Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Make a Terrarium

Terrariums can be easy to grow. Choose a glass vessel, preferably with a lid. (Plastic wrap will do in a pinch.) Depending on the size and height of the container, add an inch or two of gravel. Add an additional inch or two of horticultural charcoal. Charcoal acts as a water filter and will keep the little bit of water you'll add later from getting stagnant. Add a layer of potting mix. Again depending on the size of your container, levels will vary. I've used an old aquarium and could actually add hills and valleys to the terrarium landscape. In a smaller vessel, a couple of inches will do. Remember, the potting mix does have to be deep enough to satisfy your plants' root systems.

Now comes the fun part of terrarium making. Choosing plants for the terrarium can be a little intimidating. Look for tropical plants that don't get too tall or grow too wide. You'll have to match the plant to the container also. A tall glass container can handle a plant like a Norfolk Island Pine or a long-leaved dracaena. Wider glassware can be planted with groundcover-type houseplants like baby's tears and strawberry begonias. I love ferns; the humidity levels that terrariums provide are perfect for them. Also consider Venus fly-traps and other plant oddities that require high moisture levels. And, cacti and succulents can be grown in terrariums too; just keep the lids off and plant relatively high in the container.

Terrariums will not need much water. Do water the plants in initially, keeping any lids off until condensation disappears from the sides of the glass.  I am amazed at how long terrariums can go without water. Do check to make sure the soil is moist, but not too wet and water when the soil surface is dry to the touch.

Stop in and take a look at the tremendous variety of small plants that can be grown in terrariums. You'll love the mini-violets and orchids for color. And stay tuned. We will be receiving some adorable accessories to convert your mini-glass gardens into homes for fairies and gnomes.

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