How To Make Glass Container Terrariums
Terrariums In Vogue Again
Terrariums have made a comeback. They bring nature into your home. Their creation adds a complete ecosystem to any room. Terrariums were extremely popular in the Victorian era and, as anything vintage is in, terrariums are again rising in popularity. Anyone, green thumb or not, can create a beautiful work of living art in under two hours. Have trouble remembering to water your plant? A terrarium is the perfect plant companion for you. Open or closed, terrariums require little maintenance as the mini water cycle which occurs even in an open terrarium will mean much less watering for your plants. Terrariums can be created large or small. Your choice of container will determine the size and complexity of the plant ecosystem you create.
Materials For Making a Terrarium
- glass container with or without a lid, small or large
- small plants of varying textures and colors
- gravel, stone or beach glass pieces (enough to cover the bottom of your container 2 inches deep)
- activated charcoal or orchid mix containing charcoal
- sterile potting soil without fertilizer added (you do not want these plants growing large quickly)
- large spoon
Steps For Making An Open TerrariumClick thumbnail to view full-size
Instructions For Making A Glass Container Terrarium
- Choose your container, either one with a lid or an open container.
- Carefully put two inches of gravel or stone in the bottom of the glass container. Place the gravel with a large spoon so as to not crack or chip the glass.
- Place about ½ inch of activated or horticultural charcoal or orchid mix containing horticultural charcoal on top of the gravel. This mixture will keep your container sweet smelling by preventing bacterial growth.
- Place two or three inches of sterile potting soil over the orchid mix. Tap the soil firmly to remove air pockets.
- Create a planting hole for the first plant making sure the roots will fit in easily. Don't worry if you dig into the orchid mix and gravel a bit.
- Trim your plant if necessary and place it into the hole. Making sure all roots are covered, tap the soil down firmly.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 for all plants to be included in your terrarium.
- Water generously, making sure that the soil is damp but not sopping wet.
- Place in an area that receives low to medium sunlight - an east facing, north, north-east or north-west location is best.
- If your terrarium is a closed one, keep a careful watch on it for a day or two. If it is in a continual state of condensation, or mold appears, take off the lid for a while to release excess moisture.
- Enjoy the serenity of your creation!
Choosing Plants For A Terrarium
The plants you choose should have the following three characteristics:
- They should prefer high humidity.
- They should remain small or grow slowly.
- They should prefer a low to medium light source.
If you choose plants that grow faster than expected, don't worry. Any plant which grows too tall or wide can be trimmed when necessary. As it is a growing ecosystem, plant trimming will be necessary once in a while to keep your terrarium looking good.
Plants Suitable For An Open Or Closed Terrarium
Rhizomatous begonias (miniature)
Members of the African violet family such as chiritas, African violets, streptocarpus, episcias
Muehlenbeckia complexa – maidenhair vine
Polka Dot Plant
Tillandsias — air plants
Glass Container Terrariums For Home, Gifts And School
Glass container terrariums make wonderful additions to your home décor. They make beautiful centerpieces or accents in all but the most brightly lit areas. After trying a few for yourself, make one as a gift. They will make a lasting and cherished tribute to a friend or relative on their special day or for someone who needs cheering. Any classroom would benefit from a terrarium or two. They are an excellent means of teaching ecosystem principles to children from primary to high school. Especially in a closed terrarium, this mini ecosystem provides an excellent demonstration of the water cycle.
Hunt out those forgotten glass containers. Clean them well and hunting in your local supermarket or local greenhouse buy some interesting miniature plants and try your hand at the art of making a terrarium.