A precursor to the terrarium, Wardian cases were invented in the mid-1800s to transport rare plant specimens. And they had staying power–they’re just as useful for protecting your prized plants today. Here’s a roundup of 10 of our favorites.
Wondering what to put in a Wardian case? See Gardening 101: How to Plant a Closed Terrarium.
Above: With a design inspired by museum display cases, a Specimen Case Terrarium pays homage to the Victorian plant hunters who brought home exotic and fragile flowers; $128 from Terrain.
Above: A rectangular glass and wood Specimen Display Case comes in three sizes, at prices ranging from $129 to $159 at Restoration Hardware.
Above: A Glass Specimen Display Case measures 9-by-9 inches square by 12.5 inches high; it’s $105 from Industry Home.
Above: Measuring 9.25 inches square and 12.75 inches high, an English Greenhouse Terrarium is $49.99 from Ohio-based Hirts Garden via eBay.
Above: A modern re-interpretation of the Wardian case, a Ikea Socker Greenhouse measures 17.75 inches wide and 8.75 inches deep; $19.99.
Above: A Steel/Glass Indoor Greenhouse with glass panes and an adjustable ventilation lid; it’s approximately 10.5 inches long by 6.5 inches wide and is 19.5â‚¬ from Manufactum. Use it to house small orchids; for more equipment, see 5 Favorites: Essential Equipment for Orchids.
Above: Modeled on the 1800s variety, the Wardian Case from Paxton Gate measures 9 inches wide and 5 inches deep and is $115.
Above: A classic conservatory style in miniature, the H. Potter Wardian Case Terrarium measures 5.5 inches wide and 9 inches deep; $79 through Amazon.
Above: A Clarus Brass Display Box, available in three sizes at prices from $59.95 to $99.97 at Crate & Barrel, are suitable for displaying air plants (crack the lid for them once in a while).
Above: A pared-down version (minus the Victorian-inspired details), the H. Potter Rectangular Terrarium has a hinged door in the roof that allows for easy access to your plants; $69 through Amazon.
For more terrariums and tips for planting them, see:
- Plants Under Glass
- Tiny Worlds Under Glass at Twig Terrariums
- Gardening 101: How to Plant an Open Terrarium
N.B.: This is an update of a post published October 24, 2012.