Terrarium

Terrariums

In Blog, Feature, Gardening, Houseplants by Samantha KarstenLeave a Comment

Terrariums are tiny, contained landscapes or environments, and are a fun way to bring gardening inside. Easy to construct and maintain, terrariums can be created in just about any size or shape and displayed on a table, shelf, or countertop, hung from a ceiling or wall hook, or even made into jewelry.

Terrariums can be open or closed. Closed terrariums have their own eco system – water vapor is released from the plants and soil, forms as condensation on the top and sides of the container, and is deposited back onto the plants and soil. These closed environments require little maintenance. Open terrariums are best for plants that like it on the dry side, like cacti and succulents. Make sure that the combination of plants you choose will get along together and in the environment you are creating.

Materials Needed

• Clear glass container
• Pebbles or rocks, for layering
• Activated charcoal
• Potting soil
• Plants
• Sand, decorative rock, or moss (optional)
• Planting materials (spoon, knife, small trowel)
• Other fun items (crystals, decorative stones, pine cones, tiny animal figures)

Steps

1. Choose a container you love
2. Fill the bottom with 1 to 2 inches of small pebbles or rocks. This is for drainage.
3. Layer about a half inch of charcoal on top of the rocks. This helps filter water and prevent fungus growth
4. Layer potting soil on charcoal, 2”-4” deep, enough for plants to grow roots.
5. Choose plants you love, just make sure they’re little enough to fit in your container.
6. Remove plant from container, gently remove any excess soil. Using a small tool of some sort, carefully make a hole in the soil and set in the plant, tapping the soil firmly around the plant to keep it in place.
7. Add top dressing, if desired – about a ¼ inch. Or, feel free to leave soil bare.
8. Finish by adding fun elements

Care

Closed Terrarium

• Place in bright light, but not direct sunlight, as the temperature will rise too high and the plants will bake.
• Check often. Some condensation or tiny droplets of water on the glass is normal and a sign of a healthy eco-system. If the droplets of water are large, open the container for a while to let extra moisture escape and keep plants from rotting.
• Closed terrariums require little watering, but be careful not to let them dry out.
• Add water when needed, either a little at a time or mist with a spray bottle. If water rests in the bottom layer of rocks, there is too much and some needs to be dumped out or removed. A turkey baster or syringe may help.
• Use distilled water or tap water that has been left out for at least 24 hours to be sure all additives evaporate.
• Remove failing plants and prune healthy ones occasionally to keep the arrangement neat and tidy.
• Closed terrariums do not need much fertilizer. Use a weak solution (1/4 strength), once a month during active growth just to keep them fed and healthy. In this case, it’s more desirable to keep the plants small – fertilizer will only make them grow larger.
• Be on the look-out for pests and treat if needed.

Open Terrarium

• Keep in bright light, but not direct sunlight.
• Open terrariums should be regularly checked for watering. Add water in small amounts to be sure not to overwater. A syringe, dropper, or spray bottle works well for very small containers.
• Use distilled water or tap water that has been left out for at least 24 hours to be sure all additives evaporate.
• Remove failing plants and prune healthy ones occasionally to keep the arrangement neat and tidy.
• Fertilize with a weak solution (1/4 to ½ strength) about once a month during periods of active growth.
• Be on the look-out for pests and treat if needed.

These little gardens are fun and can be quite addicting – like chips, it’s hard to have just one!

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