Monday, June 28, 2010

instructional ~ how to build a terrarium

post by repete

1. gather the ingredients: a jar, pebbles, activated charcoal, sphagnum moss, soil, plants and decorations. 
 ~ glass jars work best, and terrariums with lids are lower maintenance. 
 ~ most nurseries and specialist horticultural suppliers carry activated charcoal and sphagnum moss.
 ~ we recommend using a plain potting mix without fertiliser or other improvers that would make your terrarium plants grow too quickly. 
2. layer the substrate.
 ~ pebbles go in first. these provide drainage so the soil does not become waterlogged and cause the plant roots to rot.
 ~ charcoal is next. the charcoal helps keep the terrarium clean by absorbing any nasties.
 ~ the third layer is sphagnum moss. this is an absorbent material that helps regulates the water level and separates the soil from the drainage layer.
 ~ soil goes in last. just a thin layer to start because it's easier to add more soil once the plants are in than to dig holes for the plant roots.

3. add your plants. 
 ~ design your miniature landscape before you start planting. will there be hills and valleys? a paved path or wall? will any creatures live here?
 ~ start with your biggest plant. use a spoon or chopstick to dig a little hole for the roots. pop the plant in, and if necessary, add a little extra soil to cover the roots.
 ~ add the rest of the plants and any landscaping features.
4. keep it alive and happy.
 ~ water the plants, only a little though! it's better to be too dry because you can always add water later. drying it out is not so easy. Open terrariums will need regular watering, but terrariums with lids won't need much at all.
 ~ pick a good spot for your terrarium, out of direct sunlight but with enough light to keep the plants happy. 
 ~ if the terrarium has a lid, open it up every now and again for an airing.
 ~ prune the plants with clean scissors when they start to out-grow their space. 
5. take some photos and send them to!

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