DIY Terrarium

I absolutely love plants and find them fascinating. One of the first things I add when decorating a room are plants. I love the way a few plants can soften a room by adding life, color and texture.
I thought a terrarium would be a perfect addition to my living room. There is something sort of old fashioned about a terrarium that really appeals to me. Some of my favorite examples use vintage containers or interesting, handmade looking shapes. You can find many suitable containers in thrift shops for under $10. Almost any glass container will work but you need to make some considerations. What type of plants do you want to keep? What kind of light will your terrarium get?
Choose slow-growing plants that are the appropriate size for your container. If you plan on using more than one type of plant, make sure they have similar needs and choose plants that will do well in the location you selected.
I already had a large, glass container with an open top and decided on ferns. The location gets indirect light from a nearby window which is perfect for the plants I chose. I found some tiny ferns and moss at a local nursery and chose three with different textures and heights.
The first step is to wash the container. Add about 1.5 inches of pretty gravel to the bottom for drainage. A great place to get gravel is a pet store. Aquarium gravel comes in many colors and sizes and can be bought in small quantities. You will probably need to rinse the gravel before using it. Spread a thin layer of charcoal over the gravel to keep things fresh in your new, tiny environment. I found the charcoal at the same nursery where I bought my plants. It is often used for orchids so any place that sells orchid supplies should have it. Add a layer of moistened potting soil over the charcoal then arrange your plants. Fill in the space between the plants with more potting soil. This can be a little tricky due to the limited space. You can make a funnel out of a cone of paper to feed soil into the nooks and crannies and use a chopstick to move soil and gently press it down. Once your soil is in place, generously mist your plants. I use a glass cleaner spray bottle that I cleaned out very thoroughly.
I read many places online that you should rarely need to water a terrarium but take that advice with a grain of salt because it really depends on your container. If the walls are foggy or the rocks always have a lot of water, it is too moist and may grow mold. If the soil is dry and the plants start to look weak, try watering more. It may take a little experimentation to find the right balance for your mini habitat. I mist my plants every day or two as I have found frequent, light watering works best for my ferns and open container. Watch for fading leaves and remove them. Prune back any excess growth to keep the plants small. You may eventually have to replace a plant if it grows too large. Feed your plants lightly according to their needs. I feed mine with a diluted mixture once a month. Keep the glass and plants free of dust and debris.

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