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What You Need to Know About Making a Terrarium – A Beginners Guide

Nov.03.2021
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Making a Terrarium

Terrariums are beautiful and easy to maintain plant enclosures that can give any room a hint of the outdoors. They’re their own tiny little ecosystem within the confines of a glass container: your very own little model of earth. Creating a terrarium takes a bit of figuring out, but once you’ve made it, you can enjoy its beauty with minimal maintenance and work. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to set up a terrarium of their very own? If you want to learn all of the tips you need to know about how to make a terrarium, this article will give you the terrarium tutorial you need.

What Is a Terrarium?

A terrarium is an enclosure of plants and soil that is essentially its own tiny covered ecosystem. It can be fully functional as a habitat for plants of many varieties. Terrariums are ideal for indoor gardening, and they can range in size from as small as a jar to as large as an aquarium. They function similarly to a greenhouse, and because of this, it’s best to plant vegetation that does well in a moist or humid environment. Avoiding desert plants like succulents and cactus is probably going to be your best bet for a homemade terrarium. If you have small plants that do well in a humid climate, It’s simple to make an easy DIY terrarium that thrives with minimal maintenance.

What Is a Terrarium

This is because the terrarium will recycle water due to its closed environment. Typically, terrariums will be constructed using hard, transparent plastic or glass to ensure that light and heat can come through sufficiently to mimic the outdoor environment, but there will be no opening to allow water to escape in any form. It is important that there is a little way to allow airflow so that the plants do not rot or wilt in the container, but this is easy enough to do by propping the lid slightly open or leaving a small amount of space on the side exposed to the air. The important thing is that the top and bottom are waterproof enough that water doesn’t drain and when it rises up it condensates.

The wonderfully appealing thing about terrariums is that they can be self-sufficient if they’re fully covered or have a lid in this way. You can still make a terrarium without it being fully closed, but you will have to water it often. If you’re not good about being vigilant with your watering schedule, a terrarium with a lid is ideal for you because you won’t have to water it ever. If this sounds like something that you would like to have at your house, you’ll be happy to learn that these simple terrarium instructions will make that dream a reality in no time.

How to Make a Terrarium

How to Make a Terrarium

If it seems like a terrarium would be terribly complicated to make, rest assured that it doesn’t require a professional horticulturist to succeed at building a terrarium from scratch. Most of the supplies needed for a terrarium can be found in your backyard or kitchen, if not at your local gardening shop. There are specific and beautiful glass containers that are made specifically for the purpose of setting up a terrarium, but you could easily use a large mason jar or an old fish tank. You can get pebbles and mosses from your backyard, and you may even find some little plants around that you want to plant in your terrarium. If not, there are plenty of great cheap terrarium plants that you can buy at your local garden center. The one thing that you will certainly need to seek out at a shop is activated charcoal or horticultural charcoal. This isn’t typically something that one has lying around the house, but it is important for starting a terrarium.

What to Put in a Terrarium

To build a terrarium, you will need the following items, which you can get at a garden store.

  • Terrarium container;
  • Pebbles or aquarium rocks;
  • Activated charcoal;
  • Potting soil;
  • Terrarium plants;
  • Mosses.

Terrarium Guide

Terrarium Guide

Once you’ve gathered all of your terrarium basics, you can get started putting everything together to make a beautiful terrarium for beginners. The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure that your container is clean so that your plants can thrive. Then put a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the container. After the layer of pebbles, put a nice layer of activated charcoal. If you want to make this a really all-natural terrarium, you could replace the charcoal with moss, but the charcoal is your best bet for a beginner. Then add a healthy layer of potting soil. You’re almost done, now all you need to do is add your plants. You can put whatever plants you want, but as I mentioned before, for a closed terrarium steer clear of dry weather plants like cacti. If you have an open terrarium, you can feel free to include any succulents or dry-weather plants that you desire.

For a closed terrarium, stick with plants that can handle a lot of water. Avoid plants that have really large leaves or need a ton of sun. Medium to low sun requirement is best for your home terrarium. Some good plants to plant are African violets, bamboo, ferns, and dwarf palms. Once you’ve planted these little plants, you can give the terrarium a healthy watering and maybe add a bit of fertilizer. Then close the lid and let your tiny ecosystem do its thing. There is no need to water it again because the water will go through the natural water cycle in the confines of the terrarium. You can always remove the lid if you see that your plants are looking overwatered. Again, if you have a container with no lid, you can simply water the terrarium to make sure that the plants do well and don’t get too thirsty.

How to Use a Terrarium

setting up a terrarium

Once your terrarium is made with all of these wonderful tips in mind, there isn’t much you need to do to enjoy the terrarium other than, well, enjoy it. If you have an open terrarium you would need to water it and if you have a terrarium with a lid you would need to keep an eye on it to make sure that everything is doing well. If you see that your plants look like they’re wilting or dying, see if they need to be placed in an area with more sun or if they need more water or less. You can tell whether your plants are over or under-hydrated by touching the soil and feeling whether it is damp or dry. If your plants grow mold, you may need to find a way to get a little bit more air into the container.

If there is no airflow, mold can become a problem. This is why partially covered terrariums can do very well. If you have a container with a lid, you can leave the lid slightly ajar to allow this airflow to occur. If you’ve done everything you need to do to set this little ecosystem up now all you need to do is admire your beautiful little jar of fauna.

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