How to Make a Terrarium

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Terrarium-101-2_20-2A few weeks ago we attended a terrarium class at a local coworking space for home, garden, and other creative professionals. We brought along a couple of our favorite large containers and took the time to focus on creating a sweet little contained garden to observe, tend and love.InglenookTer1 - Containers

Staci Jasin of Insitu Design Landscape & Gardens, the instructor for the terrarium class, is our guest blogger today and has provided us with a step-by-step on how to create your own terrarium.

How To Get Started:

CHOOSE YOUR CONTAINER

Fillmore Container has several great terrarium container options including, 2.5 gallon Montana Jar, 2 gallon Heritage Hill Jar, and the 1.5 gallon Montana Jar. A lid is nice because it keeps moisture in, as long as you remember to take it off when a lot of water forms on the glass.  You might even have a terrarium container around your house or find a vintage item in an antique stores – the options can be limitless! Just do a test and pour water in the container to make sure it doesn’t leak.  Think about the shape, space, and imagine the height and width of plants inside the container you choose.Terrarium - how to make

CREATE THE EARTH

This is the step that makes a terrarium a ‘terrarium.’ The idea is that you are creating an ecosystem for the plants to live happily and healthy lives.  You do this by creating a good base:InglenookTer2 filling

  1. Add gravel (pea gravel, small river jacks, crushed sea glass) – you need a medium that has space to receive extra water to a depth of 1”+ (keep it to the scale of your container)
  2. Place a thin layer of moist long-fibered sphagnum moss – this helps keep the soil from washing into the gravel
  3. Sprinkle agricultural charcoal to just about cover the sphagnum moss bed – this acts as a filter to keep the ecosystem balanced
  4. Add soil.  An organic potting soil does the trick to keep the plants tucked in.  Let this soil layer be no about the same height as the plants (usually ~1.5-2” if you purchase small ‘terrarium sized’ plants)

PLANT YOUR PLANTS

Now’s the time to place your plants – choose temperate moisture and partial sun loving plants rather than succulents which like dry and sunny conditions.  You can purchase small plants at nursery or you might even be able to take cuttings and rootings from houseplants like spider plant and baby’s tears.  If you look outside, find little ferns unfurling right now (a good reason to start your terrarium now!).  In your soil layer, dig a small hole and tuck the plant in.  Put some light pressure around the roots once you have all the plants placed just where you like them. Remember, plants grow! So, give them space to get wide and tall.Terrarium FromTop - MontanaJar

PERSONALIZE & IMAGINETerrarium - watering

I love rocks and I’m happy when I can place a special rock in a terrarium.  Maybe there’s something special to you to place in your terrarium.  A little gnome or fairy figurine can transform your terrarium to something magical, or use more gravel to add texture to the top layer.  Use your imagination and take the time to look at the terrarium at the eye level as you move elements until its “just right!”

FIND ITS HOME

Terrariums like indirect light and consistently moist (not wet) soil.  Your container’s style might blend well with the aesthetics of a room in your house and that’s where its home will be.  The most successful terrariums are often within frequent sight of the caretaker (out of sight, out of mind rings true here).  Since terrariums are living ecosystems, it is fun to observe them, to watch the plants grow up close and be able to take note if the soil seems dry or wet.  In the hot summer months, be sure to keep your terrarium container off of its outdoors on a patio or porch where heat can get trapped inside.

Like all gardening, remember to enjoy the process.  Let the terrarium building be easy and the care taking of it be a simple pause in your week.Terrarium-MontanaJar

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