I'm not pretending to be an expert on terrariums
but I have learned some interesting tips on making
terrariums since I attempted a few for my
entry at the January Magazine Copy Cat Challenge.
I thought you might like to make a terrarium too as
a way to bring the outside in during the winter months.
This is the photo that I originally tried to copy
in the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
The expert inviewed for this article is Tovah Martin. She shared good ideas for making terrariums.
I couldn't find the original article online but here is a link in which she shares good plants to put in terrariums.
Another place for good basic instructions is
the E-How Terrarium Video by Willi Galloway.
Here are my favorite tips I gleaned from those sources:
Start with a clean, clear glass container that is big
enough to get your hand down inside of. Put a layer
of pebbles in the bottom of your container for drainage.
Put a 1/2 inch layer of horticultural charcoal on top
of the pebbles to keep the moist soil smelling "sweet".
Add 2-3 inches of light potting soil such as African violet mix.
Try not to get soil on the sides of the containers.
Tamp it down to remove air pockets.
Dwarf plants that like low light and high humidity are best
for terriariums. Select plants that have the same growing
requirements to go in the same container.
I was able to find tiny pots of plants at a local nursery.
(Disregard the big tattered fern in the background...it is staying outside.)
The orchid in the photo above was purchased to try
to mimick the picture in the magazine.
Make a planting pocket in the soil with your finger.
Remove the plant from its pot. Remove some of the
soil from around the roots to make is easier to plant.
Set the plant in and firm the soil around it being
sure to cover the roots.
After the plant is in the container, you might break a leaf
or stem if you have to put your hand down inside.
Here are some "tools" to help to garden from above.
A funnel made from paper and tape is helpful to get more
soil down near the base of the plants without getting the
soil on the sides of the container or the tops of the leaves.
A paintbrush is useful for getting any soil off of the
leaves and the sides of the container.
Use a cork on a bamboo skewer to tamp down soil.
After planting, use a watering can with a
long spout to spot water each plant.
Tovah says that misters make more a mess
than they moisten the soil.
Water an open terrarium when the soil looks dry...
about every 7-10 days.
A closed terrarium can usuallygo for two weeks
If too much condensation forms, give terrarium less light
or open the top a little for a few hours.
The NUMBER ONE reason that terrariums fail is
The plants thrive in a terrarium with almost no help from
outside their little world. That's why they are great for
folks that don't have a lot of time to care for house plants.
You can add decorative elements to your terrarium
such as pebbles or stones...
Succulent terrariums only need watering every two weeks
so they are good for very busy people.
Here are some tips for succulent terrariums:
Be sure to use a container that has a wide opening to prevent accumulation of moisture.
Put two inches of gravel in the bottom for drainage.
Use fast draining soil to plant succulents in then add a layer of sand.
Give 5-6 hours of sunlight a day.
Water every two weeks. Water should drain to bottom of container and there should
not be more than an inch of water in the gravel.
So what started as a copy cat challenge project...
...evolved into even more terrariums for my Winter garden.
My favorite new one is the planting under the cloche.
Its base is a terra cotta saucer with soil, plants, mosses
and stones added to fit within the confines of the glass dome.
I enjoyed adding pebbles and mosses to the terrariums to give them a little more color and interest.
I thought that Tovah Martin's book
"The New Terrarium" was so informative and beautiful
that I got one to share with one of you.
Just leave me a comment on the give-away blog post
that you would like to be entered in the contest.
I will have the random number generator pick
a winner on Friday, February 10 at noon CST.