Photo: Viva Terra sells ready-to-plant terrarium kits shaped like apples and pears; each kit comes with sand and four air plants.
If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with friends or kids as spring gets closer, consider creating a tiny indoor ecosystem with a terrarium. Terrariums are fun to make, easy to care for (one of the most important care tips for a terrarium is to LEAVE IT ALONE), and connect you with living things before it’s quite warm enough to start planting an outdoor garden. Terrariums are also great to make with children, who love the pint-sized nature of the project and can marvel at its self-contained living space over time. Here are a few tips for making a terrarium that shines.
- Make your terrarium out of reclaimed items. Any large glass vessel will do, so search your local thrift and antique stores for jars, cake stands with glass toppers, old brandy snifters, fishbowls or anything else that is made of clear glass and has a wide opening you can fit your hand in. You can also make an adorable container out of a wine or sparkling water bottle with a simple glass-cutting kit from a hobby or craft store, or from Ephrem’s Bottle Works. You can also transform wine, soda or beer bottles into adorable drinking glasses this way. Read more about home glass cutting.
- Choose small, slow-growing plants for your terrarium such as air plants, miniature ferns, succulents or moss. Choose plants in 2- to 4-inch pots with similar light and moisture needs; ask a local nursery for suggestions.
- Large containers are easier to work with than smaller ones. Temperatures inside are more moderate, and air flow is better. If you forget to water your plants or they get overheated, large terrariums are more forgiving.
- Lidded terrariums trap humidity, so choose plants that thrive in humid air such as ferns, tropical houseplants and mosses. Keep lidded terrariums out of direct sunlight—even 15 minutes can be lethal.
Read Natural Home & Garden‘s full step-by-step instructions to terrarium design. We adapted this terrarium article from the excellent craft book Weekend Handmade by Kelly Wilkinson. You can order the book here.