Create Your Own Mini Oasis: Tips For Making A Houseplant Terrarium

Kelly Garton

Are you looking for a new and visually appealing way to grow houseplants? A houseplant terrarium might be just what you need. Terrariums allow you to grow plants that require humidity in a unique and satisfying way. They can also be a meditative experience, as you create your own mini oasis right in the comfort of your home.

But before you start, it’s important to know that creating a houseplant terrarium requires different care than standard houseplants. Choosing the right container and selecting the appropriate plants are crucial to the success of your terrarium.

In this article, we’ll provide you with comprehensive tips and tricks on how to make your own houseplant terrarium. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right plants and container to creating the perfect soil mix and maintaining the terrarium’s ecosystem.

Get ready to create your own piece of innovation and bring some greenery into your life.

Key Takeaways

  • Terrariums require different care than standard houseplants and should be built in a glass container with a good-sized soil layer.
  • Choose species with similar moisture and light requirements and use a gritty potting mix.
  • Closed terrariums are ideal for moisture-loving plants, while open terrariums are better for plants that need air circulation.
  • A clear plan for the terrarium setup is important, as there are many different styles to choose from.

What is a Terrarium?

To create your own mini oasis, start by understanding what a terrarium is and how it differs from standard houseplants. A terrarium is a container garden that allows you to grow plants in a self-contained environment. It can be made in a glass container with a soil layer and requires different care than standard houseplants.

The benefits of a terrarium are that it’s a satisfying project for growing plants that need humidity. It can also be a meditative experience and a way to test gardening skills. DIY terrarium kits are available to help beginners get started, or you can create your own from scratch.

When choosing the container for your terrarium, look for a glass jar with a wide enough mouth to make maintenance easier. The container should have enough space for the plants and growing medium. You should leave at least 2-4 inches of soil for the plants to dig into.

With a clear plan for the terrarium setup, you can create a work of art that provides a beautiful home for your plants.

Choosing the Container

When choosing a container for your houseplant terrarium, it’s important to consider the size and shape of the container. Look for a glass jar or bowl with a wide enough mouth to make maintenance easier. The container should also have enough space for your plants and growing medium to thrive.

DIY options include using resealable glass jars, fishbowls, aquariums, and reptile tanks. You can also repurpose items like Erlenmeyer flasks or other chemistry glassware to add a mad-science flair to your terrarium.

If you want to get creative, there are many fun and unique terrarium container ideas to explore. For example, you could use a lightbulb, a teapot, or a vintage birdcage. You could also try making a terrarium in a hanging glass orb or a geometric terrarium.

When choosing a container, keep in mind that closed terrariums require less frequent watering but may need regular pruning and can be prone to mold, excess condensation, and overheating. Open terrariums require standard care practices for the chosen houseplants and caution about overwatering.

Selecting Plants

Choose plants with similar moisture and light requirements to create a successful houseplant terrarium. When selecting plant species, consider their humidity requirements as well. Closed terrariums are ideal for moisture-loving plants, while open terrariums are better for plants that need air circulation. Maidenhair fern, peperomia, nerve plant, bun moss, and parlor palm are good choices for closed terrariums, as they prefer high humidity. On the other hand, anthurium, calathea, pothos, air plant, croton, and bromeliad are good choices for open terrariums, as they prefer moderate to low humidity levels.

In addition to considering humidity, it’s important to choose plants with light preferences that match the terrarium style. For closed terrariums, choose plants that can thrive in low to medium light conditions. For open terrariums, choose plants that can tolerate bright, indirect light. Refer to the table below for some plant species that are suitable for different types of terrariums based on their light and humidity requirements.

Terrarium Type Plant Species Light Preferences Humidity Requirements
Closed Maidenhair fern Low to medium High
Closed Peperomia Low to medium High
Closed Nerve plant Low to medium High
Closed Bun moss Low to medium High
Closed Parlor palm Low to medium High
Open Anthurium Bright, indirect Moderate
Open Calathea Bright, indirect Moderate
Open Pothos Bright, indirect Moderate
Open Air plant Bright, indirect Low
Open Croton Bright, indirect Low
Open Bromeliad Bright, indirect Low

By carefully selecting plant species that match the terrarium style and each other’s needs, you can create a thriving mini oasis in your home.

Terrarium Soil and Substrate

Transform your glass container into a thriving ecosystem for your plants by using the right soil and substrate in your terrarium. The substrate you choose will affect the health and growth of your plants, so it’s important to select the best ingredients for your terrarium.

