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Friday, April 17, 2009

How to Make a Terrarium: Adding Plants



Adding Plants to your Terrarium

You may want to consider putting your plants on "quarantine" for a while before you plant them in a terrarium.  This observation period allows you to see if the plant might manifest any pests or mold.  For more information on how and why to quarantine plants see the post here.

Try to plant your largest plants first by digging a small hole with the bamboo skewer or spoon if you can reach. Plant the largest plant and add more soil if necessary and then work your way down in size. 

Have a plant with a big messy rootball?  Try gently "coning" the roots by rolling them in a piece of paper.  This should form the roots and soil into a narrower shape.

Remember: you can always add more plants to a healthy terrarium later but it is hard to remove them without making a mess and disrupting other plants.

Once you have added plants into the terrarium you'll want to mist down the soil with water (distilled is best).  Soil will need to remain damp throughout the life of your terrarium to support your plant growth.



Also think about creating a terrain for your terrarium. You can build little hills or cliffs by piling up the dirt. At the very end you can add decorative elements and I like to put some rocks and bark to create a natural look. Give it a good spritz of distilled water and if it is an open top I like to put some cloth on top to keep out gnats, dust etc. Place it in filtered light and you are good to go!

Previous post: How to Make a Terrarium: Adding Soil Layers

12 comments:

  1. Great information, I like that little mushroom.

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  2. I found a website that makes acrylic domes, I made a large terrarium in a nice large but shallow bowl with little jars inside and so on,
    but I wanted to cover the top of it and make it look like a terrarium. The real glass domes is way to expensive for my beer budget, but the acrylics costs about $39.00 for an 18" diameter, how cool is that?
    Cleardomes.com is the site.

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    Replies
    1. Oh you "found" it? Sounds like an advertisement to me.

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  3. That's a great site Cathy. One of the artists in my building had those exact domes over some of his small sculptures and I kept thinking they would be great somehow for terrariums. Too bad $39 is still out of my hobby-ing price range. I normally just buy $4 sheets of plexi-plastic or whatever it is at the hardware store to cover my large open-top terrariums.

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  4. Thanks for these tips...this site gave me the confidence to try and build my own today...I did two...I'm hoping that they stay alive...keep up the good job.....
    Regards,
    Gigi, Trinidad & Tobago

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Gigi! I wish you all the best of luck with your terrariums. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

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  5. Does distilled water have significant advantages over boiled and cooled water?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carina, thanks for your great question. Using distilled water in your terrarium reduces the accumulation of mineral build-up in your environment. If you choose to water your terrarium with tap water or boiled tap water, you may see a crust of mineral deposit form in your soil or on the walls of your terrarium vessel over time.

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  6. Very nice blog and post! Thank you.

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  7. How important is the activated charcoal layer? And where is a good place to get it? It looks like it is also a supplement at vitamin/health stores, so I am not sure how expensive it should be and how it should look.

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    1. I find the charcoal to be very helpful in allowing a terrarium to last beyond a few weeks. It is easy to find activated charcoal in the aquarium section of pet stores or pet supply websites. There is a good photo of a activated charcoal from petco in this post: http://www.thefernandmossery.com/2013/02/dont-make-this-activated-charcoal.html

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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