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Create Your Own Beautiful Terrarium

terrarium

   

Designing your own terrarium with the wide range of houseplants available is the perfect way to display your green-fingered creativity and add a striking indoor feature to your home. It’s also a good way to get little ones interested in plants and they also make a thoughtful and very attractive gift for those without a garden.

You know the word but what exactly is a Terrarium?

A terrarium is a collection of small, decorative plants growing in an enclosed environment. Terrarium containers are generally glass and provide an opening big enough to allow the gardener to access the plants inside. Terrariums can be completely enclosed or open at the top. Closed ones suit plants that prefer high humidity levels like maidenhair ferns and open ones suit plants like succulents and cacti. The great secret though is not to overwater.

All you need is

•    A Glass Vessel

•    Small Stones or Gravel 

•    Moss.

•    Activated Charcoal

•    Compost  

•    Plants

Step 1 Choose your vessel – it has to be transparent and preferably glass. Look in charity shops for old goldfish bowls or large glass containers. One with a narrower neck than the base is good as moisture will condense and run back down to the compost rather than evaporate.

Step 2 Add a layer of gravel or small stones as most vessels won’t have drainage holes and this will prevent the plants from rotting should you over water.

Step 3 Optional - but a layer of moss will also help drainage and look attractive

Step 4  A thin layer of charcoal keeps water fresh and helps fight off bacterial growth

Step 5 Add a good 30mm of multipurpose houseplant compost

Step 6 Plant up with plants of your choice – succulents and cacti, miniature ferns and add a flowering plant like African violets for interest. Small, slow growing plants are best as they will not outgrow their surroundings for a few years. Choose a variety of heights, leaf shape and colour. Try to Position the plants with the tallest at the back, if it is going against the wall, or in the centre, if it is going to be viewed from all sides. Finish with decorative bark or stones maybe add some seashells or anything that takes your fancy and creates the mood or look you’re aiming for.

Step 7 Water well after planting but don’t over water, so the plants are standing in water.

Finally, once you’re happy with the finished terrarium find a place to display it – ideally in a bright spot but not in direct sun. They follow the general house plant rule, so east and west facing windowsills are ideal perhaps moving to a south-facing window for winter.

Moving forward they need little attention, mist with water occasionally to keep moisture levels and water once a fortnight or so just to keep the gravel moist. Don’t feed in the first couple of years as there should be enough nutrients in the compost and feeding would only result in the plants out-growing the container. In subsequent years feed with a houseplant food. Change the compost every 3 – 4 years although probably by this time the plants will have outgrown the terrarium if you haven’t also pruned them. Also, keep the glass clean outside and in by just wiping with a piece of kitchen towel.

Terrariums are a fantastic low maintenance addition to your interior design; easy to create they will purify the air and look just as good in sitting rooms, halls and dining rooms as bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. Don’t stick with only one but get creative with lots of designs and containers! You’ll soon be hooked.


Terrarium  Terrarium

 

Posted by Charlie Groves

Charlie is the manager at Groves Nurseries.  He is the 6th generation of C.W. Groves to run the garden centre. 

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