Terrariums

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.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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!

Written by
Antra Thada

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Watering

To think of it, watering plants is one of the things I look forward to especially in the mornings.

I usually start my day by having a cup of tea and watering my plants simultaneously… I have a watering pipe which I use in the morning. Usually it is very pleasant, there is less pollution in the air. The moment water touches soil, I am engulfed in the pleasant smell of soil. I always find it so calming and relaxing! The sound of sprinkling water, mixed with leaves rustling, and the change in the sound with every different texture it falls upon, it just helps me to get fully awake. The way it seeps into the soil and you know your plants were thirsty and now are going to look happy and fresh again makes me happy. I also think different smells that hit me while I am watering my plants also play an important role in the calming process. Certain leaves have a certain scent that intensifies with the water, similarly do the flowers. You can see the growth or the parts that need cutting while you are watering and it is as good as saying hi, good morning to your friend!

Let’s learn about the wizards of plant kingdom – The AIR Plants!

Written by
Antra Thada

The world is filled with absolutely stunning things around us. One of the latest obsession I have is with air plants. Their whole mechanism of life, growth and survival is nothing less than a marvel. We wrapped our heads around hydroponics where plants grow without soil but now we have air plants which do not even require water to grow. These plants grow in the air without any soil or water. Now isn’t that fascinating?

The scientific name of these plants is Tillandsia and they belong to family of Bromeliaceae. These are also known as epiphytes because they grow on other trees in forests but don’t misunderstand them to be parasitic as they cause no harm to their hosts. These plants need a supportive base to rest upon or grow. They can be grown on any surface in your house like old wooden photo frames, nets or even old pottery pieces. They will be a perfect addition to your collection of plants. You can even make a vertical stand of air plants or even in terrariums. (Wondering what’s terrariums and how to have one? Don’t worry! We got that covered for you in the upcoming posts).

How to take care of them?

They need bright but indirect light. Don’t let the sun directly shine on them but rather keep them in a room or near a window. During summers, shift them in a cool area which has ample of day light as the heat in a sub-tropical country like India can burn them badly. They can be grown in a closed space where natural light is not available with the help of white light lamps so that photosynthesis can occur efficiently.

When it comes to fulfilling their water requirements, they can be a little nasty to take care of. They can be hydrated by misting or by soaking them in water. The amount of water required depends upon the intensity of light it is receiving. If the temperature is hot and light availability is also good, water the plants once a week. Soak them in water for 10-15 min and then dry them on a paper napkin or cloth for 3-4 hours. Make sure that they are properly dried otherwise they will start rotting.

But how do air plants fulfil their nutritional requirements?

This was perhaps the first question that popped in my mind when I came across air plants. They prepare their own food through photosynthesis and their nutritional requirement is fulfilled by air, dust or the occasional watering. One other source of nutrition for air plants is dead and decaying microorganisms on the surface of its leaves. So basically it gets its nutrition from the sources which we could have hardly imagined.

I think these air plants would look wonderful in a glass container hanging by the window. And they couldn’t be prettier as they don’t have roots or don’t need soil to grow in. They bloom once in their lifetime but I feel like air plants are not grown for their flowers.

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Finding Yourself

There are some things that make no sense, and in a way, it makes them more beautiful.

Why do we get attached to a certain type of plant, we feel a pull towards a certain plant, love them for something which goes beyond the color and type of plant? It makes the whole experience of gardening so much more than just some mundane work. It makes the whole process a wholesome experience. And like I said before, it keeps teaching us but it keeps surprising us, and that keeps us really alive; I think.

Sometimes I think it is like finding yourself, at least a part of yourself. Like the saying goes, show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are, similar is with plants. Show me what plants you love and it might just give me a glimpse of your soul… So to all my fellow gardeners, all the very best for the future, I hope you will get frequent surprises by knowing different plants!

Gardening

Gosh! That’s a start! Never had a post named Gardening! Gardening for me is more than just getting a plant and keeping it in my garden, whether it is a balcony garden, terrace garden, indoor garden kitchen garden or any other type of garden. Of course, one cannot have a garden without any plants. So, what is it about gardening that we may go wrong in?

Let’s start from the very beginning. Getting a plant is probably only the start of a beautiful journey that we call gardening. But the kind of plants we want, and the kind of plants we can have or get, is sometimes totally another story. Where you want to have a garden, what season it is, what type of soil you get, compost and fertilizers, gardening tools, pest attacks and what not comes along. So, in a way, gardening is easy until something goes wrong, which eventually does. And to go ahead after something has gone wrong, to not stop gardening, that is where the real journey of gardening starts.

Also wanted to remind you that our gardening consultation is now available along with our courses, workshops and E-books. So, you can take help from google, YouTube videos, other books, our courses, or learn it all by yourself. Don’t ever give up on Gardening!

Why I write about Gardening is a very peculiar thing.

