Posted in category: Terrariums.

What is a Florarium?

I noticed while updating my post on Frosted Ferns that one of the plant sellers mentioned their plants were perfect for a florarium. Hmm, that wasn’t a term I’ve seen before. And, apparently, neither has Wikipedia or my spell checker.

Flor = flowering plants perhaps? Maybe yes, maybe no. But, I was going to find out.

I put on my detective hat and went in search of where this term originated and if it was indeed something new.

Origin of Florariums

Best I can tell, the term florarium comes from term florariumov. I’m only guessing here but, I suspect that is simply the Russian? word for terrarium and when several eastern europeans wrote terrarium articles that they used the translation. And it’s slowly catching on – at least here and there but not enough to be covered by Wikipedia.

No matter the original language or the source, every gardening article that I checked, that used the term florarium defined it as a terrarium. Not a specific kind of terrarium, just a terrarium. Uhm, OK, why not just call it a terrarium in the first place?

What is a florarium?

Glass florariums with succulents

What are others saying about florariums?

Like so many things on the web, once someone writes about something, others quickly write their own version, often just re-writing what the first article had. Apparently, the term florarium is suffering/enjoying the same treatment.

Based on the articles I’ve found, florariums are simply terrariums. Though if the stock photos being used on these articles are anything to go by, they are primarily being associated with small, desk-sized open air succulent gardens in pretty glass containers. Or, those were simply the prettiest photos they could find.

As, far as I know, the correct terminology would be succulent terrarium or open terrarium for what they were displaying.

What’s in a name?

Getting into work origins, the word terrarium comes from the Latin terra (land) and arium derived from the word aquarium which those same Latins (yeah, I know, they weren’t Latin; the origins of the language are traced to present-day Italy; but using Italians here would be confusing) called a “drinking place for cattle” which the English, in turn, defined as a “vessel of glass filled with water in which living aquatic animals are kept indoor.”

Florarium, not being a defined word (at least as of January 2024) does share the suffix “arium” used by terrarium and aquarium with the addition of the prefix ‘flora.’ Flora is defined and has a number of historical uses. There’s Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. The Latin origins of the word related to flos – to blossom, flourish – a definition shared with the Welsh and Middle Irish. Flora is also often defined as “all of the plant life present in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring (indigenous) native plants.” Yes, indeed, Wikipedia has “Flora” just not florarium.

None of the ‘flora’ definitions really relates here. While there are terrariums containing plants that flower – African violets being one of my favorites; most do not. And, I’m guessing that most terrariums, other than those with ferns and mosses gathered from one’s own backyard or other natural area; are not representative of a particular region.

The final word?

So, a lot of words, and a bit of research to say…. the term florarium is an unrecognized term that some people, seemingly from eastern Europe, are using for the term terrarium.

Further Information

If you would like to learn about the origins of terrariums; please visit What is a Terrarium?.

If you would like a quick overview on what a terrarium is; please visit What are terrariums? Part II

Or you could simply visit our main Terrariums where we also explain the different types of Vivariums or terrariums with animals.

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