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How to make a terrarium

28 Nov 2017 Nowra 0 Comment

Terrariums are like mini-ecosystems, succulents emulate a desert landscape while indoor plants can look like tiny rainforests.

Better yet, they’re easy to create, seriously low maintenance and offer great architectural aesthetics for the modern home.

Step 1: Build a base layer

Create the first layer by pouring sand and decorative pebbles into your container.

Good drainage is essential for success. Fill no more than one third high.

Step 2: Top with charcoal

Create a thin layer of charcoal over the top of the first layer (0.5-1cm).

Step 3: Fill with soil

Begin to add the soil into your container. Be more generous with this layer than the first, as your plant needs sufficient soil matter to grow – some plants will actually grow extensive root systems.

Pat it down with your fingers.

Step 4: Make way for the plants

Using your chopstick or a finger, create indentations in the soil for where you want your plants to go (a long thin tool like a chopstick allows for more control when planting).

Step 5: Loosen the roots

Remove the plants from their pots and gently loosen their root systems.

Step 6: Pot the plants

Pop your plants in.

If your plants and container are quite small, the tweezers will help you position all the elements.

Use the fat end of your chopstick to tamp down the soil around the base of your plants.

Step 7: Get decorative

Sprinkle a final layer of decorative pebbles or sand, and add some cool figurines for a bit of atmosphere.

A happy plant is a healthy plant

Now you’re done, here’s how treat your terrarium with care so you can enjoy it for years to come…

Common terrarium mistakes

Combining succulents with non-desert dwelling plants – standard indoor plants have different nutrient, sun, and water requirements to succulents. I’ve seen many fancy new terrariums, landscaped to look like mini-rainforests that also feature succulents for decoration. Within weeks the plants are dead and the owner is left wondering what they did wrong. Too little sunlight and too much water/humidity are the likely culprits.

Overwatering – some plants HATE wet feet. If the roots rot it can kill the entire plant. So let the soil dry out between waterings and gently mist around once a week.

Underwatering – while succulents can tolerate long periods without water, they do enjoy an infrequent shower. If you notice leaf shrinkage, mist 2-3 times a week. Indoor plants will react badly if they don’t get a drink at least once a week.

Growing succulents in closed terrariums – the environment is far too humid. Keep these containers for indoor varieties.

Sunburn/Heatburn – remember, the glass in a terrarium will radiate and amplify the sun’s rays onto your little plants. Sure, plants need light but you’d be surprised how badly a cacti reacts to being cooked. Don’t put them near a heater either. Ensure they get both light and shade in moderate quantities.

You will need:

Note: You can buy ready-made soil from a gardening centre that’s perfect for succulents or indoor plants.  Activated charcoal is found at pet shops and specialist nurseries.

Top tip: Check out your local charity shop or $2 shop for suitable containers at bargain prices.

 Selecting the right plants


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