Houseplants are one of my greatest passions. The cool thing about houseplants is that anyone can have them, and most people do. It’s not very often that you enter a house that doesn’t have a plant growing (or at least trying to be grown). I think that this is because we as humans have an innate drive to ‘tame the wild’ or simply bring the outside in.
The history of houseplants dates back 3,000 years ago, to ancient China. In many ancient Chinese cultures, houseplants were grown as a hobby for the rich and privileged. Owning and caring for plants inside the home was a sign of wealth. Eventually the practice caught on to the wider community, and thus, the art of ‘Penjing’ began, the practice of taming dwarf trees so that they can be grown indoors. Today this practice is widely known by the Japanese term ‘Bonsai’.
‘Penjing’ literally meaning ‘Tray Scenery’
Moving forward in history; the Victorian Era in the late 1800’s was a fantastic time for houseplants. The Victorians are famous for developing the concept of the greenhouse, the terrarium and the botanical garden. During this time it was considered fashionable to own houseplants as well as a fascination for those studying botany. Victorians loved their plants, and soon they developed a system of mail-order catalogs offering flora from far off jungles, to be delivered to their doors. Many of today’s common houseplants were developed during this time when botanical interest was popular and flourishing.
The Warden Case (Early Terrarium) were in every Victorian Home
Today houseplants are just as beloved as ever. And our imaginations continue to develop new and exciting ways to display plants inside the home. Here are some of my favorites: