How to Liven up Your Winter with a Terrarium

January 18, 2017

Building a terrarium is a great wintertime activity that’s fun for both kids and adults.  Terrariums provide a way to create a miniature indoor garden.  They’re low maintenance, making them an ideal choice for beginners and those who have little time to care for plants.  Terrariums also allow an opportunity to express your inner gardener without taking up a lot of space.  You can personalize them by including all sorts of items in order to create your own garden scene. 

Selecting a Container

Terrariums can be open or closed and are built using a clear glass container.  The container provides a mini garden environment and is often a simple household item.  Some good choices are interesting glass bowls, mason jars, fish bowls, large wine glasses or an old aquarium.  Keep in mind that containers with wider openings make it easier to place the plants inside.

Personalizing Your Terrarium

The most entertaining part of making a terrarium is adding accessories as a finishing touch.  Some people create a garden scene and make a hobby out of looking for small terrarium items.  The accessories can say something about you by representing your interests and personal style.  Typical accessories include miniature animals, furniture, glittery crystals, shells, stones and jewelry.

Easy Steps for Building a Terrarium

Terrariums are easy to build and maintain.  You can construct them yourself or as part of a group activity.  After choosing a container, follow these simple steps to create your own terrarium:

  1. Build a medium – consists of 3 layers that equal about 1/3 of the container height when combined. Build your medium using:
    • Stones/Pebbles – place a layer of small stones in the bottom of the container for better drainage.
    • Activated charcoal – add a thin layer of activated charcoal over the stones to help with filtration and cleanliness.
    • Potting soil – place a layer of potting soil on top of the charcoal. The amount will vary, depending upon the size of the container.
  2. Add plants – choose slow growing miniatures that are either foliage or succulent plants. Try not to mix and match them since they have different needs (succulents generally require brighter light and less water). 
    • Make small holes for roots and carefully add plants.
    • Press on the soil to make sure that the plants are secure. 
    • Remove air pockets by tapping lightly down on the soil.
  3. Water plants – water the base of the plants using a turkey baster or medicine dropper for more precise and concentrated watering. This technique mainly applies to open terrariums.  The closed types can be watered by slightly misting the soil.
  4. Add finishing touches – use accessories to personalize your aquarium and also top with some colorful moss if desired.

Finally, place your terrarium in indirect light and water sparingly once every one to two weeks.  Sit back and enjoy your new mini garden! 

For more information about terrariums and how to build your own, contact Floral & Hardy of Skippack at 610-584-0797.