Sometimes a little desk decor can spruce up our workspace enough that we dread heading to the office just a little less. The same can be applied to our homes – a couple of lovely accents can turn a room we like into a place we love instead of a place we just are. Luckily, terrariums are an easy way to bring some life to both our desks and our homes!
These glass containers are little works of art. They’re big enough to host an entire ecosystem for our precious plants, but small enough that space really isn’t an excuse you can make not to have one! The best thing is that they really do create their own environment, requiring very little help other than some indirect light.
Most tropical plants will thrive in the humid environment of a closed terrarium. Succulents are also popular choices, but should be kept in an open one, since they don’t enjoy excess moisture. Here’s our top five terrarium plant choices, that add both color and character to your space:
Aquamarine: You’ll be absolutely dazzled by the tiny, round, silvery-blue leaves of aquamarine. You can plant them alone, but their dense foliage will also provide a beautiful base for other terrarium plants!
Golden Clubmoss: Another great terrarium base, this dense plant doesn’t grow very tall, but likes to spread. Its vibrant, light-green color provides a stunning contrast to other terrarium plants, and especially brightens plants with darker shades.
Variegated Spider Fern: This plant’s beauty can be attributed to the brilliant gloss of its long, arching leaves. Even better, variegated spider ferns boast an attractive yellow stripe down the centre of the leaf (or green, if the variegation is reversed). These plants love the moist environment a terrarium offers.
Moon Valley Friendship Plant: As heartwarming as the name suggests, the friendship plant adds warmth with its deep burgundy and green accents. Covered in elegantly symmetrical craters, friendship plants add character that just can’t be matched. It also tolerates low light conditions, making it perfect for bleak office spaces.
Starfish Plant: Given its name, there’s no need to explain the shape and beauty of this cactus’ flowers. With the starfish flower, you can even go for a beachy-themed terrarium (try adding sand and seashells). This slow-growing plant boasts exotic patterns and colors, as well as a variety of textures, adding flare to any space.
Although you can buy pretty containers specifically designed to be terrariums, and even DIY Terrarium Kits, you can also create one out of household items. Use anything from jam jars to large vintage bottles – the possibilities are endless! Here’s our simple, step-by-step guide on how to build your terrarium.
- Layer the bottom of your container with pebbles or crushed stone. This creates space for water drainage, so your plant’s roots don’t become waterlogged.
- Top the pebbles with some crushed charcoal. This is especially important if your container is going to be a closed system, since charcoal will absorb odors and keep your soil fresh.
- Next, add and disperse your potting soil, gently pressing it in. Remember, your container is glass, so you’re going to see every layer of material from the outside. The pebbles, charcoal, and soil should take up only about a third of the height of the container!
- Create holes large enough for the root balls of each plant.
This is where you can get creative! If it’s large enough, you can create hills and valleys, and add other features, like rocks, sand, or wood.
- Plant away! Depending on the width of the opening, you may need to use a tool like tweezers or chopsticks to help you with placement.
Once you’ve got everything placed, the hard part is done! Caring for your mini ecosystem is extremely easy. They are designed to be little nearly-self-sufficient systems. Just place them in indirect sunlight and watch them thrive! Other care tips will depend on if your terrarium is an open or closed system.
Open terrariums are similar to other containers, and will require regular watering as water evaporates into the air. Plants will also need to be trimmed so they don’t grow too big for the container.
Closed terrariums are much more self-sufficient, since all the moisture is just recycled within the container itself. You may occasionally see condensation on the glass, which is a sign of too much humidity. Simply open up the lid for a little while, allowing the moisture to escape.
Typically, the potting mix provides enough nutrients for your plants, but if they start to look a little sad, you can treat them with some weak fertilizer. If plants begin to rot, you may be over-watering. Adjust accordingly and remove any plants that are past the point of no return.
Terrariums provide a unique method of container gardening, while demanding even less effort. Whether they’re on your desk, your kitchen table, or a living room shelf, they’re the perfect cross between gardening and decor, for any area.