Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Terrific Terrariums

We had friends over recently, so I thought making terrariums would be a fun project to do together & it was!
Since it is a closed environment and creates its own ecosystem, a terrarium is perfect for someone who often travels or doesn't have time to attend to plants daily. It's not uncommon for a terrarium to be fine without water for 4 months or longer!

Here's what you need to make your own:
A clear glass container with lid. I snagged both of these glass jars for $3 from a local thrift store. You can choose all different shapes/sizes...the bigger the better.

Potting Soil
Rocks for drainage (you can add decorative marbles, stones or gravel too). We used some colored glass pieces I had on hand from a stained glass project- mixed with some rock.
Activated Carbon  this helps keep the soil and air clean, also keeps any odor away. This is the same stuff you use in an aquarium and can be purchased at your local pet store.
Moss (Sphagnum), this is really optional. I like it for aesthetic purposes as it keeps the layers a bit separate.

Plants, we used air cleaning plants and ones that grow well in terrariums (fern, purple waffle). There are a variety of plants that will work well in a terrarium.

Break apart to make smaller plants, trim back roots

Fun personal touches, we each picked out an animal to add to our ecosystem.
Next, get to building your layers!

Decorative glass is added to the bottom

In order from bottom up:
Add decorative glass, rocks (drainage to bottom)
Add a couple table spoons of charcoal over the rocks, spread evenly
Add a thin layer of moss (optional)
Add potting soil (a couple inches worth)
Add plants

Water lightly. This is important.
When watering, only add a teaspoon or small cap full at a time (once a week for two weeks to get it started, then mist lightly  once every 2 weeks or less - as needed). If there is condensation on the glass- do not water (wipe condensation off).
Do keep the lid on to allow the humidity to remain inside.

Most importantly, terrariums like some sun, but do not place terrarium in direct sunlight.

This is a fun 'care project' for the kids- having them inspect their little ecosystem and take care of it.

Here's some interesting history on terrariums, going all the way back to the Victorian era where they were very popular and referred to as  'Wardian Cases'. 


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