Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Terrarium for the Win

Over Christmas last year, Josh and I bought a giant jar of the most massive marshmallows for roasting… These things were ridiculous, and took almost as long to roast a good old fashioned turkey.
Almost a year later, I had the idea of using the jar as a terrarium. So I have done a little research, and found the below to be the most helpful instructions on how to go about it.
(Adapted from this wikiHow article)

What you will need:

A clear container

Light potting soil


Activated charcoal pieces

Sheet Moss

Decoration (optional)

How to Make Your Terrarium:

1. Decide which plants to use. Any low maintenance plant can be used to make a terrarium. Choose plants that will grow well together.
Choose plants that won't outgrow the terrarium container.
Plants that prefer shade are best. Plants inside a terrarium have to be tolerant of low levels of light.

Humidity levels in terrariums rise quickly, so choose plants, like those from rain forests or woodlands, that grow well in such an environment.

2. Choose a container. You will need a glass or plastic container that is deep enough for your plants' roots.

3. Decide where to keep the terrarium. Terrariums are ultra low maintenance, but in order to remain so they must be placed in an ideal location.

Light: All plants need light, and plants in terrariums are no exception. However, since glass magnifies, avoid direct sunlight. Instead, choose a location where your plant will receive plenty of indirect light.

Temperature: Terrariums should be kept inside, in a warm room. Avoid extreme temperatures or sudden changes in temperature.

4. Purchasing supplies. To make a terrarium, you will need:

Potting soil. Choose light soil with lots of drainage, and preferably sphagnum/peat moss included. To check drainage, lightly wet soil and hold it in your fist: when you open your hand, heavy soil will clump, whereas light soil will fall apart.

Pebbles or gravel. Both provide drainage when placed at the bottom of the terrarium, and a neat appearance when placed at the top of a terrarium. Choose stones 1/4 of an inch or smaller for drainage, but choose whatever you'd like for topdressing.

Activated charcoal. Unless the container the plant will be in has a drainage hole, use activated charcoal pieces, which you can purchase from aquarium supply stores or garden centers. This keeps soil fresh.

Sheet moss. Sheet moss is useful when lining the bottom of the terrarium. It provides a "sponge" for absorbing excess water.

Decoration. Pick any decoration you'd like to add to your terrarium, as long as it won't be damaged by exposure to water. Examples include miniature garden gnomes, shells, rocks, small statues or aquarium d├ęcor.

5. Clean the glass container. If the container was previously used, wash it thoroughly with soapy water and rinse it well to remove all soapy residue. A dirty terrarium grows bacteria over time, so use an anti-bacterial soap if you can.

6. Add rocks for drainage. Mix the gravel/pebbles with a generous handful of charcoal. Put a layer about an inch high of this mixture inside the terrarium container.

7. Add a layer of moss. Moss will prevent soil from filtering down into the gravel.

8. Add the soil. Depending on the size of the terrarium and the length of the plants' roots, you should be adding about two or three inches of soil. Gently pack it down to remove air pockets and level the surface. Dig small holes into the soil where you will put the plants.

9. Add the plants. Remove a plant from its container and tease the roots gently apart to remove excess soil. Nestle it carefully into a hole you made previously and add more soil around it, patting it down gently. Repeat with the rest of the plants.

10. Add the decoration. You can also add moss or pebbles to neaten the top of the terrarium.

11. Give your plants a bit of moisture. Lightly water your terrarium and you're done!


If your terrarium is open, water the plants occasionally. This won't be necessary for airtight terrariums, but plants in open terrariums will need to be watered once a week. Succulents and cacti only need to be watered once a month.


Keep your plants healthy. If you see weeds, mold, or sick plants, remove the affected area immediately. Also, remove wilting parts of the plant, such as old flowers.

Let some fresh air in. If your terrarium is airtight, air it out. Though this usually isn't necessary, if your plants are wilting or there's condensation on the sides of the terrarium, air it out.

I will post pictures of my terrarium soon.


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