Terrariums are low maintenance, beautiful mini gardens that are great for small spaces indoors. Whether you received one as a gift or want to build one for your home or office, here is our guide.

What are terrariums?

Terrariums are also called mini greenhouses. They are small, sometimes enclosed, environments for plants. The plants and the soil in the terrarium release water vapor – essentially recycling water. 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 maintenance, especially if sealed.

What care do they require?

  •  Water – If closed, you might be watering them (on average) every few months but this will vary depending on a variety of factors. An open terrarium will benefit from being watered every 3-6 weeks. Rather than watering on a schedule, check the soil to see if and how much water your plants need.
  •  Light – Most terrariums need bright, indirect light. This can be supplemented with artificial light. Be careful about direct sunlight, if you are using a glass vessel, it can enhance the direct sunlight and burn your plants’ leaves and eventually your plant.
  • Fertilizer – Most terrariums will not need to be fertilized in the first year. When you do fertilize, make sure you are only using a small amount.
  •  Pest Care – Bugs are not usually a problem with terrariums, especially if the right precautions are taken when building your terrarium. Check your plants for pests before planting them, and do not overwater. Just like Indoor plants, overwatering can cause a gnat infestation.
  • Trimming/ Pruning – If your plants grow too tall, you can trim the leaves to keep them small.  Make sure to remove any yellow or brown leaves, as this is typically a sign of disease or pest.

Succulents make great plants for terrariums

What plants can you use in terrariums?

  • Humidity Loving Plants -This includes tropical plants, ferns, and even carnivorous plants. Plants that love high humidity do great in terrariums. Some, like ferns will do better in terrariums than as regular houseplants.
  • Succulents – Succulents also do great in terrariums. Because succulents do not do well with high humidity, make sure you use an open terrarium.

Whichever plants you do choose, make sure they are small and slow growing.

You can use just about any glass container to make a terrarium

What container is best?

The following containers work well for terrariums:

  • glass candy jars
  • fish tanks with light bulbs
  • goldfish bowls
  • coffee pots

You might even choose to use a wine bottle, but planting would be difficult due to the narrow opening.

What are the benefits of a terrarium?

  • They help grow plants that would be difficult to grow in dry air.
  • They provide a confined space for a garden – a ‘mini garden.’
  • You can use artificial light, such as LED or fluorescent very efficiently.
  • Terrariums don’t need to be watered often.

Sign up for our Terrarium Workshops here and here.

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