Make Your Own Terrarium

Highlight: FREE WORKSHOP by Azusa Farm and Gardens (See end of post for event details)

One of our favorite things to do is hang out in the garden, enjoy some fresh air. Before we had a yard of our own, we used to make little terrariums like this. It was introduced to us by a very good friend when we were in California. Now that we have a yard of our own, the girl still loves to make her own terrarium. Just because it’s so fun to make a special home for the plants, as she calls it. So, let’s see, what you may need for this fun project:

– clear glass open-top container

– medium-large sized pebbles

– charcoal (optional)

– sand (optional)

– potting soil

– small plants (I chose succulents)

– small decorations of any kind

1. Technically you can make a terrarium using any clear glass open-top container such as a vase, a pasta jar, a fish bowl, etc. But I like to choose one that is on the short side so I do not need too much soil. And definitely one with a wide mouth so that it can be easily decorated with plants and decorations. I got these circular vases from the dollar store. It’s not too big and won’t get too heavy for little kids to carry around. While it may not hold as many plants as you like, it’s just perfect (price wise too!) for my kids.

2. Next we are going to fill the containers with layers of things. Depending on how tall your container is, the height of the layers may be different. Generally, each layer should be 1/5 of the height of the container.

3. Fill the bottom of the container with a layer of small rocks. This first layer collect the water drainage.

4. Add a layer of charcoal if you like. It filters the water going up to the plants and makes the plants healthier.

5. Add a layer of sand if you like. This prevent the smaller size soil to seep through the charcoal into the rocks.

6. If you are on a budget (like me), you may omit steps 4 and 5. Then you may want to make the rock layer about 1/3 of the height of the container.

7. Add a layer of potting soil. You can use all-purpose soil or one specially for succulents. This layer should be deep enough for the plants to root in, about 2.5 inches deep.

8. Make a hole in the soil big enough for the roots of the plant of your choice. Nestle the plant nicely inside the hole, adding more soil as needed to hold the plant in place and upright.

9. If you have a big container, you may want to start with the largest plants at the back of the container and work it forward with the smaller plants. The ones we use today are rather small, so we did one or two plants by the side of the container.

10. Once you have the plants the way you want it, add a layer of colored sand around the plants. Finish with some cute little animals or dinosaurs or anything you or your kids like.

Tip: Succulents like direct sunlight every day. Lightly water the terrarium every two weeks or once the soil dries out. They can thrive on very little water.
As you can see, terrariums are really easy to make and supposedly easy to take care of because they are supposed to be self-contained environment for plant growth. The one we did here is an open terrarium. The other type is a closed terrarium.

A closed terrarium, in my own opinion, is harder to maintain because you need to be more precise about the types of plants and ensure that there is enough heat and light entering the terrarium for it to create a small scale water cycle within the container. Plus, I often imagine it will grow green mossy inside the glass. Then again, I have never done a closed terrarium before and I must say there are many lovely and impressive pictures of closed terrarium on the internet, so maybe if you try one, yours would be one of them.

I hope you get to try making a terrarium one day. These are some of the kids’ creations:

If you are living in the northwest, you might be interested to know that Azusa Farm and Gardens is having a Mothers’ Day event on site. Participants will be able to bring home a succulent terrarium  garden of their own. The farm will provide free potting soil and decorating rocks. Terrariums, planters and succulents available for purchase at Azusa. Participants are welcome to bring their own terrariums or containers to the event. It is a free workshop occurring on May 6th, 2017 from 10am to 4pm. Workshop is free but registration is required.

XOXO, Grace

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