Like journaling helps us in so many different ways, writing about my gardening experiences is similar.

There are a lot of things that we enjoy while gardening and then there are so many days when we get caught up in the speedy hustle of everyday that we often forget these beautiful moments we experienced. So, when I sit and start writing about these experiences, I first of all go back to the beautiful moment and relive it almost. And when it is written down, I may just come across it very unexpectedly and that might just make that almost forgotten moment that much sweeter. The efforts I put some day and the aim I achieved may just help me feel better on days when things are may be not-so-great…

The beauty of writing about gardening is that sometimes I realize some beautiful aspects of life when I’m looking back at them…

Gardening & Décor

Do you think having a plant in any room changes the look of any room? That it makes the room more lively and cheerful, bring inside some warmth and freshness while helping you stay refreshed mentally and emotionally… Do you think having any plant in your home helps increase your creativity and productivity? Because I think an indoor garden does that and much more.

Gardening brings home life, joy, warmth and a sense of belonging. My home before I introduced it to my indoor plants was just as dear to me and just as beautiful as it is now, but bringing in some plants highlighted some areas in my home. It made my home as a whole very endearing. Now I may be biased so do tell me, did bringing some plants indoor change anything about your home???

Snake Plant

Low maintenance, doesn’t need a lot of water and very hard to go wrong with, that’s how I would describe snake plant! It grows well in indoors and outdoors, and one might have seen the plant every now and then grown by the fences perhaps.

There are different types of snake plants of course but each of them still unique and beautiful in its own way. My favorite is the one that sits on my desk, sometimes by my bed since it is said to be an excellent air purifier.

It has broad leaves, light green, almost yellow-green neon in color all the way up and down it’s outer border and deep, rich green all over the leaves. Darker green stripes on the plant give it a tiger like snake like look, which I find very funny and cute. It is definitely a plant that grew on me eventually over time.

Coleus

Looking for a beautiful foliage plant? Looking for a inexpensive plant to add to your Garden? Looking for a small compact plant? Well the answer, as you know my friend, is coleus. Coleus are very vibrant, beautiful, colorful plants that bring in instant pop to any garden. It has a unique ability to both stand out and blend in depending on where you choose to place it.

The best part about is coleus is, I feel, its inexpensiveness. Its very cheap. (In India it normally costs around Rs. 20-40). So if you’re on a tight budget, think coleus. Also, they are very easy to grow from seeds or from stem cuttings. I’ll speak more about propagation in the second half of this post.

Though you may commonly seen them gardens, in beds (used as borders), they make excellent container plants. Coleus are cultivated as ornamental plants, particularly Coleus scutellarioides (syns. Coleus blumei, Plectranthus scutellarioides), which is popular as a garden plant for its brightly colored foliage. This plant prefers bright, but indirect sunlight. If direct sunlight touches the plant’s leaves, the colors become less brightly colored. Outside this plant needs total shade or only the most mild morning sunlight.

Timely pinching and pruning helps coleus stay foliage-focused. Coleus belong to the mint family, as evidenced by their squared stems, and have mint-like blossoms. But most gardeners don’t allow coleus to flower, because the blooms aren’t very pretty and hinder plant growth. Flowering signals it’s time for seed production, so energy shifts from colorful leaves to seeds. Using the area between your forefinger and thumb, pinch right where flower buds appear above leaf pairs or branches to remove buds and keep coleus on track. This also promotes more branching and greater fullness.

There are two ways to propagate coleus. Seeds are inexpensive and easily obtainable, though named cultivars do not come true from seeds. To germinate seeds, simply sprinkle seeds on the soil surface and press down. Seeds require light to germinate, so should not be covered. They may be kept moist by growing in a container covered with plastic, or by misting seeds daily. Sprouts can show color in as little as two weeks. Alternatively, cuttings can be taken. Cuttings root readily in plain water, without the addition of rooting hormone.

Show me the money!

Money Plant, aka Pothos and Golden Ceylon Philodendron are probably among the first few Indoor Plants I came across. I remember, I had them for a while, and they were growing so beautifully, without needing anything except water from me.

They finally grew to the point where they were hanging down from their pots. Then came the exciting time of getting some planters to keep them in, and some neutral, minimalistic look with their incredible foliage was a sight for sore eyes! I kept them together for a while, but then Golden Ceylon with its almost-fluorescent neon colors was looking incredible against the sunlight. So off Golden Ceylon went to my east facing window in my kitchen. To look at Golden Ceylon Philodendron in the morning while sipping tea is one of the most peaceful things ever!

And my Money Plant, it went on my office desk, because it just makes me happy! 😊 It is bright, deep green with rich light green highlights to contrast one another. To be honest, Money Plant and Golden Ceylon may have been the ones that really made me want to try to have other Indoor Plants!

What was your first indoor plant? Tell us in the comment section below!