Glass containers and bottle gardens

Glass demijohns and fish bowls also take up relatively little space. When properly planted, they are not only very decorative but also extremely suitable for species that require high atmospheric moisture. The only problem is that beginners sometimes have trouble putting plants in a demijohn because of its narrow neck.

First put a drainage layer, such as quartz pebbles, on the bottom and then put in a layer of soil. Pouring soil directly into the neck might dirty the sides, so it is often better to pour it in through a paper funnel extending well below the neck. Insert and tamp down the plants in the soil with the aid of a long spoon of fork. You can make one for this purpose by tying a small spoon firmly to a ruler or a long stick. Tamp the soil down with a cotton reel wedged on a stick.

Some taller plants, such as Syngonium and Calathea, can be grown in a demijohn, as well as low-growing species, such as Ficus pumila, F. sagittata ‘Variegata’, Fittonia, Peperomia and Pellionia. Their colourful leaves also make Zebrina and Tradescantia excellent plants for growing in glass containers. Saintpaulias, with their dark blue and purple flowers, are great favourites for planting in fishbowls, together with the attractive leaf rosettes of Cryptanthus. Some Selaginellas that require high atmospheric moisture would normally not last long indoors, but they do admirably in glass containers.

Other glass containers in which house plants can be grown are terrariums and insec-tariums. These are usually heated and provided with artificial light so that more demanding plants, such as some orchids and bromeliads, can be grown there. A good plant for such containers is Ficus pumila, which besides having no special requirements and being easy to grow, quickly covers the walls with green. This small-leaved plant is an excellent foil for Aglaonema and Syngonium species. When selecting plants for the terrarium or insectarium, however, you should keep in mind the kinds of animals that will live there. These might include snakes, lizards, frogs or various insects, and so you should choose the plants accordingly.

Aquatic and marsh plants

Water plants are grown in aquariums. The water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, and the water lettuce, Pistia stratiotes, both plants that float on the surface, can look very beautiful grown this way.

Paludariums offer another possibility for growing plants that are not commonly found indoors. Bog plants (Latin palus means marsh) are unusual and not difficult to grow, provided, of course, they are given plenty of moisture. Paludariums are rather large containers and can be made of a variety of materials – ceramic ware, glass, metal or plastic. Suitable plants for the paludarium are Acorns gramineus, Cyperus alterni-folius and some smaller species of Colocasia.

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