Totally terrific terrariums

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Everything granny is back.

And some of these things I embrace whole heartedly. Like tea from a teapot with a crocheted cosy. And gilt-edged mirrors. And making my own bread.

Other things I take longer to accept (and even then…). Like flying-duck wall ornaments. And crocheted jewellery.

And some things are simply not me. Like horn rimmed glasses. And drinking out of jars (seriously people…)

Terrariums come under the second category. Annoying at first glance, and then kinda cool, and at last totally fabulous. I have succumbed to the enchantment of these little worlds in a jar, these edens atop the mantle or bookshelf, these daintily contained echos of the wilderness. Etc etc.

So I made some.

It’s not quite as straightforward as throwing some dirt from the garden into a jar and sticking in a sprig, but that’s the general idea.


Here’s what to do:

1. Raid op shops and the far recesses of your/your parents/your grandparents (depending on your age!) cupboards for sturdy, unique glass jars/vases/bottles, with or without lids.

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Make sure you wash them thoroughly with hot soapy water (even use antibacterial soap) to prevent mould from growing in your terrarium.


2. Buy these necessary ingredients (garden/hardware centres should have them):

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  • Gravel/pebbles (drainage)
  • Activated charcoal (freshens the soil)
  • Netting (like nylon fly screen – prevents soil from falling into gravel. Note this is optional as the moss may be sufficient)
  • Sheet moss (aerates the soil)
  • High quality potting soil (should be sterile so no unwanted bacteria can grow)


3. Get plants. Make sure they can tolerate being indoors, low light, and humidity.

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  • succulents
  • cacti
  • indoor plants
  • ferns
  • tropical plants

You can buy them or raid the gardens/pots of everyone you know. I’m always on the look out for a succulent I can pinch a bit of.


4. Layer your ingredients into your jar in order:

  1. pebbles/gravel
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  2. a thin layer of charcoal
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  3. netting (make it smaller than the layer below so you can’t see it against the edge of the glass.
  4. moss
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  5. soil – needs to be thick enough to plant roots into (min 3cm/1inch)
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5. Plant your plants.

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You might want to use a pop stick or wooden skewer to help make holes and gently poke down the roots. It can help to give the soil a light sprinkling of water first. Make sure you don’t over water – there shouldn’t be any water pooling in the bottom of the terrarium, as this can cause roots to rot (more on how terrarium care below).


6. Find the perfect place for your terrarium and let it fill your life with oxygenated pleasure.

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Click here for detailed info on how to care for your terrarium.

And here for another lovely illustrated ‘how to’.

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