You can create your own DIY recipes for terrarium soil, or opt for commercial mixes that are readily available. Organic options are also available for those who want to practice sustainability in their gardening practices.

When troubleshooting terrariums, keep in mind that root rot is a common problem that can be avoided by using substrates with good drainage and aeration.

In addition to choosing the right substrate, it’s also important to control the moisture levels in your terrarium. Humidity control is key for moisture-loving plants that thrive in closed terrariums. Watering frequency will vary depending on the plants you choose and the environment in which your terrarium is placed.

Water quality is also important, so consider using filtered or distilled water. Drainage is critical to prevent excess water from accumulating in the substrate and causing root rot. Misting and using watering tools can help maintain proper moisture levels, and self-watering systems or hydroponic setups can be used for more advanced terrariums.

With the right substrate and moisture control, your terrarium will become a beautiful, self-sustaining mini oasis for your plants.

Layering Techniques

To achieve a layered and visually appealing terrarium, start by adding a drainage layer of large rocks or clay to the bottom of your glass container. This layer will prevent water from pooling at the bottom of the container and causing root rot.

Next, add a layer of moss to act as a barrier between the drainage layer and the substrate layer. This layer will help retain moisture and prevent soil from settling into the drainage layer.

There are different layering styles for terrariums, including the traditional drainage, moss, charcoal, substrate, plant, and top dressing layers. However, you can also get creative with your layering techniques by incorporating lighting into your terrarium.

For example, you can add LED lights to highlight specific plants or create a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can even use a string of fairy lights to create a magical effect.

Overall, layering is an important aspect of creating a successful terrarium, so take the time to experiment with different techniques and see what works best for your plants and aesthetic preferences.

Decorative Elements

When adding decorative elements to your terrarium, consider using natural materials such as stones, driftwood, and dried flowers to enhance the overall aesthetic and create a cohesive look.

You can also incorporate found objects such as seashells, pinecones, and feathers to add a unique touch. DIY terrarium decorations are also a great option, such as creating miniature fairy gardens or painting small figurines to place among the plants.

Incorporating figurines and creating themed terrariums can also add a fun and whimsical element to your mini oasis. Choose a theme such as a beach or forest scene, and use decorations such as miniature beach chairs or tiny animals to create a cohesive and visually appealing display.

Remember to keep the decorations small and not overcrowd the plants, as they are the main focus of the terrarium. With some creativity and imagination, your terrarium can become a work of art that reflects your personal style and interests.

Building the Terrarium

To build your houseplant terrarium, start by selecting a glass container that’s wide enough with enough space for the plants and soil. It should allow at least 2-4 inches of soil for the plants to dig into.

Once you have the container, gather the necessary tools needed. For tall terrariums with narrow openings, use long, skinny tools. Large pieces of rock or clay are needed for the drainage layer, and a gritty potting mix for the substrate layer.

When it comes to creative design ideas, consider arranging plants and hardscaping first. Start with mosses or low-lying creepers. Create a shallow depression in the soil to place each plant. Bury the roots with more substrate. Prune or break up root balls that are too tall or wide to fit.

Once you have arranged the plants, add top dressing and decorative rocks, twigs, or toys to complete the look. Don’t forget to mist the inner walls of the terrarium with filtered water before sealing it to keep the ecosystem balanced.

With these tips, you can create a beautiful mini oasis in your own home.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining and caring for your houseplant terrarium requires regular monitoring of its ecosystem. This includes keeping an eye on proper lighting, water levels, and pruning.

Make sure to keep the soil mildly damp, not dry or soggy, and wipe away excess condensation. If the substrate is drying out, give the terrarium a few blasts of distilled water.

Prune plants every few months to keep them healthy and watch out for mold, especially in closed terrariums. To prevent mold, make sure the terrarium has proper air circulation and don’t overwater the plants.

In addition to monitoring the ecosystem, adding liquid fertilizer once or twice per growing season can help plants thrive. Most of the work happens at the beginning, but it’s important to maintain the terrarium to keep it healthy and thriving.

Remember not to kill the terrarium with too much light, water, or fertilizer. By following these tips for pruning and preventing mold in closed terrariums, you can create a mini oasis that will bring joy and beauty to your home.

Avoiding Root Rot

Preventing root rot is crucial for the health of your terrarium, so be sure to use a potting mix that includes gritty ingredients like pumice, perlite, or horticultural charcoal to reduce moisture retention. This will prevent water from sitting in the soil and causing the roots to rot.

