A dive into the history of the mini-ecosystem

It probably hasn't escaped your notice, terrariums with plants are a big trend in the interior world. But did you know that this phenomenon is centuries old? Already in the nineteenth century the mini-ecosystem grew into a trendy home accessory. A dive into history.

Accidental discovery

The predecessor of the terrarium as we know it today is the 'Wardian case'. A small greenhouse made of glass and wood, named after the London physician and amateur botanist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. He discovered by chance in 1829 that various plant species - including ferns - can keep themselves alive in a small, sealed glass case. The moisture lost through the leaves settles as condensation and is reabsorbed by the roots.

Tropical plants

The Wardian case was easy for people to transport on sea-going vessels because of its handy size. Naturalists, including Ward, used this invention during their voyages of discovery. It enabled them to expand their plant collections and bring all kinds of tropical species to Europe. Houseplants that still adorn our living rooms and gardens today! Fun fact: the Wardian Case eventually gave rise to international horticulture.

Showpiece in the house

Terrariums were not only functional but also decorative. They became popular home accessories in the nineteenth century. Many rich families in Western Europe and America had a terrarium to show off in their home. These miniature greenhouses sometimes looked like small glass palaces. The trend also caused a true fern and orchid hype! These exotic plants were shown off to their best advantage in the beautiful terrariums.

Green in glass

Miniature gardens behind glass are back again today, and how! Terrariums come in all shapes and sizes. From our Erlenmeyer flask, which with its characteristic shape reminds of laboratory glassware, to the Biodome, a dome-shaped terrarium. Or how about our Ecolight XL with a LED light on top, which creates a unique effect? Equipped with moss, complemented with all kinds of tropical plants, a complete world behind glass is created.


A plant terrarium looks great in your interior. What is unique is that the plants in such a mini-ecosystem are self-sufficient. If a leaf withers, it is converted back into nutrition and so it goes on. The only thing you need to pay attention to is not to place the terrarium in full sunlight, but still make sure the plants get plenty of light. Minimal care and an incredibly beautiful accessory in your interior. Thanks to the ingenious invention of Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward!

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