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The keeping of potted plants in the home.

The idea of keeping plants in containers seems to have developed from ornamental gardens, the first of which were probably designed some 5000 years ago for the palaces of the ancient Chinese civilization.

The Romans were the first to grow plants indoors as they were known to force early blossoms on roses by growing them in heated structures made from transparent mica. The Romans also grew herbs, decorative laurels and fruit trees in Terracotta pots. In the absence of large glass windows the nearest they got to growing them indoors was in rooms with open ceilings called atriums.

Potted herbs were grown in European monasteries in the middle ages and in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and the art of forcing fruit under glass was occasionally practiced. In the sixteenth century with the beginning of regular sea trade routes to the East, orange trees were bought into Holland and then to England. These were initially kept outside in tubs and subsequently put indoors in heated sheds for the winter. In the 1670’s glass Orangeries were built for stately homes containing lemon, jasmine, olive, oleander, pomegranate and orange.

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