Monday, March 14, 2011


     Well...if you've gotten the latest Pottery Barn catalog you know that terrariums are all the rage this spring.  I actually made a few this past weekend and I am REALLY impressed with the results!  Terrariums are easy to make...and FUN!  (This is a good spring project for those anxious to get outside and start digging in the dirt!)

I've been on the prowl for information about terrariums...looking for cool little factoids and what to include in a children's piece I am working on...but there are also tons of great YouTube videos as well!   Pretty much everything I've read led me to make the following supply list...

1.  potting soil
2.  ground charcoal (I'll explain this in a bit.)
3.  gravel or small rocks
4.  clear glass containers with or without lids
5.  plants with the same growing requirements
6.  decorative elements (optional)

(Total side note...looking at these photos just solidifies my decision to repaint my laundry room this summer...a soft cool blue maybe?  I don't like the red anymore...AT ALL!)

I have these FABU glass containers I bought a few years ago at the local Home Goods.  They've traveled all over my house and been home to glass ornaments, pine cones, and fake lemons.  They are so versatile... I had to have them...and...they make PERFECT terrariums!!   I decided to make terrariums in all 3 so I could spread them out around the house and add a bit of green in anticipation of spring!

I headed to Home Depot thinking I'd be able to purchase everything on my list.  Here is where it got tricky.  I found potting soil (obviously) and some great succulents but I couldn't find the charcoal (and I knew I could find stones cheaper!)   While doing research I found out that charcoal is an important ingredient because it helps keep your terrarium mold-free.  I know I can use all the help I can get when it comes to growing anything so I brought my succulents home and checked online as to where I would find charcoal.  (Here is where I give BIG kudos to my WONDERFUL husband because he told me I should go to the pet store.)  I headed to Pet Co and purchased the last 2 items on my list...charcoal ($10.99)  and gravel ($3.99 a bag)  which I found in the aquarium section.

The first step for me was to rinse out my jars and dry them well.  I made sure not to use any chemicals to clean out the jars for fear this may hurt the plants.  Next, I put about one inch of gravel in the bottom of each jar for drainage.


Then sprinkle about 1/2 an inch of charcoal over the gravel...



After the charcoal goes the potting soil.  These three items should take up about 1/3 of your glass container.

Finally...the FUN part...the plants!  When selecting my plants I tried to pick a variety of color and again, pick plants with similar growing requirements.  Before you place each plant in your terrarium you want to gently shake off excess soil and loosen the root ball a bit.

Finally...I chose to use a squirt bottle to water my plants.  You never want to over water a terrarium.  A spritz with a bit of water should do the trick...and then the cover...and I was DONE!

These beauties now live in my family room ...and I LOVE how they turned out.  I made another one with a skinny, taller glass container but I had to add one more plant to that one so back to Home Depot for another plant.  The third terrarium is on a table at the top of my stairs and it looks so cute!  

As far as my research about children's terrariums I learned that kids can make them in glass jars that can be recycled like pasta jars.  I also read that some terrariums can house small pets.   This was a fun project and one that I intend to repeat with my kids.  I think the kids will most likely want to add decorative elements like favorite stones or mini figures.  

One last bit of important info...when your terrarium plants start to grow bigger, they can be split and replanted.  You don't want the plants to completely take over all the space in the should look like a tiny habitat!  

I am linking up here...




Barb@curlywillowdiy said...

I love these little terrariums. I made a bunch for Christmas gifts last year. I'm visiting from the linky parties and I'm also you newest follower. Would love you to visit and follow if you'd like!

Sara said...

so cutie, cuz! Love them! you are so inspiring!

Yvonne@StyleBurb said...

They look fantastic...great instructions...I didn't know how important charcoal was! I really like all the layers and the plants you chose. I like your idea to paint your laundry room. I'm a big fan of red, but, I think blue would be very nice! I'm your newest follower.