Inspiration > Lawn & Garden

Create Your Own Closed Terrarium in Seven Easy Steps

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When you make a terrarium, you create an entire eco-system in which plants, water, and soil interact. If you follow a few easy steps, your terrarium plants will grow and thrive, giving you the pleasure of a garden all year round.

This DIY terrarium post was inspired by Gardenista. Be sure to check out their website. The images were shot by John Merkl.

closed terrarium

1. For a closed terrarium, use a clear glass container with a lid. The base can be either solid or glass. The container must be clean, so wash it in hot, soapy water before you start.

2. Fill the bottom of the container with about an inch of small stones or pebbles. These, too, need to be clean; if you use stones you collect outdoors, wash them first.

3. Add an equal amount of activated charcoal to act as a filter.

Closed Terrarium DIY

4. Add about two inches of sterile potting soil.

Closed terrarium gardening

5. Make small holes in the soil and add your plants. Choose plants that stay small, grow slowly, and have more or less the same needs. Mosses, miniature ferns, and tiny bromeliads are good choices. Even miniature African violets with grow and bloom in a terrarium. Don’t plant them too close together because they will grow. Prune the plants with small shears if you’d like.

Closed terrarium how to

6. Water the soil around the plants until the top layer feels evenly moist. Be careful not to overwater. The pebbles hold excess water, but too much water will overwhelm the drainage and make the soil soggy. Soggy soil is the biggest cause of failed terrariums. Spray the leaves with a fine mist of water, but avoid misting fuzzy leaves.

7. Put the lid on and place your terrarium in a well-lit spot out of direct sunlight.

Closed terrarium garden

Like any garden, a terrarium needs tending. Watch it closely at first to learn how much water it needs. A small amount of condensation on the glass is good. If there’s so much moisture on the glass that you can’t see inside, open the lid for a while. If the soil dries out water gently, sometimes occasional misting is enough. The plants will grow, so you may need to prune them with small shears.

It may take a little while for you to understand how to take care of your terrarium. Once it gets going, you’ll be surprised at how much growth and change goes on inside your glass bowl. You can then get as inventive as you’d like, just like April Showers did with their garden in a light bulb:

Lightbulb garden planter

And isn’t that what DIY is all about?

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More about Robert Bridgman

Robert is the home & garden editor of Bridgman, manufacturers of luxury outdoor furniture. When he is not writing, he enjoys undertaking DIY projects around his home in London, UK. He also loves finding new ideas online and sharing his findings on Google+.

Read more posts by Robert Bridgman


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