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Making the Perfect Terrarium

Updated on May 3, 2009

So what is a terrarium?!

A terrarium is a neat little self-contained environment of plants and sometimes small animals. Terrariums are self-sustaining. I made one nearly a year ago and have only watered it once, and the plants are still growing and thriving! I've even had to trim them back a couple of times. There are tons of different varieties of terrariums to make and once you make one, you'll find that they're rather addicting! It's a low-cost habit that has a beautiful result and allows you to show your creativity! Even if you don't have a knack for gardening, you cannot go wrong when it comes to making a terrarium!

What will I need?

1. A glass container with a lid. Ideally one that is fishbowl-sized, but this may vary. Don't stress if you really want to use a glass container that does not have an accompanying lid, but in this case, you will need to get Saran Wrap, string, and the ribbon of your choice.

2. Untouched potting soil.

3. Distilled water.

4. Gravel.

5. Plants of your choice!

6. Activated carbon. (Hint: you can find this wherever aquarium supplies are sold.)

7. Any decorative elements you might want to add to your terrarium - rocks, signs, anything!

Awesome glass containers for your terrarium

What kind of plants work best?

Most small plants will work well for your terrarium, but you should be mindful to get plants that have similar needs. For example, you wouldn't want to put a plant that needs a lot of sunlight in a terrarium that doesn't need sunlight at all.

Don't go overboard when choosing plants; they'll need room to grow and thrive inside of your terrarium. Typically two or three will work best.

A really popular choice for terrariums are African Violets - they add a lot of color and are low-maintenance.

Other good choices:

- small ferns

- moss

- Creeping Charlie

- Swedish ivy

- Maidenhead spleenwort

- Tahitian bridal veil

Just search around and find plants that look nice together and are compatible!

How to do it

1. Layer one inch of gravel at the bottom of your glass container.

2. Add a layer of the activated carbon on top of the gravel.

3. Add the soil - this should be thick enough for your plants to be rooted in, so several inches at least. Don't be greedy with your soil!

4. Arrange your plants and figure out how they would be best placed within the glass container. Plant them in the soil, and lightly press the soil down around the plant. Add your decorative elements where you would like them.

5. Moderately water your terrarium and close it off.

If you do not have a water-tight lid:

6. Use Saran Wrap to tightly cover the top of the glass container.

7. Wrap string around the top of the container so the Saran Wrap is tight and in place.

8. Use the ribbon of your choice to cover the string. Tie a nice big bow!

It may be hard to believe, but you won't need to water your terrarium for weeks at a time, and even then, a light misting will suffice. Your terrarium will give the gift of self-sustination!

Your plants will likely grow nice and tall so you'll want to clip them back if they grow too much.

Why should I make one?

Terrariums are so easy, why WOULDN'T you want to make one? Making a terrarium will give you the satisfaction of caring for a living plant without the effort of a garden! This is especially good for those who don't have the time to dedicate to a garden, or for those who seem to kill every plant they touch. (*cough* My mother *cough*)

They spruce up any living area or office! Really, they are very nice to look at and they are compatible with any style of decor you are trying to achieve.

What did you think about this lens?


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    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 4 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      great, but is there enough Oxygen produced to sustain a praying mantis?

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      My name is Bonnie and I’m a Giant Squid Community Organizer here on Squidoo. I think you’ve got a quality lens on your hands and should check out the Giant Squid Program! Giant Squids are the best-of-the-best on Squidoo and get some amazing perks.

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      me4now 9 years ago

      Great idea!!