The Glass Cloche: Growing Under Glass

Leave it to the French to find a decorative solution to frost-bitten foliage.

The glass cloche was originally used to protect frost-tender plants in the garden, but these old-fashioned bell jars are useful -- and simply charming -- for your indoor garden, too.

Cloches act as mini-greenhouses, containing humidity given off by plants, as well as protecting them from drafty heat/AC vents -- often the cause of dry air indoors.

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Plants Under Glass

Growing plants under cloches is ideal for small tropical plants that crave high humidity.

Ferns, soft-stemmed tropicals and carnivorous plants thrive in a moist, warm environment, making them good candidates for living under glass.

African violets like a humid atmosphere. But if you're going to put one under a glass cloche, keep an eye on it. Like many flowering plants, it's prone to mold if enclosed for long. Allow good air ventilation by placing a small rock under one edge of the cloche. Or you can simply lift the cloche for a few minutes each day to clear any condensation that builds up on the glass.

Keep your cloche-covered plants out of hot, direct sunlight. Your tender tropicals can't take the heat. Temperatures can soar under glass, "cooking" your plants within a short time.

Did you know...

Cloche is French for bell. French farmers created these glass-domed garden cloches to protect outdoor plants from frost and pests.

The idea caught on with English plant enthusiasts in the late 1800s, who used the cloches for indoor gardening.

Today, those Victorian glass bell jars are coveted by antique collectors. Fortunately for us, it's easy to find affordable replicas for sale.

How Much Humidity?

The amount of water in the air is measured as relative humidity -- and tropical plants need more than most. Native to tropical rainforests, these house plants prefer higher-than-average levels of relative humidity -- 70-80% will make them feel at home.

How do you know if your plants are getting enough humidity? You'll see signs that your plant is suffering in dry air -- dry, brown leaf tips, flower buds falling off, or brown scorch marks on foliage.

These glass bell jars provide an ideal micro-climate for many small, humidity-loving tropicals. They also make easy, temporary covers for growing seedlings and propagating your house plants.

Humidity-Loving Plants Ideal For a Glass Cloche

  • Maidenhair Fern
  • Rex Begonia
  • Nerve Plant
  • Brake Fern
  • Venus Fly Trap
  • Flame Violet
  • Peperomia 
  • Polka Dot Plant

Show off your small house plant under glass by placing it on a plant standA traditional-style pedestal will complement the old-fashioned charm of the garden cloche.

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