Additionally, make sure to avoid overwatering your terrarium by only watering when the soil is slightly dry to the touch. To further prevent root rot, choose plants that have similar moisture requirements and make sure to leave enough space between them for air circulation.

When planting, break up root balls that are too large or tall to fit in the container so that the roots can spread out and grow properly. By using an appropriate potting mix and preventing overwatering, you can keep your terrarium healthy and thriving.

Watering with Rainwater

Using rainwater to water your terrarium can bring a lot of benefits. Rainwater is natural and often contains fewer minerals than tap water, which can build up in the substrate over time. It also contains natural nutrients that can help your plants grow healthier.

However, collecting rainwater can be challenging, especially if you live in an area with little rainfall. To collect rainwater for your terrarium, you can use a rain barrel or a simple bucket placed outside during a rainstorm. Make sure to cover the container to prevent debris and mosquitoes from getting in. You can also use a fine mesh strainer to remove any particles before using the water in your terrarium.

Avoid using rainwater if it has been collected from a roof or a polluted area, as it can contain harmful substances that can harm your plants. By using rainwater, you can create a more natural environment for your plants and avoid the potential harmful effects of tap water.

Author and Article Information

Now that you know all about the benefits of using rainwater to water your houseplants, let’s take a closer look at the author and article information for this guide to making a houseplant terrarium.

The author, David Worth, is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago who has a passion for helping green things grow. His article on creating a houseplant terrarium has been shared 12 times and has received 5 pins on Pinterest.

In addition to providing valuable information on how to create a houseplant terrarium, the article also gives insight into the author’s background and interests. This personal touch helps to establish a connection with the reader and adds a human element to the guide.

The sharing and pinning information is also useful for those who may want to save or share the article with friends or on social media.

With this helpful guide and the author’s expertise, you’ll be able to create a beautiful and thriving mini oasis in no time.

Terrarium as a Meditative Experience

Experience the calming and meditative benefits of building a terrarium, as you carefully select the perfect plants and arrange them in a beautiful and thriving ecosystem.

As you focus on the task at hand, you can forget about the stresses of daily life and immerse yourself in the peaceful world of your terrarium. The act of creating a terrarium can be a form of mindfulness, allowing you to be present in the moment and fully engaged with the task at hand.

As you work on your terrarium, take the time to observe your plants and the environment you’re creating. Notice how the light and moisture levels affect your plants, and adjust accordingly.

By being mindful of the needs of your plants, you can create a healthy and thriving ecosystem. In addition to being a beautiful addition to your home, your terrarium can also be a source of relaxation and a way to practice mindfulness techniques.

Chemistry Glassware for Terrariums

Add a touch of scientific flair to your terrarium by incorporating Erlenmeyer flasks or other chemistry glassware for a unique and quirky look. These items can be found at science supply stores or online and come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Chemistry glassware can be used as decor, such as a standalone piece or as a centerpiece, or as a functional part of the terrarium, such as a mini greenhouse for seedlings or a water reservoir.

DIY terrarium gifts can also be made with chemistry glassware, adding a personalized touch to your gift-giving. Fill a small flask or test tube with soil and a tiny plant, and tie a ribbon around it for a charming and unique present. These gifts can be customized with different plants and containers to match the recipient’s style and taste.

Adding chemistry glassware to your terrarium can bring a fun and creative element to your plant-growing experience, and make for a thoughtful and unique gift for any occasion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you water a closed terrarium?

For closed terrariums, watering frequency should be less frequent than open terrariums. Monitor soil moisture and mist inner walls when needed. Avoid overwatering, as excess condensation can lead to mold.

Can you use garden soil for a terrarium?

Using garden soil for a terrarium is not recommended as it is too thick and can contain mold spores. Special terrarium soil alternatives, such as pumice and coconut coir, provide better drainage and reduce the risk of root rot.

What are some common pests that can affect terrariums?

Preventing pest infestations is key to maintaining a healthy terrarium. Natural remedies for pests include neem oil, insecticidal soap, and introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs. Regular monitoring and cleaning can also help avoid infestations.

How do you deal with excess condensation in a closed terrarium?

Preventing condensation in closed terrariums requires humidity control. Try opening the container for a few minutes each day to allow airflow. You can also add a layer of activated charcoal to absorb excess moisture.

Are there any specific types of plants that should not be used in an open terrarium?

Avoid using plants that require high humidity or water in an open terrarium. Opt for species that thrive in drier conditions, such as cacti or succulents. Provide optimal lighting for terrarium plants using artificial light sources.