GROWING UNDER GLASS

It would be difficult, and undesirable, to turn a flat or house into a greenhouse, but a miniature conservatory or glass plant-case can be built quite easily. At the very least, large glass containers such as a demijohn, fishbowl or giant brandy goblet can take the place of a greenhouse on a small scale. They can provide an ideal environment for growing plants with special requirements.

First and foremost, such glass containers provide high levels of humidity which are easy to regulate and maintain. The plants can be misted very conveniently without any fear that the water will drip on furniture or carpets.

A miniature conservatory has plenty of light because it is constructed beside a window. A glass plant-case, unless it is positioned close to a window, may require additional, artificial lighting. Light is not merely vital to plant growth, but is also an aesthetic consideration, for it heightens the beauty of the plants’ colours. The intensity of the light varies in different parts of the container and you should keep this in mind when putting the plants in place. Plants with variegated foliage or brightly coloured flowers should be put in the dimmer parts of the container, while plants with less vivid coloration should be put where the light is brightest.

Plant-cases and miniature conservatories can be heated, and the temperature inside regulated as required. This makes it possible to grow even very delicate plants, such as aroids, bromeliads and many carnivorous species.

Demijohns, bottle gardens and fishbowls are neither heated nor provided with additional light. They should be placed close to a window, but not in direct sunlight which causes excessive condensation on the inside of the glass.

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