Plant terrariums, or Florariums

The boring approach to interior landscaping, as well as the time when plants were displayed only on the windowsill, are long gone. With the active introduction of green pets in the design of our homes, recognition of their role in the atmosphere and microclimate, not only the range of plants themselves began to expand, but also the methods of their use. Along with new fashion trends, seemingly long forgotten traditions and floristic techniques have returned. And one of these “relics of the past” – flower terrariums or florariums, which are again becoming fashionable and in demand. This is a distinctive Victorian use of plants that has long gone beyond the design of dining rooms.

Flower terrariums. Farmer Bird and Feather


Description of florariums

Terrariums for flowers and florariums are compositions of plants that can be content with minimal resources, initially succulents, planted in a special container made of transparent plastic or glass. Until recently, florariums were perceived primarily as being placed in glass vessels to create a special microclimate, capricious and rare crops.

But today they have regained their former glory. And flower terrariums are again viewed more broadly – as single crops or plant compositions placed in glass containers – landscapes in miniature.

Terrariums are used in phytodesign of both home and office interiors. They combine art, botany, and floriculture into a single unique complex that literally recreates a part of wildlife for your home. It is impossible to overestimate the atmosphere of mini florariums, like their large counterparts.

They are unique in terms of comfort, energy, and the art of attracting attention. The home garden behind glass, or florarium, is a self-sufficient element of landscaping and can either completely replace the collection of living plants, or complement them or play the role of natural decor and luxurious accessory.

We owe the resurgence of the fashion for flower terrariums to American designers. They, along with the active return of vintage to interior design and the reliance on natural materials, also remembered Victorian compositions of succulents that can be used to decorate a dining table.

From several projects, mini-florariums have moved to tea and coffee tables, into living rooms and bedrooms, classrooms and offices, and almost ousted large showcase florariums from there. And in handicraft shops, they even turned into a separate category of decor. This overseas fashion has come to us today.

Terrarium in landscape style
Terrarium in landscape style. Farmer abramsbooks

Types of florariums and why size is not important for them

The main advantage of terrariums is a special microclimate favorable for growing capricious ones that require a non-standard and difficult to recreate humid environment. High humidity, complete protection from drafts and temperature fluctuations – a truly tropical environment that will appeal to greenhouse and indoor exotics. But terrariums are actually different in their conditions, dividing into compositions of two types:

Dry terrariums, created from succulents and cacti (in the West, designers are most often called Victorian compositions). This is the easiest type of flower terrariums to create and maintain. Among them there are mountain and desert landscapes, minimalistic florariums with a single succulent plant and with more complex compositions.

Wet or tropical terrariumsdesigned for capricious and moisture-loving plants. They can be monotypic – for flowering plants or forest (imitate a forest landscape). Sometimes florariums in which special plant species grow are named after them. This is how orchidariums appeared in the dictionary of florists – florariums, in which rare species of orchids (especially species with precious leaves) are grown. They are most often equipped with life support systems, since orchids need automatic watering, and the effect of lowering the night temperature, and stable air humidity.

Moreover, you can literally create one and the other type of composition in the same container. Everything will depend only on soil, plants and care.

Florariums are also distinguished by size. Of course, even today, in offices and large houses, flower showcases are created – large structures arranged on the windowsill in the form of a glass box, the two sides of which are replaced by glass and the window sill itself, or even more complex giant terrariums, more like separate rooms behind glass, dividing the space ( huge “plant aquariums”). All of them create a complex ecosystem of dozens of plants and with specific conditions, which can be called a garden behind glass, or a piece of wildlife enclosed in a giant showcase.

But flower showcases and such large flower terrariums are more of a luxury item than an affordable means of bringing a piece of wildlife into your home. But mini-terrariums with plants – they are now at the peak of popularity. Compact, elegant and versatile, always feeling exotic, these small islands of wildlife in the interior feel like a mini-garden enclosed in glass, a luxurious little decoration and an amazing miracle.

And the smaller the vessel with plants, the more touching the florarium seems. The pleasure of contemplating mini-terrariums is no less than admiring any colorful garden behind glass. And it is suitable even for the smallest premises.

Terrarium with violets
Terrarium with violets. Farmer Terrain

Stylish games

In terms of decorativeness, terrariums are also very different. Some are peculiar oases of nature in the house, imitating wild landscapes. Others have a completely different goal – to achieve stylistic expressiveness and greater decorativeness, rather than authenticity. From a stylistic point of view, florariums are:

  1. Decorative, in which various accessories and the plants themselves serve to achieve maximum effect and in which lines, color, style and shape are no less important than plants;
  2. Natural, imitating natural landscapes and typical plant combinations; in such florariums whole mountain, forest or desert landscapes or their fragments are embodied.

