Tabletop Conservatories

Learn how to create a tabletop conservatory and how to use a cloche.

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Since cacti don’t need as much moisture, this conservatory for succulents does not use a lid.

Displaying plants under glass, known as a tabletop conservatory, not only is an attractive way to grow your plants but also helps plants thrive by providing a moisture-rich environment. Because conservatories are low-maintenance, they are a good choice for people on the go. Here are some pointers for creating healthy tabletop conservatories:

A Victorian-style cloche works well as a centerpiece. Here a blooming cyclamen provides striking color.
Try using a cake stand as a tabletop conservatory for a variety of mosses.
A bell-shaped cloche is a great way to accent a variegated ivy plant.

  • To make a conservatory, place small plants in small pots in an attractive grouping on the table or base of the conservatory. Spritz with water and cover immediately with a glass dome, or cloche.

  • Choose plants that love moisture and heat, like ivy, crotons, moss and ferns.
  • To create a moist environment, spritz plants and then cover them quickly with the glass top. If beads of water form on the glass, it is time to remove the lid and let the plant breathe for a bit.
  • Remember that the small pots you use for the conservatory dry out more quickly than large pots, so check moisture levels regularly. Simply touch the soil to feel how dry it is.

  • Fertilize your plants regularly. Check with a garden center to determine the food needs of the particular plants you select for your conservatory.

  • To make a conservatory for succulents, start with a layer of decorative pebbles. Place small cactus plants in the glass enclosure, using tongs to avoid getting pricked. Do not use a lid for cactus plants. Water your plants about once a week, adding water until it runs out the drain hole.

  • Finally, never place a glass conservatory directly in the sun; the plant under glass will wither in a few hours.


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