Sunday, May 6, 2012

DIY Project: Discovering Terrariums

If you’re short on garden space but still have the urge to foster some sort of plant life, consider creating a terrarium. A terrarium is a small, low-maintenance garden in a jar. They’re easy to make, and after they’ve been established, you barely have to take care of it; just watch it grow. The best part about a terrarium is that it can thrive anywhere as long as there’s sunlight, so you could even live in a wide open community like Vale and still enjoy a terrarium.

What you’ll need
To make a terrarium, all you’ll need is a clear, lidded jar, some small stones or pebbles, charcoal, potting mix, moss, some decorations, and a spray mist bottle. Most of these materials can be found around the home, in the yard, or in a park. You could also pick these items up from a nursery, if foraging isn’t your thing.

The process
Start by putting a layer of small stones in the bottom of your jar. This will provide a base for your terrarium, and also help with draining any excess moisture from the plants. The layer of rocks should be roughly two centimetres high, and you should use a mixture of big and small rocks to ensure good drainage.

Next, add a layer of charcoal combined with potting soil to the jar. The charcoal is to prevent the soil from going sour. It’s best to use good-quality potting soil that has been sterilised, because homemade, unsterilised mixtures often contain fungi and algae, which could spoil the terrarium.

Add the moss or other plants of your choice to the jar. Most plants are ideal for terrariums, but it’s best to choose moisture-loving houseplants. If you plan on putting more than one type of plant in your terrarium, make sure they have similar light, temperature and water requirements for better results. Moss is easy to take care of, and only requires a few sprays from your mist bottle every 2-3 weeks. They don’t need much water, as plants tend to recycle moisture.

Extra tips
You can decorate your terrarium with small figurines or other pretty things, depending on the size of your jar. Make sure you keep your terrarium close to indirect sunlight, and rotate it every so often, so that all sides get the same exposure. The soil should be moist at all times, so if it looks or feels a little dry, just give it a spray with the mister. Other than that, sit back and enjoy your terrarium!

Sarah Paige is an interior design and DIY enthusiast who loves decorating her Vale home with her latest projects and creations.

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