Houseplants can get a bad rep as limp dust-collectors your Grandma lines up along her dining room windowsill. But when you walk into the Wisley Glasshouse, part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley gardens complex in southern England, you get in-your-face proof that these plants can have a much wilder side.
In a previous posting, I wrote about how Wisley in winter can be brilliant for collecting ideas for your own garden. Inside the Glasshouse, it’s summer year round–the perfect environment for tropical specimens to run amok. Spotting classic houseplants in this hot and humid jungle can be a challenge just because their sheer size makes them harder to recognize.
Here’s a quick overview of what some houseplants look like if they’re allowed to flex their muscles in a greenhouse of epic proportions, complete with clouds of live-in butterflies. (More on those in a future posting.)
Click on any photo to start the slide show and get the full story.
Medinilla Magnifica plants cascaded overhead. So amazing that you can get this beauty as a houseplant in Ontario. It debuted at Canada Blooms a couple of years ago. For where to buy deets, go to http://www.medinilla.ca/
This Aechmea ‘Blue Rain’ is actually a bromeliad but with way more attitude than their more staid cousins.
The Calliandra haematocephala, more commonly known as the aptly named Powder Puff Tree makes a great houseplant in Ontario despite hailing from Borneo. But it probably won’t grow to it’s natural 6-foot height like this one.
I’m pretty sure this is a Heliconia though it looks more like a flock of scarlet birds in full flight.
This Hippeastrum papilio is not the same as the Amaryllises we get at the grocery store in December but they are related.
Here’s the Hippeastrum in profile.
Hard to believe this gorgeous Kalanchoe is a relative of those rubbery plants you find at the grocery store.
This succulent (Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’) is a popular houseplant but you don’t normally see it large enough to mimic upended mops.
And for the ambitious, this palm tree just about sweeps the glass panels of Wisley’s 40-foot high ceiling.