In the hustle and bustle of city life, having a therapeutic corner of your own is considered a luxury. To have something that you can place in your home or even set on a desk in your office/cubicle that’s not only trendy but also insta-worthy is really God-send. Without much ado, we introduce you to the tiny universe of — Terrariums.
If you want to satiate your green thumb, but don’t have enough space to do so, a terrarium would be an ideal choice for you. A terrarium is a tiny greenhouse, which acts as a self-sustaining plant eco-system. These mini tabletop gardens are fun to create and can perk up your space in no time. A DIY terrarium lets you create an entire garden within the walls of a glass container. Plus, it’s low-maintenance and adds a stylish décor statement.
How do they work?
The plants and the soil in the terrarium release water vapor inside a sealed container. The vapor is then collected onto the walls of the vessel and trickles down to the soil. Terrariums are self-nourishing, which is why they require little
Types of Terrariums
There are two types of terrariums, sealed and open. Sealed terrariums have a removable lid while the open terrarium does not
The second type is a closed one. It is a bit more complicated to maintain and less common. That’s because the glass doesn’t have large enough hole through which to provide regular care. These enclosed terrariums act more like self-sustaining universes, and require a bit more precise and specialized knowledge to set up.
Why terrariums are ideal ?
- They require less space.
You can create a terrarium in any clear glass vessel including mason jars, coffee pots, light-bulbs or goldfish bowls.
- They’re low maintenance.
You can make a terrarium in less than an hour, with very few materials and doesn’t have to be expensive. Building a terrarium takes some soil, activated charcoal, a plant, and other decorative elements that you want.
- Variety of plants.
The plants you can use depend on whether you have a closed or open terrarium. A closed terrarium creates a humid environment, so plants like ferns and African violets thrive. Open terrariums are drier, so consider succulents, cacti, even herbs like thyme and mint, Paredes says.
- Explores your creativity.
Feel free to add pebbles of all colors and shapes, and any other kinds of accessories. A bit of sand can also be a good choice.
- Health benefits.
Living with greenery is good for the air, good for your mood, boosts oxygen and can even make you more productive.
Most need either direct or indirect light but artificial light may also be used. If you choose artificial light it is recommended to use fluorescent or LED bulbs. Avoid incandescent bulbs.
If you choose to place your terrarium in direct sunlight, you may want to remove the lid on a closed terrarium because it might get too hot for the plants with the lid on. Keep in mind that glass tends to magnify direct sun, and can potentially burn your plants.
Check every couple of weeks to see if your terrarium needs water. Feel the soil to see if it is dry and add water if it is. Use a spray bottle to water your terrarium or a little cup so as to not disturb the plants. It’s important to keep the water level just below the screen so that the soil doesn’t get saturated.
Since terrariums do not have drainage holes, you’ll want to water it very sparingly, when the soil has gone completely dry. Reduce watering during winter.
When considering terrarium plants, look for plants that like low to medium light. Try to get a mix of sizes, leaf textures, and leaf colors. Some of the ideal choices are Croton, Dracaena, Small Ferns, Lucky Bamboo, Club moss, Creeping fig & Succulents like Cacti, Haworthia, Echeveria, Crassula, etc. Pull off any leaves that show signs of yellowing or damage and prune plants if they grow too large.
When choosing a container, remember that closed containers hold more humidity. Open containers are ideal for cactus and succulent gardens, as well as other plants that prefer less humidity. Clear, smooth glass offers the best view of the plants and lets enough light to pass.
- To position, the plants, use a pair of long tweezers or a set of kitchen tongs.
- Be sure to choose pest-free plants. Even snails and slugs can wreak havoc in a terrarium.
- If your terrarium is closed, take off the top at least once a month to air it out. If you see lots of condensation or have added too much water, leave the top off until it has had a chance to dry out.
- Don’t fertilize your terrarium because you don’t want to encourage growth.
Terrariums can last anywhere from several years or even longer, if well maintained. These can be a unique and impressive gift, even for people who consider themselves plant-challenged.
Do consider making a DIY terrarium and tell us how it came out below.