A little glasshouse on the inside

By on 11th September in Garden

With the seasons seeming to whiz by, no sooner is the long awaited Summer here, we find ourselves noticing the evenings starting to get darker earlier and our thoughts begin to turn to the autumnal weather just around the corner.

Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to look out of our windows on to a garden, but most of us still appreciate plants and flowers.  Being able to see a miniature garden in our homes during the dull and cold days of Winter brightens our homes and cheers our mood. So we started to think about how we could bring a little bit of the garden inside and struck on the idea of planting a terrarium.

So, what is a terrarium?   It is basically an enclosed garden or miniature greenhouse that was popular during the Victorian era.   Plants are grown in miniature within a multifaceted glass house or bowl which comes in various sizes.  The  plants normal growing conditions are recreated within a very small environment, and become sustainable in the normal way.

Water is added to the terrarium by misting the plants which then condensates in the lid (if it has one) and recycles back on to the plants.

The next step was to decide what needs to be taken into consideration, and here are a few points that will affect the type of plants that are grown in the terrarium.

Firstly :-

Re-create the soil conditions that the plants are used to growing in, to enable them to flourish.    The soil should be layered and free-draining at the base.  Depending on the plants you use, by adding a little crumbled charcoal it will help to keep the soil sweet.

Will the plants need a lot of light either from the Sun or from a light bulb to help them grow and keep healthy?  Will they need to have darkness as well as light?

If your plants are from a tropical or arid environment they will need to be kept damp and/or warm respectively.  How will you replicate and maintain their growing conditions?  Will the heat be supplied by a heat mat or light bulbs?

Depending on the variety of plants you choose, will they need to be kept damp/moist or arid.

Make sure that you study the growing conditions for your plants, so that you are able to maintain healthy plants with your green fingers and not dead plants!

It is important for your glass container to have ventilation.  Air circulation to the plants will help to prevent the growth of mould and the development and spread of bacteria, which maybe harmful to the plants.  Always remove any dying or dead foliage to reduce the chance of spreading the fungus.

Choose plants from similar growing conditions to plant together.  Don’t overcrowd the container with plants; always remember ‘less is best’.

Adding natural objects such as stone, wood, shells and fossils to the container can also make it feel like a real landscape.  When the plants have established themselves  they will need very little maintenance.

With a number of bottled gardens or terrariums claiming to be the oldest in the UK, we thought that you would like to see what they looked like after all this time.


The bottle garden that Mr Latimer has been growing for 53  years.  Image from The Daily Mail

If you would like to have a go at making your own terrarium, here are some step by step instructions that will help you to achieve the final display.

DIYReal Tarrerium


Just to keep in with the window theme, we found this  miniature greenhouse made by

The Brambleberry Cottage blog who recycled old windows which we thought was a great idea.


The neglected windows ready for recycling


What a transformation into a miniature greenhouse that can be used inside or outside.

If you have a special terrarium that has been filled with  your favourite plants, why not share a picture of it with us, by emailing to [email protected] or pin it to our Garden Ideas board on Pinterest

Happy planting!


big discounts on Anglian conservatories, click here to find out more