It is an Earth Day activity that will pay off all year long: build your own terrarium. The project is relatively inexpensive, doesn’t take much time, and is a family-bonding activity anyone can enjoy. Moreover, when you bring a piece of nature inside your home or office, your living environment is positively affected. A small terrarium can significantly add to the mood of any room.
Materials needed for a terrarium
A basic terrarium can be constructed from the simplest of supplies: a suitable enclosure, moss, pea gravel, potting soil, and plants. You may also wish to include activated charcoal (for odor control) and structural props. You can get as involved as you wish, or you can keep it as easy as you wish. It’s your choice.
Follow these steps, and you will be enjoying the benefits of a home-crafted terrarium in no time.
Choose your enclosure: Clear glass is the go-to material for terrariums. It is clean, sturdy, and permits ready exposure to sunlight. You can choose a fancy design or a basic jar. Whichever end of the spectrum you gravitate towards, remember you will need to reach inside the container to arrange your indoor garden (unless you want to get tricky and use “ship in a bottle” techniques). Choose a container that offers a suitably wide access hole to make plant arrangement a breeze.
Choose your plants: The best plants for terrariums are those that won’t get too large. While you can prune the plants in your micro-world, it is time consuming and not at all necessary. Here is a short list of favorites:
- Rex begonias (miniature)
- African violets
- Ivies (miniature)
- Orchids (miniature)
- Helxine (baby’s tears)
Many more choices exist. You can even create a miniature garden scene by including accessory items designed especially for terrariums. Possibilities include baby bunnies, fairy garden benches, garden furniture sets, urns, arbors and others. Terrariums can be crafted to mimic your own outdoor space or to resemble one you’ve visited. The results can be fantastic, especially when there is help available from someone who is artistically savvy and friendly with architectural treatments.
Collect your supplies: Any garden store – or even the gardening section of a department store – should have everything you need for planting your terrarium. You should put moss down first, cover it with pebbles, add in your activated charcoal and another layer of moss, then layer in several inches of good organic potting soil. That’s all you need to get going.
Plant, dampen, and seal: While you may leave your terrarium as an open top construction, true terrariums are always completely enclosed. You should make sure the plants and soil are damp (not soaked), then close the lid. Your miniature environment will now take on a life of its own – changing the water to vapor and back to liquid and creating oxygen as a part of photosynthesis and plant respiration. It truly is an amazing sight to behold.
Make every day Earth Day in your home
Whether or not you are concerned about global warming, genetically modified plants, water pollution or any other facet of environmental health, your terrarium will be a silent witness to the process of life. Terrariums are special in a big sort of way. They remind us of how all of us are dependent upon Nature.