This spring, we are excited to introduce our Build-Your-Own Terrarium Station inside the retail shop. We have everything you need to make your own glassed garden – select a vessel from our variety of glass containers or bring your own – then add air plants, cute ferns and succulents, moss, stone, and sand. There’s no need to lug home bags of extra material you don’t need – Pick exactly what you need and make it at our garden center. We’ll be around to answer any questions you have. This guide will help get you started.
What is a Terrarium?
A Terrarium is essentially a miniature greenhouse. Plants and soil release water vapor, which is trapped by the glass and recycle the water back to the plants. Terrariums can be sealed or open. Open Terrariums need a little more maintenance than sealed terrariums because moisture evaporates more quickly.
- A clear vessel (open or with a lid)
- Small pebbles
- Potting soil for tropical plants, cactus soil and sand for succulents
- Accessories: stones, shells, moss etc
- A spoon for placing soil in your container
- Scissors for trimming plant roots
- Start with a medium-sized, clear glass container. Anything works as long as it has an opening large enough to fit a plant through. Closed terrariums have a lid – they recycle water more efficiently than open containers but may need to be opened occasionally to allow fresh air into the terrarium. Open containers need to be watered more frequently but typically not as often as other houseplants.
- Fill the bottom of the vessel with a layer of pebbles. This is the drainage layer and collects water that drains through the soil so it can be recycled back up through the container. If your terrarium will be closed, make sure to spread a light layer of horticultural charcoal on top of the pebbles before adding soil. Charcoal keeps the soil fresh by eliminating bacteria, fungi, and odors. Add a layer soil deep enough for your plants (about 2 1/2”) on top of the charcoal. Use potting soil if using tropical plants like dwarf palms or ferns, or cactus soil and/or sand if using succulents.
- Using a spoon, make a hole large enough for your first plant in the soil. Start with the largest plant. Remove the plant from its container and shake off excess soil from the roots. Place the plant in the prepared hole, tamping the soil down firmly around it to hold it in plant and remove air pockets. Space plants approximately 1” apart from each other, making sure that there is room for growth.
- Plant the remaining plants, working from largest to smallest. Leave open spaces for moss, rocks, and other accessories. If using air plants, place them on top of the soil.
- After you have arranged all your plants are arranged, add accessories such as moss, driftwood, stones, sea shells, or rocks.
- Water your terrarium based on how dry the soil is. Open terrariums typically need water every 1-2 weeks, depending on what types of plants you’re using. Closed terrariums rarely need watering. Check your soil to determine if your terrarium needs water. If water is dripping down from the top of a closed terrarium, open the lid for some fresh air. Mist your plant to maintain humidity as needed.
- If leaves die or wilt, remove them from the terrarium immediately to prevent rotting. If an entire plant dies, take it out.
- Place your terrarium in indirect sunlight. Terrariums are essentially mini greenhouses, so direct sunlight will trap heat under the glass and scorch your plants.