Recently, it has become increasingly common to see beautiful pictures of terrariums with plants on the Internet. Many of them are almost works of art – with a plot, character figures and tiny copies of objects. Such a thing may seem very complicated in execution and fastidious in care, but it is not so if guided by a few tips.
In general, a glass container, in which plants suitable for such conditions grow, can become something like an independent ecosystem. Of course, it is not airtight, it is necessary to water the miniature garden from time to time, but water evaporates much slower, and moisture-loving plants feel well in such a microclimate.
As for the owner of this miniature garden, contemplation of the terrarium created by your own hands will certainly be no less calming for him than meditation. In just 5 steps, you can become the owner of such a masterpiece.
Step 1: Choose a container
There is no need for a spacious aquarium, an expensive mini greenhouse, or even the purchase of a ready-made terrarium kit. Almost any glass vessel will do – from small containers for bulk products to a small round aquarium, in which goldfish are usually kept. In short, the only limit here is your imagination.
Rinse the future terrarium with a disinfectant solution to remove potential moss spores or substances that would be harmful to the plants. Allow the vessel to dry completely for 1-2 days before filling it with drainage, soil and plants.
Step 2: Take care of the soil
Since terrariums have no drainage holes, this must be taken into account when preparing the substrate. Place a 3-5 cm layer of gravel at the bottom of the tank. Before adding soil, place sphagnum moss or burlap on the surface of the first layer – these components will prevent the substrate from falling between the stones and caking. If moss is your choice, remember to wash it first to remove any seeds, weeds or insects that may be in it. It should be placed in small pieces, not as a single layer, as the manufacturer has packaged it.
The next layer is made of charcoal 0.5-1.5 cm thick. It is necessary for disinfection and neutralization of odor in case you overwater. And then comes the turn of soil – a layer of 6 cm will be quite enough. Depending on the depth of the terrarium, you can vary the amount of substrate by sticking to the above proportions.
Step 3: The fun part – plant the plants
As a rule, one chooses between flowering and deciduous plants for terrariums. Many flower stores today offer a large selection of miniature plants that are ideal for the size of the container. The most popular of them are scindapsus, ferns and ivy, as well as decorative types of moss. For example, yagel acts as a bright and unusual spot of color, contrasting with the rest of the green mass. When choosing plants, keep in mind that they should all have similar lighting needs and watering frequency.
You can also use different branches and stones for a more interesting solution. And to create a terrarium with a story, you can make small benches, add figurines of people, animals and reduced copies of objects.
By the way, if you fear that because of the high humidity in a terrarium midges settle, cover its edge with gauze and fasten it with a rubber band.
Step 4: Take care of the plants
Maintain an optimal humidity level in the terrarium and do not let the substrate get sour or dry. Replace watering with sprinkling from time to time after planting and from time to time thereafter, and if you feel that the flowers need more moisture, water them, but do it moderately. Don’t forget that too much water in the terrarium causes fungal diseases, mold, rotting plants. If these problems appear, it will not be so easy to cope with them.
Condensation on the terrarium walls is normal as long as there is not too much condensation. If it is hard to see through the condensation, it is a serious reason to reduce watering. Tanks with a lid should be ventilated more often in order to get the extra water to evaporate. Opened terrariums reach normal humidity level faster, however, they require more frequent watering than lidded ones. After some time the ecosystem will normalize, and you can go back to the usual care.
If you notice fungus spreading on the ground and on the plants, take the same steps. Some fungi can be removed with tweezers or wooden sticks. And don’t forget to get rid of withered leaves and inflorescences – they often lead to fungus as they rot.
Twice a year, apply a small amount of fertilizer in pellets.
Trim or thin the plants so they don’t overgrow and get in each other’s way.
Step 5: Find a place for the terrarium
Direct sunlight can be destructive for plants in a terrarium, causing rot and fungal diseases. Besides, in such an environment the temperature rises quite fast in the sun, and without ventilation the roots may simply boil over. Therefore, the best place for a terrarium will be one with enough diffused light. And you should definitely not choose southern and western windows.
And for the appetizer – some nice photos of terrariums from the Internet (enlarged by clicking):