Building A Terrarium
Building a terrarium is simple, and terrarium plants require very little watering or care. Terrariums can be designed from any clear, watertight container.
Terrariums are great for people on the go because they are so easy to maintain. They are self-contained, and they require very little care. Terrariums can be designed with simple materials such as clear plastic containers, or they can be designed with elaborate containers made from stained glass. Any clear, watertight container is sufficient for a terrarium.
Once you have chosen a container for your terrarium, it's time to choose the plants you will be using. Start with plants that are small and slow growing. Some good choices would be small ferns, moss, African Violets, Lipstick Plant, Aluminum Plant, Creeping Charlie, or Baby's Tears. Any small plant will work, but it's best to use plants that have similar requirements. When deciding the number of plants you need, keep in mind your plants should be spaced to allow room for growth.
Before filling your terrarium, find a location that gets indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can make conditions too warm for your plants.
Begin building your terrarium by putting approximately one inch of gravel in the bottom of the container. On top of the gravel, spread a thin layer of activated charcoal. Mix together equal parts of sterile potting soil and vermiculite. This will help lighten the potting soil and improve drainage. Approximately three to four inches of potting mixture is sufficient for the top layer. Before planting, arrange your plants on top of the soil to see where they look the best. A spoon makes a great tool for digging in small spaces. Plant your selections just as you would in any container, by digging small holes and tamping down the soil around them. When you are finished planting, you need to moderately water your plants.
Maintaining your terrarium is simple since neglect is the best care you can give. Your finished terrarium will not need additional watering for a few weeks. A light misting every couple of weeks is sufficient between times of regular watering. The biggest mistake people make with a terrarium is overwatering. If condensation builds up on the inside, it's probably due to overwatering, and you can temporarily remove the lid. It's not necessary to fertilize your plants. The soil contains enough nutrients to sustain them. Fertilizing will promote growth, and in a terrarium you want your plants to remain small and manageable. Some plants will grow faster than others, and you may eventually need to thin them out. You can encourage the plants to fill out by pinching off some of the new growth. Once your terrarium is set up, it will begin taking care of itself.