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A Magnificent Wardian Case Terrarium


his is simply the most stunningly beautiful wardian case terrarium I have ever seen. Wow was I pleased to get these pictures in an email. I unexpectedly got the pictures from a terrarium maker who is a visitor to this site. His name is Mark Y. and my thanks go to him for sharing this terrarium with us. And he kindly gives us some great information about how he put this together.


If you are interested in Wardian Case terrariums I have a page all about the history of them and a few select ones that you can buy from amazon.com. The wardian case is named after a british physician and amateur botanist who started the whole art of terrariums: Wardian Cases

I have attached the pic of the enclosure.  It is a wardian case that does a nice job of keeping the humidity high.  It is enclosed but still has openings such that it is not a "closed system."  I keep a pot of succulents on the bottom rack.  

The enclosure has a base layer of small clay circular balls that are used to retain water.  This seems to provide for great drainage and keeps the humidity high.  There is a good deal of sheet moss throughout the enclosure and this also helps retain moisture.  Each of the plants are potted separately in its own small pot.  I put a base layer of gravel, followed by sphagnum moss and charcoal, followed by the potting soil.  1-2 inches for the gravel, moss, and charcoal is probably sufficient.  I have a 120 watt full spectrum florescent bulb for lighting.  I mist all the plants, especially the mosses 1-2 times daily.  The buddha and stone are from India.  The goal of the terrarium was to create something with Zen.  All the plants were less than $6 each.  The biggest challenge I think is the watering balance.  With a small terrarium I think daily misting is sufficient and probably the best approach and I have certainly killed some of the mosses in the past by overwatering.  When I put it outside during the summer more frequent misting is definitely required.

The plants are as follows:

  • -A pink Peperomia species front center.  This is very easy to grow, will do well with regular misting.  
  • -The two moss species on either side are Selaginella aurea, or spreading club mosses.  These are my personal favorite.  These seem to require at least daily misting but no direct watering. 
  • -The front right plant is a species of sword plant 
  • -There are two Pilea species in the background on either side.
  • -The large plant in the back is a Begonia species.  
  • -The plant in the front left is actually called a "goldfish plant" and will flower orange flowers


A wardian Case terrarium

And here is a closeup.

Closeup o the terrarium


A Wardian Case

The History of the Terrarium - They were invented by a Man named Ward and in his honor terrariums are often called Wardian Cases. I also have a wonderful selection of Wardian Cases available from Amazon.com both in table top size and floor model: Wardian Cases



A moss terrarium

A Moss Terrarium

I have just started working on some Moss terrariums and I have some thoughts, pictures and informatio on them. terrarium is attractive, fun to make and very hardy. Here is a complete tutorial on how to make one. Moss Terrariums