What is a terrarium?
A terrarium can come in many shapes and sizes. A basic definition of a terrarium is a jar or container that houses any type of plant life suitable for humid environments. Basically, it is a miniature and stylish version of a greenhouse; a plant in a jar.
Terrariums are pleasing to look at and artistically rewarding to create. They offer an excellent way to recycle empty jars lying around the house. Almost any type of clear glass or plastic container will do. Examples of jars and containers to recycle as terrarium housing include, candle jars, sauce jars, glassware (i.e. wine glass, bowls), water bottles or jugs, test tubes, beakers, and even light bulbs have been used.
Fun fact: In addition to serving as a home to plant life, a terrarium can also be used to house certain reptile species when using a large sized container.
Terrariums are perfect for any home .
- They are easy and inexpensive to create. Building a terrarium is a stress free, simple task. Even the kids can help! They require just a few ingredients to make and take up only minutes of your time. It is amazing what little effort goes into creating such a rewarding and beautiful project. An elegant terrarium can be created using less than 5 dollars. The frugal minded folks may even be able to create one for free if they put forth a little extra effort to find materials. Those willing to venture out into nature can collect their ingredients for little to no cost at all.
- They take care of themselves. Since the soil and plant life are housed in a closed or semi closed environment, the moisture and humidity remain for much longer than exposed potted plants. The need for watering is almost non existent and the temperature remains nice and comfortable for the plants despite the room temperature in your home. Terrariums are perfect for people who don’t have much time to devote to caring for house plants.
- They display the unique personality of their creator. A creative mind can dream up an endless supply of possibilities when it comes to choosing materials and designing the layout of a terrarium. Almost anything can be added to the terrarium landscape. Every terrarium is unique and showcases its creator’s perception of beauty. Everything, from the jar to the soil, is selected by the one creating the terrarium and each item is placed according to the way they see fit. A terrarium is a living piece of art and a wonderful way for a person to express themselves. They are an excellent addition to any home decor.
Which plants will thrive in a terrarium environment?
An important factor to consider when planning to build a terrarium is the type of plant life to include. Not all species will survive in the kind of environment that a terrarium has to offer. Some plants can rot due to the moisture levels and others have trouble establishing a root system in shallow soil. To get the best results and enjoy a terrarium for a long time to come, choose a plant that will thrive in this type of environment.
The plants listed below are the best options to choose from.
- Moon Valley Friendship Plant
- Variegated Spider Fern
- Starfish Plant
- Nerve Plant
- Peperomia Caperata ‘Variegata’
- Pilea Glauca ‘Aquamarine’
- Air Plant
- Minimus Aureus
- Black Mondo Grass
- Strawberry Begonias
What materials are needed to create a terrarium?
Container: Choose any container that suites your preference. As stated above, any clear glass or plastic container will do. You can use a container with or without a lid. The lid is optional.
Soil: Standard potting soil is ideal for terrariums. You can also add layers of sand between your soil and rocks during construction to enhance the appearance if you prefer. A small bag of potting soil will be more than enough for constructing a small terrarium.
Rocks: Any rocks will suffice. Keep in mind that the rocks will most likely be visible in your terrarium so choose stones that are pleasing to look at. They are necessary to provide drainage for your plants and can also be used to accent the surface landscape.
Plants: Choose plants that will fit comfortably into the container you have chosen. You may use plants that are already started or begin from seeds. Refer to the list above for plants that are suitable for your terrarium environment.
Time to start building!
- Clean the container. It is important to begin with a clean and chemical free environment to house terrarium plants. Starting with a clean container will also add to the aesthetic value of the final product. Wash the jar with warm soapy water and follow with a hot water rinse. Remove any debris, smudges, or spots. Dry with a paper towel or dish towel.
- Fill the bottom with stones. Rocks and stones are placed in the bottom of the terrarium to provide drainage for the plants and protect their root systems from water rot. Place a layer of stones about 1-2 inches in depth along the bottom of the container. Keep in mind that room for soil and plants will be needed. Adjust the depth of rocks according to the size of the container.
- Add the soil. Using a spoon or scoop, place a layer of soil directly on top of the layer of rocks. Use at least 3-4 inches if space allows. There must be enough soil depth to allow the plants to take root. Sand can also be added as a layer beneath the dirt to enhance the appearance of the terrarium. Even colored sand works great.
- Start planting! Once a sufficient amount of soil is added, plants can be placed into the terrarium. Whether planting a seed or a plant from the nursery, remember to leave enough room for root growth and future growth. Arrange them in a way that is pleasing to your eye and water gently after planting. You should see a small amount of water draining through the rock layer. Do not keep watering once you see the water gathering at the bottom.
- Decorate! You can add your own personal touches to your terrarium by including small items and decorations. There are several ways you can introduce your personality. Use items like, gemstones, crystals, polished stones, twigs, or anything you find in nature that appeals to you. Manufactured objects like, dollhouse furniture, animal figurines, small cottages, castles, and houses, and faux flowers, trees, and plants are all great options to choose from. Arrange the items you select in any way you like. Create your own scenery in your new little world.
Congratulations! Your terrarium is complete!
A finished terrarium can be placed in any area of the home or office that receives natural sunlight. As the terrarium progresses and begins to thrive, plants may require a trim from time to time in order to maintain the appearance of the scenery. Watering should not be required often. If moisture or condensation is present within the terrarium, there is a sufficient amount of water. If not and the soil appears dry, water as stated in the directions above.
Terrariums are known for being easy to care for and beautiful to look at. Almost anyone can build and care for one with little knowledge about plants. They make wonderful gifts and are great for teaching and inspiring kids. A terrarium can bring years of satisfaction to someone’s life and add a touch of elegance to any setting.
Thank you for your interest! Enjoy your new terrarium!