January 22, 2016 Gardening Tips No Comments

Looking for an indoor project that will add a unique and elegant flare to your home? Create a garden in glass! Glass gardens, or terrariums, are miniature ecosystems that make for a fun project on a cold day and are easy enough for the kids to help with.

There is something so satisfying and soothing about creating a miniature world within a glass to brighten up your home. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide so you can create your own terrarium as elaborate or minimalist as you would like.

For this project you will need the following materials:

  • Your choice of small indoor plants
  • Clear glass container
  • Activated charcoal pieces
  • Horticultural sand
  • Indoor potting soil
  • Pebbles
  • Decorative rocks (optional)
  • Moss (optional)


Step 1: Choose Your Plants and Container

The type of plants you select will affect which container you use and vice-versa. If you adore ferns and tropical plants, opt for a container you can close to maintain the perfect level of humidity. If you are crazy for cacti and succulents, choose an open container for a dry terrarium. It looks nice to use plants with different colors, heights, and textures.

Terrarium containers should always be clear glass, but can be closed or open, depending on your preference.


Step 2: Build Your Foundation

To begin, spread a thin layer of charcoal on the bottom of the clean container. This will help filter the water and air to prevent stagnation. Next, pour in enough sand to cover the charcoal. Finally, add a layer of pebbles and pat down gently.

There are different layering methods depending on the look you want to achieve. Some people add moss between layers to keep them separate, others add pebbles before charcoal; feel free to experiment to get the look you like best.


Step 3: Add Potting Soil

The amount of soil will depend on the size of your container and your plants’ root systems, but generally 2-3 inches is sufficient.


Step 4: Arrange Your Plants

After removing each plant from its pot, lay them where you want it in the container, delicately spread the roots, then cover them evenly with soil. Gently pack down the soil to remove air pockets and water lightly.


Step 5: Cover the Soil

Add your decorative rocks for a more polished look. You can also use moss, which helps retain moisture, or even sand for more of a desert scape. Now is also the time to add additional decorations if you choose to do so. You can add rocks, shells, feathers, figurines, or anything else for a personal touch.


Caring For Your Terrarium

Terrariums require very little care. If you chose a closed container, your terrarium will become a little greenhouse and you will see moisture collecting on the side of the glass. These terrariums need very little to no additional water and benefit from spending a few hours with the lid off every couple of weeks. Terrariums planted in an open container will require water as needed.


Ready to try a terrarium of your own? At Milberger’s Nursery, we’re here to help with supplies, advice and troubleshooting- stop by to see us and let us get you started!


(Source: Armstrong Garden & Swanson’s Nursery)

Written by milbergers