Sunday, 4 March 2018


I have always dreamed of owning a big beautiful open-top terrarium, but unfortunately, two adorable curious kitties in the house doesn't necessarily lend itself well to such an idea. As you can see above, Junie took it upon herself to lend me a hand while I was building this one. It didn't end well.

When we went to Virginia last autumn, I came across this big beautiful terrarium made of hand-blown glass and a mango wood base at Target. I'm not crazy about the really geometric-style terrariums, so when I came across this one, with it's timeless shape and natural wood material, I couldn't pass it up. I bought it on the spot with so many good intentions.

I actually bought it with the intention of giving it as a gift. But as time slipped away, it continued to get buried deeper and deeper in my storage cupboard. Yesterday I did a massive clean sweep of my house, came across it, and felt it was finally time to bring it to life. Since I pulled it together with only a quick trip to Home Depot and a few minutes this afternoon, I figured I would share how you can easily make your own.

Step One - Choose your materials.

I obviously already had my terrarium on hand, but if you don't, there are so many different options you can use. You can recycle an old vase or bowl, find a unique treasure at a thrift shop, or buy one of many specifically-made terrariums from home decor and craft stores. There are so many different shapes and sizes, so look for one that fits with your style and space restrictions.

Other than a terrarium, you will also need some stones (I had mine on hand but I originally got them from the dollar store). When choosing stones, be sure to consider how they look stylistically. Do they compliment your terrarium? You can find them in white, natural mixed, or colours.

You will also need some planting soil and some plants. When choosing plants, try to use all the same type (either succulents or cacti) but mix and match the style of each for a nice sense of variety. I like to do some taller and some lower, some pointy and some softer, and some larger and some smaller. Estimate how many you will need based on the size of your terrarium. My terrarium was fairly large and I used 5-6 succulents. Once again, you will have to just estimate what will fit well based on the size of your terrarium and the size of the plants available to you.

Step Two - Layer stones and soil.

You will want to first lay down a layer of the stones in the bottom of your terrarium. This will help with drainage, but also add a nice decorative element. Add enough so that you can see them as a distinct layer, but not so many that they take up a lot of the height of your terrarium. Keep aside a few unique looking stones to add to the top at the end. Next layer on the soil in a 2" to 3" layer. There will need to be enough soil for the plants to root, but also consider that more soil and height will be added when you add in the plants so don't go overboard.

Step Three - Add the plants.

Separate your plants from the soil they are potted in, discarding any extra soil that is clumped between the roots. Arrange your plants in the terrarium to measure spacing and the overall layout. Once you are satisfied with how everything will fit, starting with your largest plant, dig a small hole and bury the roots within it. Pull up soil and lightly pack it around the plant to secure it in place. Repeat with the other plants and be sure to add some additional soil if you need more to support the plants. 

Step Four - Finishing touches.

Add a few of the stones your set aside earlier to the top of the soil, spacing them and arranging them amongst the plants as decorative elements. Using a spray bottle, spritz each plant with some water.

That's it! Display your terrarium somewhere that gets a lot of sunlight but is out of reach of little hands and paws. Also, be sure to spritz the plants with water every now and then. You now have a simple, beautiful way to bring the outdoors in that requires minimal effort and minimal care. Or better yet, create one as a gift for a housewarming party or wedding shower. They can be so unique and special. 

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