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» Make a Terrarium

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How They Work:

Plants will grow nearly indefinitely in a terrarium because the sealed glass container will mimic the greenhouse effect. Water will evaporate from the soil and provide humidity, then condense and run down the sides very much like a miniature rain storm.

Bottle Gardens:

True terrariums are available in low cost plastic, or in some heavenly designs such as a miniature conservatory, stained glass, leaded glass or multiple other high cost items, but you can get the same effect in a smaller container of your own design, such as a brandy snifter, a bottle, a fish tank, a glass jug or even a pitcher will work, so long as it is transparent, and waterproof.

If the designer jug you want to use isn’t waterproof, select one with only a small opening and then cover it tightly with plastic cling and then use a razor knife to trim off any excess.

What to grow?

YOu will find that the best plants for terrarium are those that like high humidity and lower light (unless yours will be in a window) Choose one showy item that his high enough to fill the container or use many smaller ones, but do try to select dwarf, or slow growing plants to prevent having to redo the container every few months.

Getting Started

First wash your container with a solution of bleach and water to prevent the growth of mold or mildew and then rinse it very well and dry thoroughly.

Build up the planting medium in layers, beginning with a layer of sphagnum moss, then a small layer to fine gravel or sand mixed with horticultural charcoal. Add sterile peat moss, or peat based potting mixture , about a half inch for small pots or two to three inches for a larger container and then an inch or so of potting soil.

A paper funnel makes it easier to fill a jug or brandy snifter, without getting the sides of the bottle dirty if you are using a small topped bottle.

Planting steps:

A few simple household items will help you a great deal in your endeavor to use a different container than one of the actual terrariums. To place plants in a narrow long necked jar, use a fork taped to a stick, to make the planting holes, then using tweezers, tongs or a wire with a loop at one end, lower in the plants and then tamp them down with a small cork on the end of a stick.

Cover the container with its cork or with plastic wrap and place in indirect sunlight or under a fluorescent grow light.

When Do I Water?

It is more than natural, it is desirable for small water drops to form on the glass. When there are none, test the soil and add water til it is evenly moist and then reseal the container.

If the glass however becomes so condensed that it is hard to see through, there is an imbalance of moisture and you need to uncover it for a day to permit it to slightly dry so that it does not form mold or mildew.

Some plants that thrive in terrariums are

Evergreen seedlings








If you are interested in learning more about bottle gardens or terrariums, you might want to pay a visit to the online terrarium museum.


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