Want a hip way to add some easy greenery to your home? Try a terrarium. Yes, a terrarium – those small glass containers that house living plants (and sometimes animals). They’re self-contained, easy care, pretty to look at and totally eco-friendly. Terrariums have also become a bit of a trend, especially when made from reclaimed materials like old soda bottles, apothecary jars and even incandescent light bulbs.
Find instructions to transform an old incandescent bulb into a super tiny terrarium at The Hipster Home.
If you have the slightest DIY streak, it’s easy to make a terrarium. Pick up the step-by-step book “Tiny World Terrariums” for some terrific ideas, inspiration and instructions. Or, there are plenty of places to purchase a pre-made terrarium. You could also hop over to our site and pick up DIY sedum terrarium kit made from a reclaimed wine bottle.
A terrarium is basically a tiny, contained micro-climate environment. Typically, they are closed containers, and once set up, require very little care. An open terrarium is possible, but will require more effort to maintain proper watering. In an enclosed environment, moisture evaporates into the air, but since it’s sealed, the moisture can’t escape so the damp air stays in the terrarium, condensing on the walls and running back down into the soil to water the plants.
The fun part of a DIY terrarium is customizing it to your style. From the container to the plants and rocks inside, your terrarium is a reflection of your style and should fit with your décor. But why stop there? Take it a step further and create a tiny scene that’s perfect for your home. A little creativity will go a long way to creating tiny landscapes. Add some itty-bitty figurines and toys to take it to the next level. Your imagination, and the size of your container, are the only limits! Check out our Pinterest Terrarium board for some inspiration, then have fun and be creative!
The DIY Basics
What you need
- A glass container
- Small stones or gravel for drainage
- Crushed charcoal
- Groundcover such as moss, dried flowers, geodes, etc.
- Chopsticks or long tweezers
Building your terrarium
- Wash container thoroughly to prevent bacteria
- Place a layer of gravel or pebbles at the bottom for drainage
- Add a thin layer of charcoal to help keep things fresh
- Add layers of different kinds of sand for a layered effect
- Add soil, making sure you have enough soil to contain the roots of each plant.
- Place plants into the soil, starting with the largest, and pack the soil down lightly. Do not overcrowd!
- Lightly spritz plants and soil with water.
- Place your groundcover and figurines, arranging to make an attractive scene.
Maintaining your terrarium
- A closed terrarium may never need watering – the moisture already inside should be sufficient.
- In an open terrarium, soil should remain barely damp.
- If your terrarium does need water, carefully water the plants and soil, avoiding mosses and dried flowers.
- Mist your terrarium on a regular basis to maintain humidity. The frequency will vary on how large your container is, what type of plants are in it, the humidity level in your home and how well sealed the container is.
- Prune and remove dead foliage or overgrown plants to help prevent rotting.
- Bright, indirect light is best – it will create the right amount of heat and sunlight without “cooking your plants.
Things to consider
- For a low-light terrarium, consider ferns, moss, baby’s tears, fittonia peperomia, sanseveria and schefflera.
- For high-light terrariums in open containers, opt for cacti and succulents such as jade, aloe, burro’s tail, earth stars, echeveria, haworthia and sedum.
- In tiny terrarium, or for super easy care, consider tillandsia, or “air plants” that require no soil. You can eliminate the soil layer by using these members of the bromeliad family.