I am in love with terrariums. I had been wanting to build my own for a long time. They are so cute and add life to literally any space, no matter how small. Bonus: they are SO easy to keep alive! A terrarium is a container, usually glass, in which plants are grown. I prefer glass because they are layered and it looks really pretty. There are two main types that I am aware of, rainforest, and arid climate. They each require different soil, and different plants. I made both - though I made four arid climate ones and just one rainforest.
What You’ll Need:
I’ll start out by telling you what was challenging. Finding activated charcoal was challenging. And I’m still not quite happy with the stuff that I got because I’m not comfortable using it for anything else. Activated charcoal I’m sure you know can be used to make face masks, body scrubs, even toothpaste! But I wasn’t able to find any. So I recommend getting this online. I was on a mission and found some in a pet store - apparently it is also used to keep fish tanks clean. You could absolutely do the same, but if you’re trying to maximize your use of it then definitely get it online. The purpose of it is to keep your terrarium from growing mold or rotting so don’t skip this step!
I found all of my glass containers in a thrift store. I bought everything for under $10. There are some really beautiful containers made for this that you can buy so just decide your budget. I found that none of my containers were really big enough to do a rainforest terrarium. I had to cut down my fern significantly and I only used a small piece of the fittonia. If you have something larger, you can definitely do more with it.
I live in a tropical climate, and I found that it was still easier to find desert plants. The garden stores that I went to had a wide variety of small cacti and succulents. I went to three stores trying to find exactly what I wanted so I would call around a bit first to see which stores have what you need.
Once you choose your plants, then you can look into what rocks you’d like, what type of soil you’ll need (I used the soil the plants came in), and what top dressing you’ll need. I had a ton of moss from my monthly Gaia Collective Moon Box. They usually send the box filled with moss along with everything else for that month. I used that moss for my rainforest terrarium. Moss is also found in garden stores. If you do an arid climate, you can grab some sand from your local beach or desert. I bought some pebbles to use at the bottom of mine, as well on top of my arid climate terrariums. Target actually had some cute small rocks for this specifically for about $5. I bought a bag of pebbles from the garden store that had probably 5 times the amount of rocks and was $7. I’ll admit though, Target’s were cuter. If you only plan on building one that may be perfect for you.
Once you have all of your materials, the next step is to put everything together! Make sure that your glass containers are clean and chemical free first since this is basically impossible to clean once everything is in. Your first layer should be rocks or pebbles. This creates a drainage system for your little ecosystem. The next step is to put a layer of activated charcoal. This is important to make sure that your plants do not get mold or rot. Next is your soil. I used the soil that the plants came in, but of course if you have good soil use that! I put the plants in next and pat down the soil around them using a tea spoon. Then layer on your top dressing, for rainforest use moss, and for arid use sand, pebbles, or both. Finally, if you have any crystals that would look pretty or a little statue of the Buddha or Ganesha you can add these in to make it look how you’d like it!
Caring for your terrarium is way too easy. If your terrarium is closed (rainforest only), then you will likely water it once a month or less. All you need is a light mist of water. If your terrarium is open, then for rainforest you will lightly mist it once every week or two. For an arid terrarium, you will likely only need to water it every 2-3 weeks. You could lightly mist it, but I read to use a straw and water straight to the roots so I plan to do that.
I am so excited to see your terrariums! If you make one tag me in it on Instagram! Namaste!