Monday, October 15, 2012

Arcadia DIY: Terrariums

On grey, dreary days (like today!) I find it more important than ever to make sure I'm surrounded by lots of colorful, beautiful things. Inside Arcadia that's not hard to find, but at home--I found the perfect way to add a little more green, and it's easy! 

Terrariums are fantastic as you can set them up to pretty much take care of themselves! Just choose the right plant for the right conditions, and you're good to go!

What You Will Need
    • A glass container or other clear vessel with a large enough opening for placing plants inside
    • Small stones for drainage (gravel, pebbles, broken pottery, or river rocks work well)
    • Crushed charcoal
    • Sand (different varieties optional)
    • Soil
    • Plants
    • Fun landscaping accessories!
    • A funnel and chopsticks (helpful tools for incorporating and maneuvering the different elements into containers with small openings)
Before You Begin
    • Whether you choose to have an opened or closed terrarium, keep in mind that all plants should have the same environmental needs (i.e. succulents vs. cacti). If you want to grow sun-loving plants, an open container will work just fine. Plants that thrive in high levels of humidity should be placed in a closed container.
    • Be sure you have selected soil appropriate to your desired plants.
    • Choose slow-growing plants as to avoid overcrowding.
  1. Clean container thoroughly to prevent bacteria from growing.
  2. Begin by placing drainage at the bottom of the container.
  3. Add a thin layer of crushed charcoal to help keep the soil fresh.
  4. Incorporate different kinds of sand on top of the charcoal for a layered effect.
  5. Add soil, making sure to create a hole large enough for the roots of each plant. Remember that creating uneven layers of sand and soil can look great, but pay close attention to the levels around the edges, as this is what you will see from outside the terrarium. Note: Steps 2 thru 4 should equal about one-third the height of your selected container.
  6. Place plants into the soil, largest to smallest and lightly pack the soil. Do not over plant. Consider the negative space for other landscaping opportunities like dried flowers, groundcover, moss, geodes and/or small figurines.
  7. Landscape! You are the designer.

    • Water 1-2 times per week, watering only the live plants and avoiding mosses and dried flowers. For an open terrarium, the soil should always remain barely moist, never bone dry.
    • Closed terrariums should almost never need watering.
    • Prune back dead foliage or overgrown plants as needed to prevent rotting.
    • Terrariums thrive in natural, indirect light. Avoid placing in direct sunlight or other hot areas as you can actually cook the plants or burn foliate that is touching the edges of the vessel.
    • Mist your terrarium daily to provide ample humidity. 
Plant Recommendations
    • Low-light terrariums: Ferns, mosses, baby's tears, fittonia peperomia, sanseveria, schefflera
    •High-light terrariums (open containers): Cacti, succulents including jade, aloe, borro's tail, earth stars, echeveria, haworthia, sedum
     Have fun!

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