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How to: Terrarium

What exactly is a terrarium? 

Essentially, its a a glass container that houses a plant or plants. Its a small, enclosed environment that  essentially acts as a min-glasshouse. Some terrariums are sealed, others are open. The plants and the soil release water vapors that hit the roof of the container and condense back to water, making them essentially self sufficient. 

Terrariums can be as simple or complex as you'd like. Some of the most simple examples can just be a plastic bag rigged up over a couple of bamboo stakes to help increase humidity around an individual plant. Others could be large glass containers, like our Merchants of Botanica range. These are big enough to put large plants in and help increase the humidity around the plants. There is no need to pot up your plants inside the terrarium as they can fit the plant and the pot inside them. 

The most widely known terrariums, however, are often smaller glass containers where the plants have been planted out into potting media. The glass container can be anything at all - an old jar, a fishtank or a vessel made specifically for terrariums.

One of the most important parts to a terrarium is the potting media - terrariums work best when the plant is planted out into layers of pebbles, activated charcoal and potting mix

Pebbles are used as the base layer - they acts as drainage for the excess water so it doesn't stay in the soil and cause root rot. 

Activated charcoal is a filter - it keeps the water fresh and helps fight off any bacteria inside the terrarium. 

The Potting Mix is where the will send out its roots. You should try and get a high quality potting mix to use with your terrarium to give your plants the best chance to thrive. 

How to Build Your Terrarium

First, take your vessel and place a layer of small pebbles at the base. The depth of this layer will depend on how big your terrarium vessel is. You want to make sure its deep enough to manage the amount of water circulating the space. 

Next, add a very thin layer of activated charcoal. 

Then add the potting mix. Make sure this layer is deep enough for the plants to take root (again, this is going to depend on how big your terrarium vessel is)

Plant your plants. Start with the largest first and create a hole big enough for the root ball. Place the plant then fill in the hole. Repeat with the other plants. Its often easier to start at the back of the terrarium and work your way forward, but that will depend on where the opening of your vessel is. 

Finally, add another small layer of pebbles on top of the potting mix. The way you decorate and style your terrarium will be completely up to you! 

If its your first time building a terrarium, it could be a good idea to purchase a terrarium kitthat contains everything you need to create one. 


Looking for inspiration? Checkout some of these instagram accounts

Teeny Tiny Terra

Terrariums By Ella

Outside In Terrariums

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