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DIY Terrariums


Terrariums make beautiful gifts for loved ones, and add eye catching simplicity to your home. There’s a few different options available when making a terrarium, or seven.

How you plan to care for your terrarium will help you choose what is suitable for your project. If you want to pour water in, you’ll need to create drainage. If you plan to water with a spray bottle, you can leave the drainage system out. I have put the drainage system in the Kmart prism, and played with some sand layers instead in the op shop vase. I water with a spray bottle with or without a drainage system, to be safe.

Just about any glass vessel can be a terrarium. You can even use a tall drinking glass for a mini one! I have decided to use a prism shape I liked the look of from Kmart, and a pretty glass vase I found while op shopping for this very project. The Kmart one has a loop for hanging, but I don’t recommend hanging them if they feel heavy to hold. Save the ones with no drainage for hanging, and only if you are sure it will hold the weight. You don’t want your creations smashing to the ground.

If you aren’t going to make 50 terrariums, or you have no use for left over dirt, I suggest you source some healthy looking dirt from your own yard or wherever you can. It’s not weird to ask for dirt. If you spread out where you take small scoops from, you shouldn’t notice you’ve taken any at all. Buying dirt to make a couple of terrariums will leave you with some excess. If you are buying dirt, choose something with a slow release fertiliser. You don’t want your plants to outgrow their new home too soon.

For the drainage system you will need some small pebbles. Not too small, you want gaps between them. Not too large, you don’t want them taking up too much room in the base. You put a 1cm, or bigger if your container is taller, layer in the base. Gently! Next you’ll need sphagnum moss, and horticultural charcoal from the gardening section at your local Bunnings or garden centre. You need to soak the moss in water to soften it, then squeeze out the excess water and use it to make a small layer that will keep the dirt out of your drainage rocks. Sprinkle a half centimetre layer of horticultural charcoal on top of your sphagnum moss layer.

If you aren’t including a drainage system, this is where you start from. It’s now for your dirt, and creative plant positioning to shine through. If you want to layer in some sand for a quirky pattern in your dirt, after adding a little dirt pat the layer down softly. Sprinkle in your layer of sand, then more dirt on top – patting the dirt down a little before adding the sand defines the layers more. You can see from the outside what pattern you are creating and the layers don’t have to be flat.

Dried sand can also be found in small bags at Bunnings, near concrete powder. Once you have your plants in the desired position, you can add any big rocks, little rocks, and decorations/ornaments you’d like. I find that if my hands won’t behave, or fit, two wooden skewers used lightly are a great help for getting plants standing up in the correct position. Tweezers or tongs are your best friend if you are working with cacti. Just don’t squeeze too hard!

Let’s finish up with some tips:

When fertilising your terrarium soil, remember to stick with slow release.

If you use succulents, and any parts become overgrown, you can take them off and replant them elsewhere after 24-48 hours.

Don’t give your terrarium too much full sun. The glass can act like a magnifying glass, and the soil can heat up quickly. Choose a bright position that gets an hour or so of full sun maximum in the mornings, or afternoons.

We can’t wait to see what you create!

This article was written for Mumspo Mag by the incredible The Green Thumb Mum who’s Facebook page you can find here.

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