Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Let's Talk Terrariums

While cleaning and organizing in my basement recently, I found an old fish bowl/terrarium that I had picked up at a thrift store a couple years ago. I had always intended to set up a little nature scene in it, but I never found any houseplants that were small enough, so the terrarium languished, empty, on a shelf. 

succulents

Then last Saturday morning, I was making the rounds at the Lake Mills citywide rummage sale, when I happened upon a plant sale being held in someone's front yard. Among the plants there were some tiny succulents -- the perfect size for my small terrarium. The hen and chicks plant in the big pot at the top was $2. The three smaller square containers were three (pots) for $5 (and each pot had three or more plants in it). I picked up the plant that looks like peas at Wal-Mart the next day.
  
succulents

I had to buy some cactus potting mix and some small stones (I used aquarium gravel), but the rest of the supplies I already had.

succulents

I started with an inch or so of gravel at the bottom of the container for drainage.

succulents

Then I added a layer of charcoal, to filter the air and keep the soil fresh.

succulents

Bonus: the charcoal adds a pretty layered stripe to the terrarium.

succulents

On top of the charcoal: the soil. Instead of regular potting soil, I used a special blend that contains a mixture of Sphagnum moss, composted forest products, sand and perlite. It's designed to promote drainage, which is important for succulents.

succulents

I put the largest plant, the "hen" from the hen and chicks plant, in first.


I positioned it toward the back of the terrarium ...

succulents

... and then burrowed a miniature birdhouse into the soil next to it.

succulents

 Then I filled in the front with a bunch of the smaller plants.

succulents

 After I had everything planted, I spread some sheet moss across the top of the soil to make everything look pretty and green.

succulents

As a finishing touch, I added a path up to the little house with my aquarium gravel.

succulents

I took a few photos through the terrarium glass, but with all the reflection going on, it was hard to get a good shot. This was about the best I could do. It's a sweet little tableau. Now I just hope the plants grow (but not too fast that they outgrow the terrarium).

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