Will succulents work for self-sufficient terrariums

How do you make a terrarium? Make a nice terrarium!

Last update: House & Garden

Terraria became very popular home decorations. Not only are they extremely easy to make, but they also go with any interior style. Terrarium plants look incredibly impressive, and they are sure to amaze anyone who visits your home. They require minimal effort, which is great news for busy bees. If you want to give someone a piece of nature, a terrarium is a brilliant idea. It's a perfect housewarming or wedding gift. Learn how to make a terrarium. We have prepared best practices so that you can do one with no effort.

What is a terrarium? Tiny forest in the glass

Plants should be present in every household. Living in a city means very limited contact with nature. Because of this, potted plants are absolutely necessary elements of interior decoration for many. They have a calming effect on the human body. Terrariums are perfect for this purpose - such a miniature garden is a closed ecosystem that looks like a piece of real forest. Watching what is happening inside the glass is a very relaxing activity.

The plant terrarium was first invented in the Victorian era by the English doctor Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. Its glass container was rectangular in shape and was known as the Wardian Case. It was intended to transport plants on long journeys overseas.

Regardless of the shape of the container, all terrariums work in the same way. A microclimate develops inside the sealed vessel. This keeps the organisms inside alive. Since the entire construction is airtight, they are not affected by the weather outside.

How do you choose the right terrarium plants?

Creating your own terrarium does not require any special skills. All you need is your own creativity. It is worth learning a few tips that will help you build a perfect, long-lasting terrarium. One of the most important points in preparing a bottle garden is choosing the right plants. Remember that not all species will coexist harmoniously.

When preparing a terrarium, you have two options. You can set up an enclosed terrarium and seal the container so the plants can thrive in their own climate. You can also make an open decoration that needs watering from time to time. The type of plants you will choose depends on this decision.

Closed containers can contain tropical plants and those that like moisture. Slow-growing plants will be the best choice - they will not change their appearance much for a long time.

For compositions in closed terrariums, the following types can be used:

  • Fern,
  • Moss,
  • Peace lily,
  • Rubber tree,
  • hedera (ivy),
  • Pilea,
  • Glechoma (soil organism).

Keep in mind that some states make it illegal to collect moss from a forest. If you are unsure about the ability to collect moss in your country, maybe a better idea is to buy it from a flower shop. You can also collect the moss in your own yard if you own it.

Aside from the plants, you should also collect some decorative elements for your terrarium. For a closed terrarium it is best to use:

  • Rocks and pebbles,
  • Tree bark,
  • Cone,
  • small branches.

If your composition is going to be placed in an open container, consider choosing plants such as cacti and succulents. You have a free choice in this matter. For a good visual effect, it is good to combine plants with interesting shapes and forms. For example, you could choose echeveria that look like roses and living stones (lithops). The only limitation for your terrarium is not to mix and match plants that live in different environments, such as ferns with succulents.

How do you make a terrarium?

Before you begin setting up the composition in your terrarium, you should put together all of the relevant equipment. In addition to the right plants, you also need the right ones:

  • A glass container - the vessel can have any shape. If the plants you've collected like moisture, the container needs a tight lid. The size of the container should correspond to the size of the plants. It is worth choosing a larger glass vessel for your terrarium so that the plants have some room to grow. You can choose any jar made of glass - a large masonry jar, wide mouth bottles, or even old lightbulbs (remember to remove the filament from the inside).
  • Soil - You can use all-purpose potting soil, but any other type will do. Make sure it is disease and fungus free. If your terrarium is to contain succulents, you should probably use soil specially made for them.
  • Activated charcoal - you can buy it from a pharmacy or a pet store. Activated carbon regulates the moisture content in a closed container. It also prevents the plants from rotting. If the container is open, you can skip this part.
  • Gravel or sand - a terrarium needs a drainage layer. Material such as sand or gravel collects the excess water and protects the roots from getting wet. You can also use Keramsite for this purpose.

Making a terrarium

When you have all the necessary items prepared, you are ready to begin your home improvement terrarium project. It is good to protect your work space with old newspapers. This reduces cleaning to a minimum after the work is done.

  1. Wash the containers and sterilize them with hot water. The glass should be completely dry. If you are not sure that the drainage material and floor are clean, you can let them dry out in an oven. This kills all fungi and bacteria.
  2. Put the first layer - the drainage - on the bottom of the container. The layer of gravel or sand should be a few centimeters thick - 2 to 5 cm.

    The second layer is the activated carbon. Skip this step in the case of an open decoration.

  3. Put the soil in the container. It should be 5 to 10 cm. You can smooth the surface with your hands. Be careful not to stain the glass walls as they will be difficult to clean once the plants are inside.
  4. Dig several holes in the soil and put the plants in them. Cover the roots with soil and press down on them with your hands or a spoon. When planting a cactus, use thick gloves to avoid the risk of injuring yourself with sharp spines.
  5. Place the decorations - cones, pebbles, tree bark and moss. Do not place heavy stones on top of the moss, otherwise the moss may rot.
  6. The last step is watering your terrarium. It is best to use a pipette and pour about 10-15 milliliters of water. Then close the container tightly (if it is a closed terrarium).

How do you plant a terrarium?

The terrarium should be set up in a bright, but not sunny place. After a few days you should start noticing water on the walls of your closed terrarium. If the evaporation process is too intense, you can open the container for a few hours and then close it again. On the other hand, if you don't notice any water on the walls within 2 weeks, pour about 2 milliliters of water into the soil. You can repeat this until the water noticeably begins to evaporate.

If you've done everything right, the microclimate should work perfectly and your terrarium doesn't need any special attention. Only open compositions should be poured regularly. If you notice that the moisture content in your closed terrarium has dropped significantly, simply pour 2-5 ml of water. It should be enough for at least a year. The first signs that the container is too dry are yellow leaves on the plants.

Your terrarium plants can also be attacked by pests. They are often brought in with earth or moss.

If you've noticed any insects, use the appropriate insecticide. The problem should be resolved after a few days of treatment.

A terrarium is a beautiful decoration. Its maintenance does not require much effort - it is self-sufficient. A big advantage is the fact that it is very easy to make. If you don't have the time or motivation to prepare it, you can buy it from a flower shop. Such an attractive and unusual composition is definitely worth having.

📍 How do you make terrarium plants?

All you need to make a terrarium is a glass vessel, a few plants and some soil. A terrarium is made up of several layers - drainage, potting soil, plants and decorations. In larger cities, there are special home improvement courses where you can learn how to make such decorations.

📍 How do you maintain a terrarium?

With a few exceptions, the terrarium should be self-sufficient. Open terrarium plants should be watered regularly. Closed terrariums should not be opened.

📍 how to make a terrarium in a bottle

Start by placing the soil in your bottle terrarium and then use long and thin sticks (e.g. chopsticks) to place the plants inside. You could squeeze the moss to force it through the neck of the bottle.

📍 How do you grow moss in a terrarium?

The key to growing moss in a terrarium is restoring its natural conditions. Check what humidity is best for the moss you own. Water it regularly if the moss is placed in an open terrarium.

Dorota CzerwińskaAuthor

Dorota is an economist by profession, but her greatest hobbies are photography and interior design. In Treehouse since the beginning of 2019.

Contact: [email protected]