Today’s post is going to show you how I made my own terrariums and how I’ve managed to keep them alive thus far!
I posted a picture of my little babies on Instagram once I’d finished them and got a few requests to do a blog post on them, so thank you to those who asked for it, here it is!
They’re admittedly very easy to do and you really don’t need as many components as you might think. I was so overwhelmed when I started researching how to make these on Pinterest because most tutorials said you needed some sort of activated charcoal. I personally couldn’t find this anywhere at the garden centre I went to, so I just decided not to use it and I don’t really think it made much of a difference. I’ve had them for a few months now and they’re still going strong!
So you firstly need to make sure you’ve got all the different elements to create a terrarium. The list isn’t too exhaustive I don’t think and you should hopefully find everything at your local garden centre.
- Some sort of “home” that will encase your little jungle of life! The main thing to remember is that it needs to be glass so that plenty of light will reach the plants. You can use a pot, however you will need to then ensure the cacti and succulents are potted at the top of it so they are still surrounded by sunlight. I purchased the smaller of my pentagonal jars/terrariums from a shop called Penelope Tom in Totnes and it was actually surprisingly reasonable. The larger one was bought at Wyevale (previously Endsleigh) Garden Centre. This one was not so reasonably priced (what a surprise, considering its a chain garden centre *sarcastic tone*) but the size was good to get a few different varieties of cacti and succulents inside so I went with it anyway. If you type “Pentagonal Terrarium” in on google you get so many results and they’re all such lovely pots! I feel another terrarium coming on soon.
- Some cactus soil. Luckily my dad has a green thumb, so we already had a large bag of this at home but it’s not too pricey and you can just get a small bag to cater for what you need. You must be sure to get this soil though, it’s particularly dry and provides the plants with the perfect environment for their requirements.
- Various stones and rocks. It is really nice to have a variety of sizes and colours to make your terrarium look aesthetically pleasing. However, that can become super expensive to buy lots of different bags, so you may have to be a little thrifty here. My advice is to either source them online and wait a little while longer for them, this will almost certainly be cheaper. Or do what I did and buy one bag of fish tank stones (those are the beige/neutral coloured ones that take up the majority of the terrarium) and then find a few bespoke ones around and about. I was very lucky as the garden centre had recently taken down a tank display and had a huge bag of grey/neutral stones that I knew would work well with the ones I was going to buy. So I asked really nicely and they gave me a small amount in a bag as that’s all I really needed. I was then cheeky and grabbed a few larger stones from outside the garden centre to add dimension. When you only really need a handful this is honestly the best way to do it, otherwise you’re lumbered with this huge bag of rocks that you’ll probably never use.
- Finally, you’ll need a variety of Cacti and Succulents! These can be found in the indoor plant section of most Garden centres and there’s usually a good selection. Just be careful not to buy too many and get carried away because there may not be space for them. If in doubt, take along the home you’re going to use and then you can get a good idea. The aloe plant that features in these pictures actually just came in the little white pot already done so that’s easy! I just placed it on the wooden dish because it looked pretty.
Then when you have all the elements, you’re ready to construct!
So I started with a base of the smaller beige fish tank stones. I was hoping these would be visible once everything was layered up but, with the soil being so dry, it did tend to surround itself around the stones so beware of this.
Then I made sure to put in plenty of soil for the plants. I did this using a spoon so that I could be more accurate and avoid too many spillages or grains of dirt sticking to the sides of the terrarium. Pack it down as much as you can so that it’s nice and snug in there.
Then it was time for me to take out my various plants and pot them into the terrarium. If you’ve purchased any cacti, please please please wear substantial gardening gloves because boy oh boy those buggers are prickly! I actually found a needle still in my thumb the next day! Take each plant out one by one and either break off some of the soil surrounding the root and place it into the terrarium, or make a large enough hole for the complete plant to sit in there. I wish I’d have done it this way because I think it would have given my plants more rigidity, especially the smaller one. But they seem to be healthy and thriving still, I think it just made it harder for me. Don’t be disheartened during this phase, the jars make it extremely difficult to get the plants situated where you want them and even harder to pot them correctly, surrounded by lots of soil. So just take your time and prepare for a few pricks here and there.
Once you’ve placed them all where you want them it never hurts to pack a little more soil around them so go ahead and ensure they’re well and truly in there.
Finally, it’s time to add your various stones and rocks! You can get so creative with this part and even put little object in there. Beads would also work really well I think to jazz it up. I just used all three varieties I had to spruce them up a bit.
So to maintain your terrariums, you must remember they’re used to dry conditions and so don’t need to be doused with water often. I use a spray bottle and only give them a good spritz once a week. They are indoor plants so will be well adapted to the climate and conditions. The key thing really is to just let them do their thing because they thrive on dry conditions. It really wouldn’t matter too much if you forget to water them for a few weeks.
So that’s all there is to it really! They’re pretty easy to make and even easier to maintain. Truly the perfect plants for those who struggle to keep things like this alive *raises own hand with a guilty expression*. I think they would make the perfect gift for someone too. I’d say the best place to keep them is somewhere where direct sunlight can reach them, however I think they’d look best on a coffee table so that they can be viewed from all angles. Its a shame that I can only see mine from one perspective because I don’t have room for them anywhere else.
I hope you all enjoyed this one and thank you so much for taking the time to read it!
Lots of love,
A Little Disclaimer- All products/items featured have been purchased with my own money or have been gifts from friends and family. I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned or the links to websites that have been provided. All opinions are entirely my own and honest, I am not being paid to advertise these products. All pictures on this post have been taken by yours truly and as such must be approved by the author for any further or commercial use.