Terrariums are easy to build and enjoy

Glass jar. I paid $5.95 at T.J. Maxx.

Yesterday, I was at T.J. Maxx, and I found this lovely glass jar. Now, I could put M&M’S® in it, or dried cherries, or buttons, but . . . anymore, when I see a glass container, I want to layer soil, sand and pebbles to create a miniature world. Ever since I made some terrariums a couple of years ago, I can hardly stop myself. Although I have a few with open tops, it seems the closed environment works best for my laissez-faire, indoor plant care.

To put it another way, I seldom water. I am a terrible indoor-plant mother. Just ask my unfortunate, interior, foliar inhabitants. On second thought, please don’t.

When I discovered terrariums, it was a perfect marriage. With a glass top, you often don’t need to water for a year.

Rex begonia in a biscuit jar from shhhh . . . Wal-Mart

Yes, you read that right. A year.

Here is a prime example. This biscuit jar came from Wal-Mart because it was cheap, about $5.00 or $6.00. I can’t remember exactly how much I spent. It isn’t as graceful as the more delicate jars, but once I added soil, a few plants, and one rex begonia which later took over, I think it’s quite nice. I barely notice it on the sofa table, but there it sits, keeping me company through the long winter.

By my bedside, I have another jar which came from a small antique shop. You can find these jars almost anywhere. Just make sure  it has a large enough opening to get your hand down into it.

The finished product.

So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • One glass container. I like clear glass best myself. Lets in more light and magnifies the plant or whatever you place inside.
  • Potting soil, any good one you can find. I don’t buy the ones with chemical fertilizers. You don’t need much fertilizer at all so I just use a basic, potting soil.
Sometimes, I place a decorative plate on top of the open terrariums to increase the moisture for awhile.
  • Pebbles, rocks, tumbled glass, pretty sand or whatever you like. Michael’s has a great selection, but so does Hobby Lobby for that matter. I found this tumbled glass, the color of Coke bottles, at Michael’s. I need more to finish the terrarium above.
  • Plants. Choose small and try tropical ones which like a wet environment. I saw some cute little ones at our local nursery, TLC. I hate to give TLC a plug because yesterday, their marquee shouted loud and proud about pre-emergent herbicide and the elimination of broad-leaf weeds. Then, when I walked inside, the store reeked of chemicals. However, in winter, they are about the best place to go for small, interesting tropicals. Also, sometimes, Wal-Mart has them locally. I know, everyone hates on Wal-Mart, but I live out in the boondocks of Oklahoma. I don’t have that many places to shop. I did stop by Under the Sun and found two small plants. Under the Sun really should capitalize on the terrarium thing in winter.
  • Add anything you find interesting to create your scene. Two Green Thumbs has several cute things in various scales. I’m not much of a fairy gardener except when it comes to those under glass. There’s just something about putting small items inside which appeals to my little girl heart. Whatever items you choose, make sure they’re waterproof. Things get wet in these glass enclosures. A wee gazing ball would be nice.
  • A watering can or sink spray nozzle to gently water the interior. I found a copper, greenhouse Hawe’s watering can for nearly nothing on ebay.com.

To assemble. Wash your container and dry it until it shines. Place a layer of pebbles or soil in the bottom. After choosing plants, put between one and three in the enclosure. If something later dies, don’t worry. These plants cost about $2.50 to $4.50 apiece so you can afford to get another one.  Just replace, water and move on.

Next, place some pebbles, or make a small path of stones in your terrarium and organize it to suit you. Terrariums are creative spaces for those of us who miss the outdoors too much in winter or when we’re cooped up otherwise.

Gently water.

Top it with the lid, and you’re all done. Fun huh?

If you make one of your own, take a picture and upload it with your comment. I’d like to see what you’ve done.