What is a Terrarium and Why are They the Perfect #StayAtHome Craft?

May 20, 2020

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With the days seemingly blending into one and our need for fresh air & greenery greater than ever, why not get creative and build your very own table-top garden? Terrariums are easy to make and even easier to care for. They’re the perfect stay at home craft during this uncertain time when we can all benefit from switching off from the screens. So what exactly is a terrarium and how can you create your own? Let’s find out…

What is a Terrarium?

stylish terrariums
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Terrariums are miniature gardens that are housed inside small containers, this could be a jar, a decorative glass vessel or even a bottle. The vessels are usually sealed, which means the plants water themselves through a cycle of transpiration and condensation. They’re complete plant ecosystems, just on a small scale.

They’re perfect for those who love exotic plants but aren’t blessed with a large outdoor space as you can make them as little or as large as you like.

How Does a Terrarium Work?

open terrarium
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Known as miniature gardens, terrariums are ideal for those who want to embrace greenery in their home with minimum effort. So how does a terrarium work?

There are two main types of terrariums, open and closed, with each working in different ways and requiring a different level of care.

Closed Terrariums

A closed terrarium is the simplest to care for. Building your miniature garden within a sealable container means the plants inside will have everything they need to survive. The plants and the soil within the terrarium release water vapor, which goes through a cycle of transpiration and condensation, where it falls straight back into the soil to be used again. All a closed terrarium requires from you is indirect sunlight to thrive.

Open Terrariums

An open terrarium is better suited to plants that prefer drier conditions, such as succulents. An open terrarium will need to be watered every couple of weeks and will need lots of direct light in order to thrive. Open terrariums are very similar to traditional houseplants as they aren't self watering, however because of the type of plants you'll use they're much easier to care for.

How Do You Build a Terrarium?

make your own terrarium
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Take some time and embrace self-care by building your very own miniature Eden, it’s the perfect way to switch off for an hour and you’ll have something beautiful to look at every day. So how do you build a terrarium? Let's find out...

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A glass container (open or closed, depending on the type of terrarium you’re making)
  • Suitable plants (remember you’ll need plants that can handle moisture for a closed terrarium, and plants that prefer a drier environment for an open terrarium)
  • Soil
  • Sheet moss
  • Rocks

We suggest starting with a larger glass container if this is your very first terrarium.

  1. Place a handful of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the container, this will provide a base for drainage.

  2. Soak the sheet moss in water and squeeze out excess liquid, place this on top of the rocks & pebbles, ensuring they’re completely covered.

  3. Place your soil on top of the sheet moss, making sure none falls onto the rocks below. The amount of soil you require will depend on the size of your container (the bigger the container the more soil you’ll require) make sure there’s enough for your plants to thrive without becoming cramped.

  4. Plant your plants. Top Tip: organize your plants outside of the container first to find the best arrangement, organizing them inside the terrarium can be tricky.

  5. Give your plants a little water, but don’t overdo it as there’s no drainage holes in the terrarium.

It’s as simple as that. Your very own table-top garden that’ll bring some much-needed greenery into even the tiniest of spaces.