Have you noticed that terrariums are back in fashion. I have a vague memory of being a little girl and my mom making one. I don’t think it lasted too long, because beyond making it, I just remember it as a big empty container in a storage area.
They are traditionally made in a closed container, and the terrarium acts as it’s own little eco-system. After a little water when they’re first planted, the water stays in the container and re-circulates. You can also make them with an open top, which you’ll need to water just like any house plant. I made one of each.
To make one, you start with an inch or two of rocks for drainage.
On top of the rocks you need to add some charcoal to help absorb any excess moisture, and help keep the little eco-system from becoming moldy. Mold = trouble. I found some charcoal at the pet store with the fish tank equipment. You can buy it loose in large containers, or just look for a little bag designed for fish tank filters -it will be labeled “Activated Carbon”.
On top of the rocks and charcoal bag, add in some potting soil. Not too much to start, since you want room for the plants and you can add more around them after. I wanted to use a mini orchard in mine. I also found some little woodland plants at my local nursery -moss and fern types work well. I kept the orchid in it’s own little plastic pot that it came in, since orchids like to be in special orchid soil -being that they’re so special. The other little plants I used were a little too big, so I broke them up into pieces, and took some of the soil off the bottom. Don’t worry these type of plants can be broken up like this with no damage to them.
Once the plants were all in, I wanted to add a little spoon sign that said “Love Grows Here”, I thought it would be especially sweet for Valentine’s Day -and we’re all about sweet around here. I started out with a silver spoon, found at an antique fair. I used a hammer to flatten it out, then used metal letter stamps to add the words. Mine are from Lee Valley Tools, the 3mm size. After the letters are stamped, go over the words with a sharpie, then scour off any excess with a pot scrubber. It leaves a little black in the indentations for the letters and helps them show up better.
I really love how they turned out. Let’s hope I can keep them happy. I did give them a little drink of water after they were all planted. For the enclosed one, watch for any condensation that forms on the glass like this. If you get some, just take off the lid for a few hours so it can evaporate. Also try to plant the plants so that nothing is touching the sides of the glass, it can lead to mold. If you see a leaf dying, remove it because you don’t want anything breaking down, or getting moldy in your terrarium.
If your husband usually splurges on Valentine’s Day flowers, maybe you could steer him in the direction of a mini potted orchid. I may or may not have called this one of my own early Valentine’s Day gifts. And, this should last longer than a dozen roses.
It’s a snow day here, and man is it snowing outside right now. Everything is white. In the midst of snow and ice, it’s so nice to have something green and living, and a little reminder that although it doesn’t look like it outside today, spring is coming. With pretty, and spring like terrariums like these, life really is a party!