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How to Make a Terrarium

Monday, October 17th, 2011

In honor of our current contest “That’s So Potted…Terrariums,” Potted teamed up with Yelp for a fun, free event that taught Yelpers how to make a terrarium. See what fun they had and look for terrarium instructions at the end.

Anna helping to place plants for an attendee.

Goodies to decorate your terrarium.

Even Katie from Yelp got in on the action.

A lovely fishbowl terrarium.

But even if you couldn’t attend the event, we’re sharing the instructions here so you too can get busy making your own terrarium to enter the contest.

How to Make a Terrarium:

• Select a glass vessel. Different shapes and sizes lend themselves to different creative expression. Tall and thin is great for one striking tall plant; wide and squat is better for more of a diorama utilizing several plants and some “bling” (little decorative objects.) You can also choose a vessel with a lid or not. Using a lid limits your plant choices to ones that prefer a moist, humid environment but has the benefit of being more self-sufficient in that you don’t have to water a closed container very frequently. Make sure your vessel is clean and dry.

• Plant your terrarium. Here are the basic steps:
1. Put in a drainage layer of ½” to 1” of pebbles or lava rock (Note: this can be much deeper for creative effect or if you are trying to fill a very deep container.)
2. Lay in a thin layer of charcoal granules to prevent odors from developing. Charcoal can be found at home centers or pet stores.
3. Optional: put down a layer of Sphagnum Moss to keep soil from seeping into drainage layer.
4. Add potting soil deep enough for plants you are planning to use (ie, if you are using 2” plants, use 2”s or a tad more of potting soil)
5. Place plants as aesthetically desired in soil.
6. Top dress the soil with either live or dried moss or rocks or glass. Try colored sand (available from craft stores). Add “bling” for decoration. This can be anything—old keys, plastic toys, sea shells—you can have a lot of fun here but remember; organic “bling” can decompose and rot in the terrarium so if you see this happening, get it out immediately.

• Care for your terrarium. The terrarium can literally cook if placed in direct sunlight. Depending on what plants you’ve chosen, place your terrarium in the appropriate light and water sparingly. Closed terrariums will need less watering. A moisture meter is a very good tool to help you know if you need to water or not. Succulents and cactus, which don’t particularly like terrariums, will need even less water and a little more light and never put them in a closed container.

Clearly making terrariums will make you happy.

All the contest info is here. You could be winning a Circle Pot next week and have a chance to win a $500 shopping spree at Potted just in time for Christmas.


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