The Indoor Garden
Indoors is a peculiar situation for plants, because the ‘’ of homes is not really like that of a , even for a shade-loving species. Moisture/humidity, temperature and light are crucial factors. Moisture meters are available for accurate measurement of soil conditions, but humidity is something you provide and test yourself. Put the plant pot into a larger container and fill the space with damp (never allow to dry out) to give local humidity. The peat acts as a damp blanket for the soil in the pot and soaks up excessive water.
Artificial light makes many areas in the home available for plants which otherwise would be unsuitable. Fluorescent light tubes must be used. The strength of the light should be equivalent to a light-meter reading in dull weather, the fixture placed about 1 ft. away from foliage. A light fixture can be combined with a more sophisticated container for several plants, in which automatic irrigation is used.
The terrarium is the ultimate refinement. Its unique advantage is complete climate control, a kind of plant aquarium – the bottle garden is a primitive version. Any space can have a terrarium fitted into it; alternatively, they can be left mobile to be plugged in wherever needed. The glass case has a non-corrodible metal or wooden frame, sliding doors, and electrical fittings to control the heating and the lighting units.
A thermostat inside the case controls the temperature. The plant container no longer needs a reservoir as the terrarium has a relatively small moisture loss to the outside, but for plants requiring a ‘sticky’ atmosphere a reservoir could be incorporated into the case. The versatility of the method is only limited by plant size, but it is particularly suitable for the cultivation of indoor flowering plants. Warning: considerable care is needed in the electrical installation and testing of these units; all work must be expertly carried out and readily accessible.
There has never been a bigger choice of house plants: start with the easy ones – some suppliers identify the relative easiness of their plants – and as skill in cultivation is acquired, move on to the more unusual. In planting a bottle garden or terrarium several options are open to you. You can landscape them, using small rocks, polished pebbles, sea-washed drift-wood: or you can create small streams through them, especially suitable for terraria, in which you can grow miniature tropical water plants. Hygiene is important in all enclosed plantings. Always remove fallen leaves and flowers.