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Miniature gardens: A guide to creating your own terrarium

how to make a terrarium

Photo by Nielsen Ramon

Are you keen on gardening but don’t have the space to do so? Or are you perhaps a person who doesn’t exactly have a green thumb? We get it, not everyone has the space, time or even personality to keep a lot of plants alive at home. However, that doesn’t have to mean that we can’t enjoy the benefits of living with plants. So, if you want to enjoy the sight of greenery, maybe a terrarium is what just you might need. These mini gardens are super fun to create and an ideal way to give life to your indoor space.

how to make a terrarium
Photo by Nielsen Ramon

They are decorative and easy to take care of. A win-win DIY creative project. So, whether you are looking for the perfect solution to bring the outdoors at home, or a special, unique idea for a gift, consider creating a DIY terrarium.

What exactly is a terrarium?

A collection of small, decorative plants usually placed in a sealable glass container is called a terrarium. There are many kinds of terrariums. They are typically transparent, but can be open to the atmosphere as well. Kept as decorative or ornamental items, these mini tabletop gardens can come in many different forms. The best part about creating a DIY terrarium is that you actually get to make something that is one-of-a-kind, carrying your personal print.

Why are terrariums the perfect décor?

Terrariums are practical and simply beautiful at the same time. They are convenient for both people living in small spaces and for those who just love to garden. Here are 5 reasons to create one of your own immediately:

Add greenery to your apartment

It’s no surprise that living with plants is good for the air, boosts oxygen and is good for one’s mood in general. They instantly brighten up the indoor area, and make the perfect décor to any room. Even if you are not a person who has time and energy to take care of plants, guess what? Terrariums will create the impression of greenery in the apartment, and won’t require too much work. Who can stay indifferent to that?

No space? No problem

You can basically create a terrarium in just about any clear glass vessel. And yes, it has to be clear so the sunlight can get it. Since you can choose between an open or closed terrarium (which will be discussed below), you can also decide on the size of the container which you use to create your mini garden. And the best part? A simple mason jar or a coffee maker carafes can do the trick.

They are low maintenance.

Terrariums are very easy to take care of, as the most work around them is done while potting them. After that, most people water their terrariums about once a month (if an open terrarium), i.e. when the soil or the leaves look dry. If you have a closed terrarium and notice that there is no condensation on the sides, that’s when you know that you should spray some water down the sides. It’s not like you can forget about it completely, but when compared to taking care of a flower, terrariums are low maintenance.

Grow different kinds of plants. 

Whether you choose to make an open or closed terrarium will dictate which plants are most suitable to use. A closed terrarium will create a humid environment, unlike open terrariums, which are drier. So, plants like African violets, or ferns are more suitable for closed terrariums, whereas succulents, cacti and even herbs like mint and thyme are perfect for open ones.

Get wild and creative!

This will be your own DIY project, so you can basically decorate it however you want. According to your style or interior décor, you can even add different-coloured pebbles and any other kinds of accessories.

Open or closed terrarium?

Open terrarium

As the name itself suggests, an open container terrarium doesn’t require a lid. One of the biggest benefits of this type of terrarium is that they give you increased control over their moisture levels. You can easily adjust the moisture content by adding or removing water, which isn’t the case with the closed terrarium. The one downside to these types of terrariums is that they aren’t self-sufficient, since they don’t contain a lid. So, the plants might end up popping out of the container sometimes.

how to make a terrarium
Photo by @ cottonbro

Closed terrarium

Also known as sealed terrariums, these types of terrariums consist of a lid over the glass container which safely encloses the plants within the inside. Due to the fact they are closed, the environment inside the closed terrariums creates a slightly higher temperature. This helps evaporation of all the moisture that comes from the soil and plants. The most important benefit of closed terrariums is that the plants that grow inside them don’t dry out or wilt easily. This happens due to the fact that the water vapor that condenses inside falls back to the soil and plants, creating a constant supply of water and stopping them from drying out.

Let’s get started: What do you need to create your own perfect mini garden?

  • Glass Vessel with a Lid

There is a great variety of containers from which to choose. The only important thing is that this vessel is transparent so you can enjoy the sight of your unique terrarium.

  • Small Stones or Pebbles

 They will be used as the base of your terrarium. Their role is to help water drainage to ensure that the excess water doesn’t stay in the soil and cause rotting.

  • Activated Charcoal

 It will keep water fresh and help fight off bacterial growth in your mini garden

  • Potting Soil

A very important layer in your terrarium. Any type of soil should do the trick, but if you opt for cacti or succulents, there should be special mixes available.

  • Plants

The reason why you are creating a terrarium in the first place. You can pick out a few of your favourite pint-sized plants to create your little mini garden of heaven and enjoy them every day.

  • Small gardening tools

Things like gloves, trowel and a watering can will help you create and put everything into place.

Let’s make a terrarium in a few simple steps!

Step 1

Build the base by placing approximately 1 to 2 inches of charcoal in the base of the glass container.

Step 2

Let’s mix it up now, combine a bit of the remaining charcoal with soil by hand or with a trowel. This will help with soil drainage and will continue clearing toxins from the terrarium throughout the container.

Step 3

Now add the second layer. Fill the container 1/3 or 1/4 with the charcoal-soil mixture. Don’t forget to gently pack the soil every two inches in order to avoid large air pockets.

Step 4

Time to add greens! Make sure you carefully remove your plants from their previous containers, and place them on top of the soil to ensure proper spacing. Be aware that you should allow enough room between the plants for additional soil.

Step 5

Squash the air out of the soil by using your hands. Tuck the plants deep enough into the soil to cover all plant roots. Keep them from reaching too far above the top of the glass container as well.

Step 6

This is optional, but you can put moss on top of the soil and between plants. It will help absorb odors and absorb any excess water that can lead to root rot. Not to mention it gives the surface a kind of a lush, finished look.

Step 7

Water the plants, and make sure you place the terrarium in a well-lit area with indirect light. How often you water it in the future depends on the types of plants you have selected and the environment they are growing in. They won’t be requiring much maintenance, except trimming from time to time, especially if you keep them in an open container.

how to make a terrarium
Photo by @ cottonbro

What are you waiting for? Get creative and enjoy a beautiful mini garden of your own!

These miniature gardens placed in glass containers have lately become increasingly popular all over the world. And we shouldn’t be surprised, they are super practical and make the perfect indoor and outdoor decoration. Terrariums take up very little space, and they are low maintenance, which makes them ideal for those who don’t have time or space to create or take care of a garden. One thing is certain, they can be your next DIY craft carrying your personal stamp and make wonderful centerpieces!

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