History of indoor floriculture

Today it is difficult to imagine that the usual ficus and pelargoniums, growing almost on every window sill, were once exotic in the homes of the nobility. According to studies, the tradition of growing trees in vases originated in ancient Egypt, as evidenced by images created more than three millennia ago. More clear-cut outlines of indoor floriculture found in the XV century, which was rich in great geographical discoveries.

When sailors returned from distant voyages, they invariably brought back seeds and parts of plants, even whole plants, to show off the curiosity in their homeland. Europe’s climate was too harsh for tropical flora, so the only way to keep the guests was to keep them at home. Most of today’s popular indoor flowers found their place on Old World windowsills this way.

Of course, not every house had the opportunity to display an overseas plant – it was the privilege of the upper class, it was a symbol of luxury and prestige. The owners were proud to present an alien from another continent to their astonished guests.

Although the desire to be closer to nature in this case gave way to a sense of one’s own uniqueness and superiority over the rest, the need to create conditions for the survival of indoor flowers forced us to listen to their needs. As time went on, new knowledge about introduced crops developed, and more and more homes were being furnished with exotic plants.

From fun to general fascination

Greenhouses and conservatories were very popular. A pioneer in this field was the botanist Albert Magnus, who created the prototype of a winter garden in the 13th century. The first orangeries (from the English orange – “orange”) were built in 1599 in the Botanical Garden of Leiden (Netherlands), after 50 years, “houses Pomeranians” appeared in Amsterdam and Rent, but Paris has got an exotic greenhouse only by 1714. This event did not pass by Russia – almost simultaneously with the French built their greenhouse in the Summer Garden and the people of St. Petersburg by order of Peter I.

Soon a new “fashion” appeared – wealthy families began to buy tropical fruits and vegetables for the table in the greenhouses of manor houses. And in the 19th century, when urban estates began to give way to mansions, floriculture became truly indoor, and plants were firmly established in living spaces. Most of these were not only citrus plants, but also ficuses, pelargoniums, palms, hibiscuses, abelias and monsters.

A kind of revolution was made by the invention of Englishman N. Ward, who began to transport ferns and other plants requiring high humidity in glass chambers. If before these foreigners could not be tamed in any way, in the “Ward’s boxes” – the name given to the design – they felt fine. This is how ferns, bromeliads and orchids appeared in European homes.

It’s been many years since plants have been kept in the house. Some like the old tried-and-true species – enough is known about their care, and it’s not too difficult to get stunning results. Others tirelessly seek out exotics in the hope of finding a common ground with nature. Well, today there are many more transportation and maintenance options, which means we can still surprise guests with rare and unusual flowers.