Monday, November 12, 2012

Building a Terrarium

The kids had the day off from school today and so we spent part of it choosing plants and building a terrarium (thanks for the recommendation, Sis!). We had the glass already from a narcissus bulb forcing experiment a few years ago, so we just needed a few other things. I had directions that I ripped out of the Better Homes and Gardens Jan 2012 issue, so I've been ready for this, mentally anyway. We ended up building a succulent terrarium though because the garden shop didn't have tiny dwarf species (terrarium plants mentioned in the article: Gold Club Moss, Earth Star, Strawberry Begonia, Boston Fern), but one of these days I'll build a traditional one.

How to Assemble:
1" layer of small pebbles (approx. 3/8" sized), mixed with a handful of horticultural charcoal
Note: In my version I put in about 3" of mid to large-sized pebbles and skipped the charcoal. Succulents don't need much water anyway so hopefully it won't get stinky--which is the reason for the charcoal.

Add 2-3" light potting soil that has lots of peat, such as African violet soil. Tamp down to remove air pockets.
Note: I used cactus/succulent potting soil

Add plants, water lightly until water drips into the stones. Water an open terrarium (like what I've shown here) when soil looks dry, every 7-10 days or so. A closed terrarium can go two weeks or more between waterings.
Note: I'll be watering mine less often.

I love that I'm becoming more interested in plants. Over the years I've killed quite a few, but I've learned what I can keep alive and so I've stuck with them and my confidence has been building. This weekend I split a large fern into 3 with a huge knife and extra potting soil and as of Monday evening all three are STILL ALIVE.

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