Monday, December 8, 2014

Make Your Own Terrarium Kit to Gift

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons user Xenophon
Terrarium kits make attractive gifts and terrarium kits crop up in many catalogs and shopping websites around the holidays.  Some businesses make a tidy profit packaging a few easy-to-find supplies into a heavily marked-up terrarium kit.  If you'd like to gift a terrarium kit this holiday season, consider putting together one yourself with a few simple materials.

Make A Terrarium Kit 
Glass Container
Use your imagination! Use wine bottles, vases, tiny bottles, bowls, containers with lids- anything! Consider looking at a second-hand store rather than expensive vases or storage containers called terrariums.

Soil Mixture
Mix two parts potting mix with one part sand to ensure proper drainage.

Pebbles
Pebbles, small rocks or small pieces of glass can all be used for the rock layer in your terrarium.

Activated Charcoal
You can buy activated charcoal at any aquarium supply location.

Spaghnum Moss
The spaghnum moss serves as a filter between your soil layers and charcoal, and is optional.

Plants
See 19 terrarium plants suited to life under glass.

Tools
Bamboo skewers to maneuver plants and soil.

Decorative Items
Be sure your trinkets or statuettes will fit in the terrarium vessel.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Water an Air Plant Terrarium

Tillandsia aeranthos in collectie Eric J. Gouda
Air plants or tillandsia make an ethereal addition to an ornament terrarium or hanging terrarium, and are among the most common terrarium plants.  But how to water these spiky beauties?  Traditional air plant care indicates a periodic soak in water to allow for watering.  However, it may be difficult to remove an air plant from an ornament terrarium with a small opening.

Shari Petrucci from the Western Mass Masters Gardeners Association shares a suggestion at Mass Appeal:
"If your air-plants are in a small terrarium and you are unable to remove them for watering, we recommend misting them through the opening once weekly. This method can also be used for our hanging globe terrariums, wall pockets, and apothecary terrariums. Pay close attention that your plants are getting adequate moisture, but are not sitting in water within any terrarium."
Remember that using distilled water in terrariums can reduce the amount of mineral deposits that develop on the glass.  Be sure to visit Air Plants 101 at Mass Appeal to learn more about air plant care.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

8 Tips for Growing Succulents in Terrariums

Green succulents are more likely to survive indoors.
Succulents are one of the most popular terrarium plants, because they are easy to find and have a variety of shapes and sizes.  Succulents are frequently recognized as desert plants that prefer sandy soil, heat, and sun.  Terrariums often create humid, damp, warm environments.  How can you be sure that your succulent terrarium will thrive?  One tip is to stick to open-top or dish terrariums when planting succulents.  Dish terrariums, planted in glass dishes rather than bottles, allow soil to dry out in between watering.  Lee Mei Li shares eight tips additional tips for terrarium succulents in The Star Online.  I share tip #3 but be sure to visit the article for the rest of the ideas!
"3. Not all succulents are the same. Some may thrive indoors while others do better outdoors. Start with the greener ones as they are likely to survive better indoors."

Monday, October 20, 2014

One Problem in Healthy Terrariums: Vigorous Plant Growth

Speise Morchel Morchella esculenta
by H. Krisp
Part of the fun of terrariums is establishing a little ecosystem of your own design, but sometimes plants make their own monstrous way!  One issue you may encounter in your healthy terrarium is plants outgrowing your terrarium container.  Vigorous plants may require pruning of leaves or stems, and enthusiastic spreading plants may require removal of pup plants.  Also be sure to remove dead leaves, fronds or plants, as they may contribute to rot in your terrarium.

Georgeanne Davis of The Free Press Online shares a funny story about an enthusiastic fungus, as well as some good tips for harvesting terrarium plants:
"In the very first terrarium we ever made we included a tiny morel mushroom. The next day, it had grown alarmingly out of scale in our miniature landscape, and on the morning of its third day in captivity we awoke to find the morel pushing up the lid of its apothecary jar, a fungal Frankenstein."   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lead Head Glass: Recycled Window Glass Terrariums Catch the Eye of Martha Stewart

Lead Head Glass, a Detroit-based terrarium builder, has caught the eye of Martha Stewart as a top American Made craft outfit.  Chad Ackley and Derek Smiertka re-purpose window glass from deconstructed homes into terrariums.  According to the Lead Head Glass FAQ page, window glass (the kind coming out of homes or businesses) has a different composition than bottle glass, which prevents the two types of glass from being recycled together.  Recycling bottles is easy, recycling window glass: not so much.

Honeycomb House Terrarium
by Lead Head Glass
Lead Head Glass designs a mean terrarium, enough to outshine the eco-friendly sourcing of materials.  In addition to the stacked box design typical to many paned terrariums,  Lead Head Glass terrariums include barrel shaped roofs (Honeycomb House, pictured) and spire-topped gazebos. These stylish pieces were enough to catch the attention of the Martha Stewart Company, as Lead Head Glass is a finalist in this year's Martha Stewart American Made contest, an annual quest to find the best local artisans and entrepreneurs making handmade goods across the country.  Winners will be announced on October 17th so snap up a Lead Head Glass terrarium before they blow up!