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How to Make a Terrarium

As a general rule of thumb, Terrariums operate as a self-sustaining eco-system. In it's most basic form, you could think of it as a mini greenhouse. A creative way to spotlight nature indoors, terrariums are an impressive recreation of nature.

Within this mini ecosystem are two independent and crucial processes; photosynthesis and transpiration. These natural processes create the necessary ingredients to allow life to thrive, even in a tiny enclosed environment.

Terrariums are a popular choice among busy plant lovers who may not have the time to sustain a full garden. Most terrariums only need care a few times a year.

Terrariums are made up of plants, stone, soil, activated charcoal, and a little creative personality. You can make your own in under an hour with very few inexpensive materials.

Building a Terrarium

What You Will Need:

  • Transparent and sterilised container (no drainage holes)

  • Terrarium plants

  • Sheet moss

  • Gravel, sea glass, or beach stones

  • Activated charcoal

  • Sterile potting mix without perlite or vermiculite

  • A large spoon

  • Spray bottle

  • Decorative elements (optional)

What Plants Work Best In Terrariums?

Popular choices for Terrarium plants include Jewel orchids, ferns, succulents, epiphytes, moss, tropical plants and vines.

How To Craft A Terrarium

Choose a Container Pick your Terrarium! Choose a transparent container or glass jar with a wide enough opening to allow you to add your selected plants. You can be as creative and resourceful as you want — upcycling something you have around the house or visiting your local thrift store are great ways to find something unique and help the environment.

Closed containers hold humidity, so they are ideal for tropical plants and others that need moist conditions. Choose open containers for cacti and other succulents that need drier conditions.

Pick Your Plants Visit your local nursery to find plants that suit the size and shape of your container. You want to choose terrarium plants with various foliage forms. Popular choices for Terrarium plants include Jewel orchids, ferns, succulents, epiphytes, moss, tropical plants and vines.

Add Drainage Layers Terrarium containers do not have drainage holes, so mimicking nature, it is important to create drainage layers to prevent plant roots from rotting. Start by putting a 2-inch layer of coarse gravel, sea glass, or beach stones on the bottom of your container.

Next, use a large spoon to add a quarter- to a half-inch layer of activated charcoal on top of the gravel. The Charcoal will prevent fungi and pathogens from growing on the stones when they are wet.

Add Moss and Potting Soil Spread a layer of sheet moss over the stones and charcoal to keep your next layer of potting soil from mixing in with the charcoal and stones. Then, cover the gravel and charcoal with about 1 inch of sterile potting mix. In total, the base layer should take up no more than one-third of the container, in order to allow room for the plants to grow.

Arrange Plants and Design Terrarium Gently remove the plants from their nursery pots and loosen the roots if necessary. Take time to design your plants’ arrangement for your terrarium.

Tip: Place larger plants in the centre, with smaller plants around them.

Add Plants Use your fingers or a large spoon to dig a hole in the potting mix big enough for each plant. Carefully place the plants in the holes and gently pat the soil down around them.

Decorate Your Terrarium This is the fun part! You can finish off your terrarium with a layer of bark chips or coloured gravel, dd small figurines, seashells, stones, or other appropriately sized whimsical items to truly personalize your mini garden!


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