As early as 500 BC, plants were kept under bell-shaped glass jars for exhibit. But the terrarium in its modern form was invented purely by accident in 1827 by a London doctor. (1)
According to ‘The Little History of Terrariums’, it meant that for the first time, horticulturists were able to bring back sensitive tropical plants in Wardian cases (terrariums) well-protected from salt air and changing climatic conditions during the long sea voyage.
Terrariums became popular for growing the plants, and in the case of the rich Victorians and their love elaborate ornamentation, there were no limits. Wardian cases grew into the likes of miniature Taj Mahals and Brighton Pavilions – check out this amazing antique terrarium pictured right!
Today our homes are often air conditioned or have artificial heating, creating dry air conditions that make it difficult for plants to thrive indoors. Terrariums allow us to keep plants easily in our homes that require very little care and look highly decorative at the same time. Closed terrariums in particular, actually thrive on neglect due to their humidity filled surroundings. (1)
Terrarium style trends vary greatly and you can create an entirely different look simply by your choice of vessel, jar or cloche. Below are some of our absolute favourite terrarium designs!
Check out these sites for steps on how to make your own terrarium!
Light: Put your terrarium where it will get enough light to satisfy the plants’ needs, but keep it out of direct sun, which will overheat the garden.
Water: Check moisture levels periodically, and mist if your terrarium needs water. Plants should not dry out, but they also shouldn’t be overwatered. If spots of mould or mildew appear, your garden has too much moisture; remove or partially open the lid for two or three days to improve air circulation.
Pruning: Prune plants to keep them from overgrowing their neighbours. Remove dead plants and plant parts as they appear.