If you’d like to add a touch of green to the interior of your home, why not create a terrarium? A collection of small decorative plants transformed into a tabletop garden, and you don’t need to be a gardening expert: a terrarium is easy to create, inexpensive and seriously low-maintenance. With the right plants, moss, and pebbles or stones, these miniature gardens nestled into glass containers are as beautiful to look at as they are fun to make. Tempted to give it a try? Follow the instructions!

Materials to make a terrarium

A terrarium is not very demanding as far as materials are concerned. Three strata, or layers, are required for a successful environment: soil, moss, and plants. To create your oasis of green you will need:

  • A glass container or vessel suitable for the plants you chose, and deep enough for their root systems to grow easily. For an open terrarium, opt for a container with a large enough opening to enable sufficient air flow, such as a glass jar or bowl. If you choose to create a closed terrarium, the height of the container is crucial, since it must be adequate for the height of the plants you’ve chosen.
  • Gravel and pebbles in various sizes.
  • A substrate made up of equal parts earth and sand, or soil specially formulated for cacti.
  • Living moss.
  • A funnel to make it easier to add the soil required; you can also make a funnel out of paper.
  • A small spoon or wooden chopstick to place and adjust the elements in your terrarium.

Prefered plant species

For your creation to remain a beautiful green, you must choose the plant species that will bring your terrarium to life very carefully.

Highly recommended:

  • Succulent plants, which are wonderfully suited to a terrarium collection. Low-maintenance, succulents are available in so many different shapes and colours. Here are a few to consider:
    • Echeveria;
    • Crassula;
    • Kalanchoe;
    • Sedum;
    • Adromischus;
    • Gasteria;
    • Haworthia.
  • Plants that are adaptable for bonsai, like the Ficus ginseng.
  • Exotic plants like fittonia
  • Plants in the bromeliaceous family, such as tillandsia.
  • Orchids
  • Cacti

Follow these steps for a terrarium

Make your own terrarium

  1. Cover the bottom of your glass container with 2 cm of gravel. This layer is important because it creates a drainage layer so that water settles in your terrarium without flooding the plants.
  2. Delicately remove the plants from their pots and carefully loosen the earth from around the roots.
  3. Add a layer of soil on the gravel.
  4. Position the plants on the layer of soil; start by putting the largest plants at the back.
  5. When you are satisfied with your arrangement, fill in the spaces between the plants with soil. Use a funnel to add the soil exactly where you want it.
  6. Gently tamp the soil around the plants with a chopstick.
  7. Spread a layer of fine gravel on the soil. Use the funnel as needed.
  8. Decorate with large pebbles.
  9. Water lightly – approximately the equivalent of a small glass of water – over the whole surface of the terrarium.

Maintaining your terrarium

The care of a terrarium is really very simple!

Watering:

  • Keep it to once a month, watering in very small quantities from spring to autumn.
  • Do your best to avoid getting water on the plants’ leaves.
  • Make sure the water drains through and that the earth dries out between watering.
  • During the winter months, the dormant period, put the terrarium in a cool location and stop watering entirely.

Fertilizers are not necessary. You may, however, fertilize once per year in the spring, using a fertilizer appropriate for cacti.

  • Cut back plants as needed and cut branches that are either dead or too bushy.

Location:find a place where your succulents can enjoy lots ofindirect light from fall to winter and partial shade during the spring and summer.

  • Put the terrarium near a window and rotate occasionally.
  • Avoid direct sun; the sunlight through the glass will trap the heat and can scorch the plants.
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