Terrariums can add a touch of natural vibrancy to a well lit corner in any room of the house. They are very low maintenance and easy to look after.
A terrarium makes an ideal gift at any time of the year and you can buy one ready made, or make one yourself. Here is how:
For creating a terrarium you will need the following:
Place a layer of charcoal about 2cm thick, on the bottom. Next a layer of scoria, 1 cm thick. Pat it down well to stop the potting mix from working its way down. Next is the layer of potting mix. Some people also use sphagnum moss under the potting mix.
Remove the plants from their pots and sit in the terrarium in suitable positions and fill around them with potting mix and lightly firm down. With containers with narrow openings, you may need to use a stick or tongs, to facilitate you work in the terrarium.
Plant ideas: Small ferns, african violets, small indoor plants, begonia, hypoestes (freckleface), fittonia, succulents, cacti.
Use moss, baby’s tears, or even the weed liverwort as a groundcover.
Group similar plants together – cacti and succulents for example would create a much drier garden.
Usually, you would put the taller plants to the middle. Reducing a plants root ball sometimes in half, will keep the plant from getting too big too quickly. Don’t be afraid to cut back plants hard to also keep them more compact.
Lightly water in the new planting. An atomiser is ideal for watering terrariums as they turn water into a fine mist, giving a nice spread of moisture, but not getting your terrarium too wet. They require very little water. If there is condensation present, it is moist enough. If there is too much condensation, take off the lid for a few days and let it dry a bit. Some terrariums may have some openings without a covering. These may require more water.
Add any ornamentation you wish to add an extra dimension to the scene you have created. This may include pebbles, rocks, interesting pieces of wood, or even little plastic or porcelain animals, buildings, people or anything really.
A position in diffused sunlight is preferred. Do not place in direct sunlight. Do not position close to heaters.
Maintenance – properly cared for, you terrarium will last for years. When plants grow too big, trim them back, or replace with smaller ones. Always remove any dead foliage. You won’t need to fertilise much, if at all. If you do, use a soluble fertiser and dilute at a rate at one fifth the strength of normal. Apply as a mist, and don’t overdo it.
Re-planting an existing terrarium – Remove all materials from the terrarium and discard. Scrub out the inside of the terrarium with a solution of vinegar and water, and rinse well.
It’s that easy to build your own little indoor plant kingdom. Even if you live in an apartment, you can still have a garden !