Friday, March 22, 2013

DIY: Making a Terrarium

Making a Terrarium
My Mum and Dad both have green thumbs, and used to own a garden nursery when I was a baby. They have a huge bonsai collection (some of which are older than I am), but lately Mum has been rediscovering terrariums. 

Having seen the latest terrarium craze on Etsy, blogs and pinterest, I was under the misguided belief that succulents were a good choice for these little indoor gardens. In fact succulents wont survive long in closed terrariums, as it is far too humid for them to thrive. If you really want to use succulents, choose a dish like pot or bowl to allow plenty of air to circulate and definitely do not use a container with a lid or deep sides. Also, if you choose to use succulents, remember to add clean coarse sand to the soil before you begin. 

Making a Terrarium
Making a Terrarium

You will need:
A glass container with or without a lid (we scoured op shops, dollar stores and even the garbage tip and found a nice selection of suitable containers).
Activated charcoal
Potting mix
Terrarium plants (we used plants such as small ferns, Hypoestes and Baby's Breath). There is a list here of more plants which are suitable.
Spray bottle and water
Decorative ornaments if desired

To assemble:
1.)   To aid drainage and avoid roots rotting, place a layer of gravel in the container (about 1.5” deep).

2.)   Next add a layer of activated charcoal, which absorbs moisture and odours.

3.)   You can add a layer of sphagnum moss (Mum didn’t), for aesthetics and also to keep the potting mix from settling in the gravel.

4.)   Add a layer of potting mix, at least a few inches deep. The amount depends on the size and shape of the container but make sure it is deep enough to accommodate the roots of your plants.

5.)   Once you have decided where you would like each plant to be placed you can begin to remove plants from their pots. You may need to trim the roots, which will slow the growth of the plant (a good thing in a terrarium!); you can trim up to half the roots without damaging the plant.

6.)   To plant, dig a hole in the soil, and place plant in, gently patting soil around it. Create interest by varying heights and colours of plants.

7.)   Water your plants with a spray bottle, and ensure soil is damp but not soaked.

Terrarium care:
Keep your terrarium moist and out of direct sunlight and away from heaters to avoid it drying out. If your terrarium has a lid,  take the lid off every few weeks (or if you see a lot of condensation) to air it out.  

Making a Terrarium
There you have it! If you have any questions let me know, I'm sure Mum will know the answer!
Have a great weekend! x

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