ter·rar·i·um
noun

A small indoor garden planted
in a tightly closed transparent
container.

Gardeners have enjoyed planting terrariums for thousands of years but not until recently has it become ever more popular. Terrariums can bring a bit of the natural world inside, especially during the colder winter months. Plants in terrariums need water less often than typical houseplants because the container is able to trap moist air inside.  Terrariums can also be planted in open ended container as well but will require a more regular watering schedule.

Supplies Needed:

  • Clear glass or plastic containers such as mason jars, goldfish bowls, aquariums or any container with a large top opening. Finding the  right container is part of the fun!
  • Miniature plants
  • Stones and gravel
  • Decorative accents

Steps to Create Your Own Terrarium:

  1. Clean your container thoroughly. Wash with hot, soapy water, then rinse and allow to dry.
  2. Terrariums grow best with a mix of soil. At a ratio of 4 to 1, mix 4 parts of potting mix to 1 part drainage material.The drainage material should include small gravel, stones or moss.  The drainage layer should take up about one-quarter of the container. Gravel and half of that amount in activated horticultural charcoal is recommended to remove toxins and harmful chemicals in order to keep plants healthy and absorb odors.  An alternative to the charcoal layer is a layer of live moss.  Moisten the mix slightly before adding it to the container.
  3. Select plants for your terrarium in different sizes and textures that have similar needs for light, temperature and water.  Avoid mixing plants with extremely different needs.  Look for plants that like a moist environment, like small ferns, sedums, mosses and succulents.  Plants sold for use in fairy gardens are also well suited in the terrarium environment.
  4. Before planting, trim off any damaged or yellowing leaves.  Remove each plant from it’s container, brush off any excess soil, then place roots in the growing medium keeping the plants away from the sides of the container so that they do not touch the glass.  Fill in the planting hole with extra potting mix if necessary and tamp down.
  5. Add decorative items such as polished stones, ceramic or resin critters and fairies…. Be creative!
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STOP

Before continuing, decide how your container will be displayed.  Planting your  terrarium will depend on whether it will be seen from one side, two sides or all sides.  Arrange plants and accessories accordingly.

Care of Your Terrarium:
During the first few days gently mist the foliage and growing medium once a day for a few days  and leave the lid off the terrarium for those days.  Mist again,  allow the leaves to dry then cover up. Keep an eye on the terrarium over the next week or so to make sure the moisture is sufficient.  Add a small amount of water if you see signs of wilting.