Go Miniature With a Glass Terrarium
Terrariums are a great way to bring your miniature garden indoors! It is straightforward to get started. You’ll need a glass container, some plant life, small pebbles, sphagnum moss, soil, and, most importantly, your imagination to create a living garden designed to fit into a tiny space.
It’s important, first, that you think about where your terrarium will be on display in your home. Because you’ll be using a glass container that produces heat when the sun hits it, you want to be sure to set your terrarium in an area that receives indirect sunlight.
You will also need to look at the plant labels for those plants you select and do your best to follow the plants’ recommendations for sunlight.
Once you pick your spot, decide which type of plants you want to put into your terrarium. Keep in mind you want plants that will fit nicely in your glass container and not become quickly overgrown.
Some plants that work well with small terrariums include boxwood basil, button fern, baby’s tears, and creeping fig.
You’ve got your spot; you’ve coordinated your supplies and picked out your plants; it’s time to design your terrarium. This is where the fun begins!
Tip 1: Grab your glass container. Make sure it is clean, clear glass. Think about the opening of the container as well. Remember, you will need to work inside the container, so make sure the space is small. Some container ideas include pickle or Mason jars, old vases, antique cake plates with clear glass, a fishbowl, or cloche. You’ll also need some tools to help you when planting. Tweezers and chopsticks, and a small spoon will work.
Tip 2: Put some small rocks/pebbles at the bottom of the container to aid in drainage. Take the sphagnum moss, let it soak in water for a few seconds, and squeeze out any liquid. Place the damp moss onto the rocks and be sure to cover the rock surface completely. This will form a barrier so that it doesn’t seep through into the rocks when you add soil.
Tip 3: Grab some soil and fill your container with about 2 inches of it. A note about soils — generally speaking, you can use a non-moisture control potting mix. Be careful not to add too much soil as you need space for your plant life to grow. You can have fun with it by adding layers to your design. Think about rolling landscapes, and feel free to contour your terrain by adding different levels of soil.
Tip 4: It’s time to create your ecosystem. Imagine you are arranging plants in a pot to set outside. Get creative. Lightly loosen the root ball of each plant, place it in a shallow layer of soil and gently add soil around the root base, patting it down as you go. Be careful not to crowd your plants or place them up against your glass container. Even in a terrarium, plants need room to grow.
Tip 5: Feed your new terrarium. Please give it some water but not too much as your container can’t drain the water. That’s why your rock layer is essential. Your soil should be slightly moist but never soggy. You’ll find that once your plants settle in, your terrarium will create its climate as your plants produce moisture through their leaves that will condense in your glass container and ultimately nurture the soil.
HOW TO MAKE A TERRARIUM
- A clear glass container. Shop at discount or thrift stores for great deals. You can select any size, but remember you’ve got to get your hand or tools through the opening to plant.
- Horticultural charcoal, available at full-service garden centers.
- Potting medium (Be sure to purchase an un-soilless mix.)
- Small plants (Available at specific garden centers, but make sure to call first to ensure you don’t miss out.)
- A small decorative stone (From the craft retailer.)
- Large knitting needle or chopstick.
- Tiny, small accessories, or objects like small fragments of driftwood pinecones, toys for children, or items purchased from craft shops or some gardening center (optional).
- Green moss that is preserved. Live moss usually requires more water than other plants that are in the terrarium. (optional).
- Watering can that has a small diameter spout.
- Water-soluble fertilizer.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the container.
- Layer 1 to 1 and one half-inches worth of charcoal at the inside of the vessel.
- Cover with a 3- to 4-inch layer of potting dirt depending on the size of the container as well as the plant’s root system.
- Use a chopstick, the topside of a knitting needle, or your fingers to poke a hole for plants. \
- Snug them in and tamp soil (the top of the knitting needle works great for this) down around roots.
- Use little decorative rocks (available in craft stores) to create your top-most layer. The thickness of the stones will depend on your personal preference. However, don’t get too high around the plants.
- Create a beautiful finish using found objects or small pieces of equipment such as birdhouses, gnomes wheelbarrows. These are all found at craft stores.
- Water plants.
- Place where it will get light appropriate for the plants you choose. Most will do well in an east window, though some are fine with more light.
- A week’s worth of water or less is based on the dimensions of the container and light exposure.
- Place your finger on the container in the direction of the first knuckle and check whether it’s dry.
- Make use of the watering container to make sure that water is directed to every plant.
- Make use of a water-soluble fertilizer that is diluted to half strength each month.
- If you would like your plants to be tiny, skip the fertilizer.
The great thing about terrariums is that they don’t take up much space and let you bring the outdoors in. Enjoy your new indoor garden!