A worry-free garden

A common feature for all types of flower terrariums is ease of maintenance. Even the most capricious cultures in them require only minimal care.

Indoor wet terrariums have a particularly strong advantage over open cultivation:

  • dust does not get under the glass and there is no need to wipe the leaves;
  • moisture does not evaporate, due to which high humidity is maintained with minimal, very rare waterings;
  • florariums can be safely left not only for several days, but also for several weeks;
  • care comes down to maintaining the cleanliness of the outside of the glass and periodic elementary hygiene procedures.

If the florarium for moisture-loving plants is open, with holes, then the care becomes a little more intense. But he also obeys the rules that turn florariums into one of the best growing methods (caring for plants in a terrarium is still easier than in a regular pot):

  1. Watering is carried out as the soil dries out. For succulents, even in summer, it is carried out once a week, and for mosses and moisture-loving plants, an automatic watering system can be provided.
  2. Leaf spraying is necessary in open mini-terrariums for tropical species, but absolutely not necessary for succulent plants.
  3. The rest of the care comes down to keeping the glass clean, ventilating completely closed flower cages, removing too long, damaged and dry branches and leaves.

Florariums, with the exception of monocultures, are not transplanted: as soon as the plants become crowded, they are simply transferred to separate containers or a greenhouse, and a new florarium is created with new “participants”.

Ready-made, from a set or made by hand, mini florariums are equally beautiful.

The creation of mini-terrariums for flowers is a matter of taste and aesthetic preferences. To decorate your home with a florarium, you can either purchase it ready-made in decor stores, or contact an interior designer or florist, and make a mini-garden yourself. Moreover, the latter option is not only fascinating, but also opens up unique opportunities for creativity.

You can either buy a ready-made set consisting of plants and all the necessary materials, or buy different components separately, creating your own unique florariums. And if you wish and some experience, you can create a landscape terrarium with the help of improvised means.

Terrarium with plants of predators - Saracenia
Terrarium with plants of predators – Saracenia

4 essential components of any mini florarium:

  1. Container, or glass base. She really can be anyone. From glass round vases to simple bowls and even jars. It all depends on your taste, plant preferences and the style you want. In Victorian terrariums, special glass domes were used that were tightly installed on a wooden or other base. But today the range of containers for terrariums is not limited only to authentic vessels. Vases, jars, flasks, decorative containers, large bottles and even aquariums of any size – any glass container can become a haven for a plant composition. And for this it is not even necessary that it has at least a small, most often narrowed, opening on top or on the side for air access. For tropical florariums, completely closing options are used without holes, and for others you can always pick up a glass cover.
  2. Drainage, crushed charcoal or activated carbon (to prevent the spread of mold and bacteria, to absorb toxins from water and substrate) and soil (most often – a mixture of sand and a special highly nutritious substrate for tropical crops and sand or decorative soil for succulent plants).
  3. Decorative soil, or filler – from pieces of bark to decorative pebbles, stones, aquarium soil, sand, shells and other bulk materials. It is often used not only for the upper decorative layer, but also interlayering the substrate, replacing the drainage.
  4. The plants you want to grow. For tropical and forest florariums, asparagus, ivy, begonias, calamus, miniature ferns, crotons, selaginella, chamedorea, and other plants are used. For desert florariums and mountain landscapes, other cultures are chosen – rejuvenated, different types of cacti, agave, Kalanchoe, adromiscus, malefora, beard, greenovia, wild, euphorbia, euphorbia, etc. They perfectly show themselves in florariums and mosses, but for them it is imperative to provide a container with water in the design to create a moist environment.
  5. Decorative elements and additions – from corals, stones, moss, twigs, cones, dry inflorescences, minerals, shells, ceramic figurines to other natural (and not so) decor.

The process of making a terrarium itself is simple and corresponds to its components: after preparation and disinfection, the containers are first filled with drainage and substrate, placing coal either between them or on the bottom, and then completing the creation of the “base” with decorative soil. Plants are planted carefully, after thorough washing of the roots, in small holes made with any convenient tool. After planting, they are watered or sprayed, and then all the decorative elements of the composition are placed, creating their own mini-garden in a glass vessel.

See also our material: Choosing plants for the florarium.

Terrariums in perfume bottles
Terrariums in perfume bottles

Ideal place for a flower terrarium

The correct placement of the mini florarium is an art. Such compositions should be treated literally as the most striking decor, placing them in the most prominent and “crown” place. The main landmarks in the arrangement of flower terrariums are favorite places for rest and leisure. Most often (and according to the traditional approach – and almost exclusively), florariums are placed on the dining table and coffee tables. But you can also use original solutions:

  • place vessels on the wall in a whole series;
  • hang them like ampels against the wall;
  • use hanging vessels as a space divider.
Plant terrariums, or Florariums
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Anna Evans

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