cacti house, the collection is now housed in the conservatory, alongside other tender plants. Be inspired by the Monk's House garden
- Overbeck’s Garden, Devon
- Overbeck’s Garden is home to a diverse collection of houseplants. The lean-to conservatory is full of sun-loving succulents and cacti, some of them over two metres tall. The small conservatory in the Banana Garden houses many air plants and branches draped with Spanish moss. Alongside these are kokedama, a kind of Japanese hanging basket, in which trailing succulents are suspended in moss-covered balls. Visit Overbeck’s garden
- Peckover House, Cambridgeshire
- Inside the Orangery at Peckover are displays of pelargoniums, fuchsias, aspidistras and ferns, all popular Victorian plants. Spider plants, peace lilies, abutilons, Swiss cheese plants and aloes in the main display are enhanced with many flowering plants. The heated Orangery is open during winter – the best time to see the 300-year-old orange trees in full fruit. Their flowers soon follow, filling the air with heady fragrance. Peek at Peckover's plants
- Standen, West Sussex
- Head Gardener James Masters is a houseplant rescuer, finding homes for abandoned and neglected plants in the conservatory at Standen in West Sussex. Adoptees include a Swiss cheese plant that has been trained towards the roof to provide summer shade. Cacti thrive and are a favourite with children. Flowering plants change with the seasons; Christmas cactus bloom in winter, followed by clivias in spring and later pelargoniums and the glory lily in summer. Not all the plants are recent introductions; a hare's foot fern has been growing there for over 100 years. See the plants at Standen
- Stourhead, Wiltshire
- Sir Richard Colt Hoare was one of the most important pelargonium collectors and breeders of his day. By 1821, he owned over 600 varieties and his collection was considered in his lifetime to be the ‘finest in the country’. Today, Stourhead’s collection contains many of the pelargoniums which Sir Richard either bought or bred, including the night-scented P. triste, the pelargonium that John Tradescant introduced to the UK in 1631. Head for the garden at Stourhead
- Wallington, Northumberland
- The conservatory at Wallington was the Trevelyan family’s winter garden. The current glasshouse, erected in 1908, features a lemon verbena by the door. The family loved it so much, they built the new glasshouse around it. Scented and colourful plants fill the conservatory, even in winter. Cyclamen and forced bulbs flower alongside tender jasmine and fairy primroses which make perfect winter and early spring houseplants. More unusual plants include the bird of paradise flower. Wander Wallington's garden
We care for hundreds of historic gardens, encompassing more than 500 years of history and a range of garden styles and fashions. Learn about the most famous and significant gardens you can visit.
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