We had been talking about making a terrarium for a long time. And we finally did it this spring. We actually made two in our first go since we over-committed on our plant purchase the first time around. And we are still loving them months later. So when it came to thinking of the perfect gift for a family member’s upcoming birthday, we knew it was time to bust out our terrarium skills again.
We have made three terrariums this year already (two for us, one for a gift), but these are the supplies we used for our latest one. And the basics include a container, rocks, charcoal, potting soil, and plants. And of course we like to find a tiny trinket to add to the mix. Fairy gardens are one of the latest crazes, but we are not quite that whimsical yet. So we stick to little figurines and random items from my collection of mini treasures (which includes smurfs, care bears, miniature animals, etc…).
For this terrarium, we started with two little plants and a sheet of super moss from Bachman’s. One of our first terrariums that we made fizzled out not too long ago, and we think it was because we crammed too many plants into the small glass container (that has a lid). It’s still alive, but we had to do some serious triage on it by taking out some dead plants and re-working the remaining living ones. And we didn’t discover the “super” moss until our latest trip to Bachman’s (which has a really cool terrarium section). Apparently the moss helps to retain moisture around the plants, and we have our fingers crossed that the added moss and fewer plants will lead this terrarium to a long, healthy life.
I scored a great deal on the glass container at Marshalls. We would love to scour flea markets for some truly unique terrarium containers, but we haven’t found the time to do that yet. But we always keep our eyes peeled when we encounter an antique store. So with our plain old glass container to work with, we added some rock that we had left over from our wedding, which we had randomly purchased at the dollar store before having any decor plans….we did not end up using it all. We just chalk it up to wedding mania because if you’ve planned a wedding you know that it happens. Like if you didn’t buy the rocks at the dollar store, you may never find any other stones to use for your yet-to-be-planned and apparently rock-filled wedding decor. Really any rock will work, but we think smaller rocks compliment the scale of this terrarium.
After a layer of rock, the charcoal gets added. This helps with filtering the water and air in the terrarium to keep it fresh. It is especially important in a closed terrarium, but we add it to the open ones too (mostly because we have a huge bag of it).
Then we top off the rocks with potting soil. We added about 4″ of potting soil to this one. But depending upon the container that is used, the amount of rock and soil will vary. So the key is to keep in mind the depth of the plant roots that you are putting in and to make sure that they have some space to grow in all directions.
After the potting soil, the plants enter the scene. We decided to plant them towards the back of the container with the idea that we would be adding some extra features to make it aesthetically appealing.
The moss we purchased came in sheets that were easily torn into pieces to fit the area. In total, we used about 4 different pieces to cover the soil and fit around the plants.
The fun part about a terrarium is outfitting it with accent pieces. For this one we used some stones and driftwood that we picked up along the shore of Lake Superior last spring while vacationing.
And there you have it. A terrarium that is neat and complete. And the perfect birthday gift…we hope.
After we took the pictures, I added a little treasure for the recipient to find inside, similar to the trinkets found in the second one that we made for ourselves.We still have this bad boy on our shelf in our living room, and it’s flourishing. So if you are looking for a fun and easy project to bring a little life to your home, we would recommend a terrarium. They are low maintenance and look great as part of a tablescape.
(This post was shared on a Tutorials & Tips Link Party hosted by Home Stories A to Z)