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Terrariums 101

Posted by The Sill on

A low-maintenance terrarium is a great way to add life to your space if you lack the free time or the green thumb necessary to care for a bounty of houseplants. Terrariums make it possible to grow things in places that aren't exactly conducive to growth, and can pretty much be self-sufficient aside from the occasional watering. If you have both - the time and the thumb - making a terrarium can be a great way to experiment with new plant varieties, or an outlet of endless possibilities for your creativity.

There are two general types of terrariums:

1. Open

An open terrarium provides ample air circulation and low levels of humidity. It is perfect for assorted succulents and cacti

2. Enclosed

An enclosed terrarium, with a removable cover or lid, provides ample humidity and creates its own tiny ecosystem. The plants inside an enclosed terrarium release moisture, which condenses inside the vessel and trickles back into the soil. For an enclosed terrarium, choose varieties of plants that are compact and thrive in high humidity, for example miniature ferns


• Pick slow-growing plants that require less trimming and are less likely to outgrow the container quickly 
• If you're mixing plant varieties, choose plants that thrive in similar environments - i.e. prefer a similar amount of sunlight, humidity level, and watering schedule 
• For your terrarium, choose a clean, clear container with a large bottleneck or removable top. We recommend choosing something made of glass. On a budget? A mason jar with removable lid is an easy pick. 
• Before adding potting soil to your terrarium, layer a 1/2" layer of gravel at the bottom to create drainage. We'd recommend using lava rocks, followed by a thin layer of charcoal - but a mix of gravel, rocks, and sand works, too. Anything that creates crevices for water to trickle down into. 
• Add potting soil and lightly press down to remove any air pockets. 
• Arrange your plants inside. Make sure to not overcrowd the space - you want to leave room for new growth. 
• Once the plants are securely potted, use a paintbrush to remove any excess soil from the sides of the container or the leaves of your plants. 
• Make sure to place your terrarium in a spot that receives indirect light! A couple hours of full sun can easily fry the contents inside. 
• When watering, try your best to add water directly at the base of the plants - do not pour it on top of them. 
• Make sure not to overwater your terrarium! An enclosed terrarium can be watered about once about every two to three weeks, or even less. You can keep humidity levels high by misting weekly. An open terrarium can be watered once about every two weeks. Because there’s no drainage hole for excess water to be released - make sure not to soak the soil. It is much easier to add water than subtract!
• Let an enclosed terrarium breath every week or two by taking off the lid or keeping it ajar for a few days 
• If you see any dead or dying foliage inside, remove it immediately. 
• Rotate your terrarium so plants grow upward


- Air Plant Terrarium (assorted air plants, sand, decorative rocks) 

- Assorted Succulents & Air Plant Terrariums  (potting soil, succulents, air plants, decorative rocks) 

- Low-Light Bottleneck Terrarium (low-light plants - shop Short, Tall, & Colorful)  

- Succulent Terrarium (succulents, soil, sandy topper - shop Assorted Succulents

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  • I loved the plants. I am going to try this one.

    Mary A Glasson on

  • Love the plantings!

    Rich on

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