Terrariums are wonderful, magical environments. Decorative, attractive, and easy to care for, just plant and forget. Because terrariums recycle their moisture, they need very little attention. A closed terrarium can often go a month or more between watering. They actually thrive on neglect! Now even people who tend to neglect plants can develop a "Green Thumb".
Any clear container can be made into a terrarium. the main requirement is that it be watertight. Choose something that is large enough to accomodate the plants, and has a cover, lid, or door to keep the moisture from escaping. Jars, bottles, and aquariums are some of the more common containers used. More elaborate designs made from Acrylic Plastic, Leaded and Stained Glass, and Glass Block, can add an elegant touch to your home decor. Whatever the container, a humble pickle jar, or a Contemporary Glass Sculpture, you can bring an easy to care for touch of nature into you home.
Many plants do well in terrariums, and it is best to choose the ones that will fit the size of the container. Slower growing plants require less trimming, and are less likely to take over. If you are willing to pay more attention to them, you can experiment with more aggressive plants. They require more frequent trimming, but will allow you to have more variety in your terrarium.
If you follow these instructions, you will see how easy it is to create and enjoy these miniature eco-systems. Making a terrarium is also a wonderful way for children to learn about nature.
- Place a 1/2 inch layer of small gravel in bottom.
- Sprinkle some activated charcoal on top. ( Optional )
- Fill to proper height with a good draining potting soil. If soil "clumps" when squeezed, add some Perlite, or Vermiculite to lighten it up. These can usually be found in garden shops.
- Install plants. The number will depend on the size of the plants, and the container. Don't overplant. Leave room to grow. Push the soil aside, place a plant in the depression, and firm the soil around it.
- Repeat for each plant.
- Water lightly. ( 3 or 4 ounces )
Neglect It! Water lightly only after it gets dry once every few weeks, depending on conditions. NEVER OVERWATER! Place in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight. You should have enough light to read by. When plant gets as big as you want, pinch off the newest growth to encourage bushier growth. Then Enjoy!
Do not fertilize. As the nutrients get used up the plant's growth will slow down, helping to keep them under control. Over time the soil can be "refreshed" by scraping off the top layer of soil, and adding some fresh potting soil. This will add a small amount of nutrient, as well as freshening up it's appearance.
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