I stumbled upon a terrarium on Pinterest. It really caught my eye because I don’t think I had ever seen one before but apparently they are the trend right now. Having two cats it makes really difficult to keep plants around the house (we had to get rid of our pretty Areca Palm Tree because they kept chewing it). A terrarium seems like the perfect solution for those who either have pets, don’t have a backyard, and want an easy maintenance plant. Plus, it looks like a miniature magic garden! Who wouldn’t want that?
It took me a couple of days to do some research and find some information on what I needed, here’s what I found:
You need a container that works for you.
This is the hard part, you want something practical but also something that matches your decor, you want it to be pretty!. There are tons of glass vases and jars out there (not necessarily for planting) that could work. You should first decide what size you want your terrarium to be and if you want it to have a lid. Having a lid will decide what kinds of plants you should get.
Now, here’s the part I couldn’t understand… plants can survive without free flowing oxygen? They sure can, the right ones that is. You are essentially creating an ecosystem that recycles water and oxygen.
Since I have cats I opted for a jar with a lid for my big terrarium. This is a 2 gallon cookie jar that you can get here. I also found most tutorials recommend this jar for starters since its big and pretty solid. For those of us Canadians I got mine at Walmart for $19.99, great deal. Crate&Barrel also has them but for double that price. You should also try your local flower shops, I was surprised to find they had a whole wall dedicated to all kinds of cool glass vases and they were significantly cheaper.
Think about the plants you want.
I wanted something with flowers, there is some great info on what types of plants to use here. I work nearby a bunch of flower shops, so Michelle and I went to take a look.
I must admit that I’m not the gardening type and never cared much for plants, but these miniature plants with mini leaves and flowers are pretty cute. They are usually between $2-3 for a little pot. I also got some at Walmart, they had a pretty good variety but you have to know what you’re looking at. I spent an hour googling plant names on my phone when I went. Try to have some names handy when you go and make sure they will thrive in the type of terrarium you’re making.
For the enclosed terrarium I got:
- A Maidenhair fern
- A Saxifraga arendsii or Purple Robe. Now this is a miniature version and although I researched it and it said it wasn’t the best with humidity, the Walmart lady told me it was fine. We’ll see. It has really pretty purply pink flowers.
- Selaginella kraussiana or Spreading club moss. This one is supposed to expand and cover the exposed soil.
- Myosotis sylvatica Blue Ball (Forget-Me-Not). Super cute little blue flowers, the label said it does well in high humidity and moist soil.
You need potting soil for the enclosed terrarium and succulent or cactus soil for the
succulent. There are is some good info on soil mixing here.
You will also need activated charcoal if you’re making an enclosed terrarium. You can get this on the fish aisle in your pet store where I find it to be the least expensive. Charcoal will keep away odor and bacteria. It will also filter the air and keep it fresh. You can get some here.
Lastly, you need some gravel and pretty rocks. The gravel will allow for good drainage so that the water is not in constant contact with the roots. You can get some from your driveway or the pet store. Make sure it’s washed! You can buy some here.
That’s it! you’re ready to start building your little self contained environment.
Put the pebbles in first.
Mix in the charcoal.
Add your soil, deep enough for the roots.
Don’t over water, water very little the first couple of weeks. After that it should be good for a couple of months especially if it’s enclosed. Here’s a good video. Watering succulents is a different story. Here’s some info on them.
I also added some bigger rocks I had around.