Create a mini-greenhouse
for small plants.

Terrariums have entered interior décor style lists in recent times.

Gaining popularity amongst millennials as a way of integrating tiny gardens into small living spaces, terrariums are fast becoming the plant choice of the trendy.

What is a terrarium?

A terrarium is a small, enclosed environment for certain plants. They are usually transparent and typically plastic or glass, creating a mini-greenhouse environment.

There are two types of terrariums: sealed and open. They come in all shapes and sizes from geometric copper-framed to hanging glass terrariums.

How do they work?

In this environment, the plants and the soil release water vapor, which is then collected on the terrarium walls and, eventually, the soil.

Terrariums are self-nourishing, which, if sealed, means they require little maintenance.

What you need

  •  A glass or plastic container
    (an old fish bowl is perfect)
  •  Soil (the type will depend on the plants – consult your garden center)
  •  Plants that won’t grow large
  •  Spoon for placing soil
  •  Long tweezers for putting materials into vessel.
  •  Rocks (optional)
  •  Moss (optional)

Fill the bottom of the container with half the amount of soil you plan to use. You can lay rocks as the first layer in the terrarium, to give a layered effect from the outside, but this isn’t necessary.

Add any larger items like rocks or pieces of driftwood that you would like to include in your garden.

Make a hole in the soil big enough for the roots of the plants to rest.

When removing the plant from its container you may need to lightly massage the roots to loosen them from the soil.

Position the plants in the thin layer of soil and add the second layer of soil around the plants with a spoon. Press down firmly on the soil; the new soil level should be about the same level as the soil of the plant’s original root ball.

Slow-growing plants are the best option for your terrarium. Small succulents, tillandsias and cacti are ideal, according to Tom Balon of Vigoro, a nursery and landscaping company.

However, plants like ferns, carnivorous plants, peperomia or even small bonsai trees can also work, he says.

Most garden centers offer a wide selection of plants that will grow well in a terrarium. Choose plants with a variety of sizes, textures and colors for an eye-catching addition to your house plant collection.

Terrarium care

For the most part, they are very low maintenance, but there are a few things to consider when caring for your terrarium.

If you grow ferns, trim the leaves to prevent them from overgrowing.

Remove yellow and brown leaves from any plants in your terrarium. This is typically a sign of disease or a pest.

If you have an open terrarium, monitor for bugs and if you have closed terrarium, remember to remove the lid every now and then to allow fresh air to circulate.

Water and light

While terrariums do need water, they don’t need it as regularly as other house plants.

“Hand watering is usually best,” says Tom. “The glass enclosure holds moisture, so care is quite minimal.”

Terrariums can benefit from direct, indirect or artificial sunlight. Be careful if you do place your terrarium in direct sunlight, and remove the lid on sealed containers to keep the plants inside cool.

If you use artificial light, opt for fluorescent or LED over incandescent light.

These customizable, beautiful indoor plants work well with any interior décor. They add greenery to small spaces, where other house plants would overshadow and dominate.