Cloches: A Spring Break For Plants

Photo credit to Photo by Gamnor57 on Flickr, 2006. I do like the stainless steel aesthetic and old-fashioned, French glass cloches.

Cloches, the bell-shaped plant coverings made from glass or plastic, can be used indoors too to speed up the growth of all your plants — your new garden vegetable seedlings and flowers that you will bring out soon and your older house plants whose cuttings you might take or want to encourage to grow.

April is a month of moody weather. Count on different light conditions, rapidly changing temperatures, unpredictable water downpour, and if you live in the North, the occasional ice and hail storms and snow flurries too. Indoors, we can control the watering. But gloomy skies and sudden drops in temperature affect the climate indoors too. By putting your plants under a cloche for a few weeks, you will stabilize their growing conditions both indoors and for the hardening indoors-outdoor stints. That will boost their growth. 

Plants and humans have had a close relationship since time began. We like similar things; only most plants prefer it a tad more humid and a tad warmer than we do. As day light increases, plants go into a growth spurt. You can support their season of rapid growth by keeping them moist and warm. They will reward you with vigorous and very healthy growth.

Even common, low maintenance house plants like pothos and philodendron and prolific, and in their habitat invasive, growers like tradescantia benefit from a period under a cloche.

Cloches do let plants look groovy. I call it the “Welcome, Spring” look. 

The attractive terrarium-upside down addition to a plant pot will serve as a visual reminder to check up on your seedlings and young vegetables too. You will appreciate the reminder! Time speeds up in spring, almost everyone gets busier, and there is always more to do than you expect and more going on than you could have planned.

If you like to DIY, you can make cloches from glass bottles, vinegar bottles or plastic beverage bottles. In winter, or whenever you have fewer time and budget constraints, browse for cloches second hand and in thrift stores. The dollar store offers many possibilities too. Those are affordable and accessible to everyone. I am not a fan of plastic, but in urban gardens, cloches made from plastic are probably the most practical choice. Light-weight, pet-and-child-friendly, pretty unbreakable and easy to clean, and versatile, they fit into many hanging baskets as well, and you can use them for years.

1 April 2021

#cloches #gardening #growing #growingfood #indoorsgardening #homejungle #protection #microclimate

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