With the rain and cold that are inevitable through the winter months in the Willamette Valley, think about bringing a bit of the outdoors inside. A fun way to do this is by planting a terrarium. These miniature container gardens look like they require a lot of care. However, don’t be fooled! Once they are planted, a bit of sunlight, trimming and an occasional watering is usually all they require. Depending on the plants you choose, you may only need to water ever month or so!
The materials you need to create a terrarium are simple; a glass container, drain rock, fiberglass screen, potting soil, plants, moss and maybe a pair of tongs. The container can be any shape or size and be covered or uncovered. If your container has a lid the environment inside will be more humid and require less watering making it even easier to maintain!
Once you have selected a container, cover the bottom with small drain rock such as pea gravel. Make sure that the gravel is thicker around the perimeter of the container, roughly 2 inches, and thinner in the center, about 1 inch. This will allow for more soil in the center of the container for plant roots. Next, cut a piece of fiberglass screen the same size as the container and lay it over the top of the gravel. This will help to prevent the soil from falling down into the gravel. Place 2”-3” of moist potting soil, Lane Potting mix works perfectly in this application, can be placed in the container on top of the screen.
Your terrarium is now ready for planting. Terrarium plants can be found at most garden centers as small, potted indoor plants. Select plants that are best for your indoor environment. What type of sunlight will your terrarium get? Does your container have a lid? How much time and effort do you have to dedicate to your indoor “garden”? Remember if you have a lid on the terrarium the environment inside will be more humid and you will need plants that can handle the extra moisture.
Remove the plants from their pots, loosen the soil, trim any long roots and place in the terrarium. When planting it helps to start by placing the largest plant first, then do the surrounding plants. If needed, use a pair of tongs to position the plants. Cover the roots with potting mix, then moist pieces of moss which will help to hold moisture in the terrarium. It is not needed on arid plants, such as cactus or succulents. The final step is watering…. It doesn’t take much! Keep the water level below the drain rock in the center of the container.
The completed terrarium is ready to place in your home or office. Enjoy! Terrariums can make a unique center piece for your table or be a fun gift to share with friends and family; with the minimal care that they require they are also a good option for those of us lacking a green thumb!