Atrium/Solarium for Plants

I have this area between my garage and dining/living rooms that once was an aviary (so our realtor told us), but I use it as an atrium/solarium for plants. I've sterilized the walls, floor with bleach water, painted the red brick wall white, to match the other 3 walls. The roof is flat but there is a 2'x3' screened opening to the elements (rain, sun half the day and winter cold temps). Here are photos of what I have in there so far: 2 California elephant ears on the tall stands, a snake plant, a recently acquired shefflera, 1 Boston fern, a cyclamen and a big kalancho brought in from my back yard last year sitting in the sunniest spot. I tote them inside to winter over (all but the kalancho) . Would love some color/blooming plant suggestions for the cinder block planters under my dining room window (last photo). The block on the left gets a little direct sun in the afternoon; The block on the right is in full shade but very bright light all day long.  As I will not want to move these indoors in winter, the plants need to be able to withstand the occasional hard freeze to the 20's, but not very often do we get that cold........maybe only 3-4 times in winter here.  Our summers can get to 100ºF, but we are mostly in the 90's, so heat tolerance would be a plus, too. 








  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 23,564

    Hi Peggy. We here in the UK can only dream! image How about trying some lovely pelargoniums there.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Quite, Ladybird image

    Never even seen some of your plants Peggy!

    How about some hardy geraniums, Peggy - tough hardy perennials that will bloom profusely in total shade/part sun and disappear over the winter? Though yours may not, if your climate is so good.

    Huge variety very tolerant of heat and drought, and general neglect!

    I have many different types in my shady border, plus some types in pots on my hot side.

    Cranesbill are the common name.

    What colours are you after?

    Have a look at this site for ideas:

    That said, your conditions are so marvellous that you could probably grow most things! How about some  smaller variety evergreen shrub, like daphne, which will flower from spring to summer? Lovely scent.

  • Sorry the photos are a bit blurry.  I tried a copy/paste off my U.S. garden forum to post this here and had I known it would blur the photos, I'd have uploaded them direct.  Won't do that again.  Will attach some better pics below: 

    I like the idea of hardy geraniums, Jess and Ladybird.  And they are lovely.  I've had good luck with geraniums in the ground.  I could try them in these tine planter cubicles.  At least they are DEEP cubicles for root space.  This is my white cyclamen and a California Elephant Ear plant.  The baby on the ground there has more erect, praying-hand type leaves when fully mature.  I have a Black Magic elephant ear bulb just potted, but it's not up yet.  image

    This is my Shefflera, which can be grown outdoors as regular trees and quite large.  Pruned, they will stay small for you like this one:  image

    Last is my imageBoston Fern hanging and my Snake plant on the floor, also called Mother-in-Law's tongue by some:   

    Last edited: 29 March 2017 19:46:28

  • Not particular about color, Jess.  I just took a look at Daphne  transatlantica and that might work out there.  It averages 3' tall x 2-3' wide.  It could sit on the floor underneath the hanging Boston fern.  This atrium is only 6'x12' in size with a door down at one corner that opens inward into the atrium, killing off that corner completely except for possibly a hanging basket that will get banged occasionally by my husband with the opening door. He's not real careful about things like that. LOL

    Some of the Daphnes get quite large and won't work for me in the atrium, but they would be lovely outside in the mostly shady end of my Big Garden.  Must put this plant into my memory banks and try to obtain 1 or 2 of them for the blooms, scent and that some are even evergreen.  

    Here's what I bought today for the cinder block planters:  Coleus and Foxtail Asparagus Fern:  imageimage

    Last edited: 29 March 2017 22:20:13

  • This is the Daphne I mentioned above:  image

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