What is it? A terrarium is a glass container, often in the shape of a globe, which can be used for growing ornamental plants that require a high level of humidity. With tropical plants, the containers can be sealed. It is left open for other plants.
What you need:
A sizable glass vessel is needed. It could be either a fishbowl, cloche or large jar. Choose a container that's wide enough to get your hand into easily — mine was a bit too narrow making it awkward for placing the plants. Low maintenance plants such as baby ferns, ivy, cacti, succulents generally are the plants that work best in a terrarium and you need to have pebbles, course sand, all-purpose potting mix and charcoal.
Putting it all together:
1) Large pebbles look attractive at the base of the vessel.
2) Then, for drainage purposes, put about 5 cms of gravel, sand, small pebbles.
3) Mix about 1/4cup of charcoal (pinch some from your BBQ. Otherwise it's stocked by some nurseries and pet shops). This keeps the soil fresh but is not absolutely essential.
4) A layer of moss will soak up excess water. It also looks interesting too. Again not essential.
5) Next comes about 9 to 12 cms of soil. All purpose potting mix can be used.
6) Make a hole for your plants and poke them in. Since I used a tall not very wide glass jar, this was tricky and I only had room for three plants — two ferns and one little plant with multi-coloured leaves.
￼￼Watering guide: A spray bottle is best but tiny watering can with rose attachment will do. You're aiming for dampness, not wetness. Because condensation on the inside of the glass plays a part, spraying once a week or even less should be enough for an open jar. Every 3 to 4 weeks with a closed one.
Care guide: Place near a window where it can get some sun, but not all-day sun — it is easy to roast plants living in a terrarium. Avoid putting too close to a heater for the same reason. Be punctilious about removing dead or dying leaves or the whole plant if it looks diseased — plants are at close quarters and can be easily infected.
Bay View newsletter 67, May 2016