Our world is full of fascinating creatures and for me nothing is more astonishing than plants. But not all of us have the luxury of space to create gardens or mini ecosystems in our houses. Well, I have the perfect solution to this problem – TERRARIUMS!
Terrariums are small glass chambers in which we can grow small plants of different varieties. These are just like a miniature form of jungle or garden. These are perfect for decorating your house. The tiny plants in this transparent chamber can be chosen according to the theme of your home or according to their vibrant colours. They will be a perfect addition to your place representing a perfect tiny little garden.
What elements are required?
The first and foremost requirement will be a glass container. You can choose a transparent container with large opening or even with a small mouth. Even an old fish bowl will be perfect for this purpose. The container can be fully enclosed with a lid, partially closed or it can be completely open. Partially open containers are most suitable as they allow good air flow and also retain sufficient moisture for the plants.
The next thing you need to do is to gather a substrate on which your plants can grow. As these containers won’t have holes, we need to create a good drainage system in order to avoid the roots from rotting due to excess water. Add a 2-4 inch layer of pebbles or small stones. After this add potting mix or prepare a mixture on your own by adding soil, sand, clay, compost or vermicompost in a definite proportion (3 parts sand, 3 parts soil or clay, 1 part compost) to the jar. Make sure that this layer is well levelled and sufficient space is left for the plants to grow.
How to manage terrariums?
These tiny gardens need very little attention and time. All you need to do is to water them once a week, or twice if the soil feels too dry. Water them using a spray bottle and avoid flooding the system. Try to remove dead or decaying parts of plants regularly to avoid development of bacteria or fungus. Sometimes the plants may grow out of proportion. To avoid such a situation, prune the plants at regular intervals. And the best part is you don’t need to fertilize them as we want them to grow at a slow pace.
So don’t let those mason or pickle jars or old fish bowls go to a waste, instead turn them into beautiful terrariums!
These tiny plants in a glass container are admirable to all. But we all face the same question – which plants will be best suited for our mini gardens?
I have tried to compile plants according to their growing habits and beautiful appearances which will help you decide which plant combo will be most soothing to your eyes?
Delta Maidenhair Fern – These little ferns are best suited in closed conditions. They have triangular shaped arched leaves which are present in a bunch, with many small pinnate leaves. They appear like a beautiful light green coloured tree.
Asparagus/Emerald fern – This plant will add a little thorny twist to your terrarium. It is an evergreen perennial fern with thin leaves which give a bushy appearance. This fern grows very fast only if adequate light is provided. So this could be a good addition in the category of small plants inside a terrarium.
Pepperomia (Pepperomia obtusefolia) – This is also known as baby rubber plant. Yes you heard that right! It is not related to the original rubber plant, but the appearance is more or less similar. Because of its fleshy, thick, oversized glossy leaves it gets its name. It characteristically stores water in its leaves and swells up if water is available, otherwise it remains shrivelled. It is available in a beautiful dark green colour or with white or yellow variegated leaves.
Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) – I would highly recommend this succulent for your terrarium. Besides exhibiting vibrant purple and green leaves it also nurtures star shaped red and pink coloured flowers on its stalk.
Nerve Plant – Adding a creeper will increase the diversity in your terrarium. This plant has green coloured leaves but has a unique venation of silver colour which separates it from others. It can bloom occasionally as an indoor plant with yellow or reddish inflorescence.
Pteris Cretica – It is commonly known as brake fern. It has variegated leaves with green colour on the edges and light yellowish or cream colour in the middle. It doesn’t look like a typical fern but is very popular as indoor plant.
Helxine soleirolii – Commonly known as baby tears, this succulent is a perfect addition to your collection. It is perennial so it will live for many years to come and with its creepy nature and small leaves it gives a mat type appearance. It even blooms with vibrant pinkish flowers.
Strawberry Begonia – These plants are a treat to the eyes due to red coloured, hairy and hued leaves. They can form a clump of bases in the container and can spread as creepers. It will grow very fast and as a bonus you can let it hang out of your terrarium to give a fresh new decorative look.
Taking care of your terrarium –
All the above mentioned plants have almost similar requirements for growing. They require high humidity, which is easily available in a terrarium. Don’t water them by flooding, instead use a sprayer or mister to water these plants. In terms of light requirement, they all require low and indirect sunlight. This keeps their growth under check. Always try and keep your set up in an area where low or indirect light is available because glass magnifies the intensity of light which can be harmful for out tiny plants. If your terrarium is a closed system, try and allow fresh air to circulate through it once a week. Clean the surfaces with a moist sponge or cloth which is not dripping. Don’t overcrowd the container in order to avoid formation of mold.
Just take care of these little things and your plants will flourish at their best. And I can assure the amount of satisfaction which you will get from looking at these plants, will be worth all the effort!
PS: To read more articles like these every week, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.