Not-So-Typical Terrariums at BG SoHo

August 07, 2018 1 Comment

Not-So-Typical Terrariums at BG SoHo

The best thing about them is how easy they are to make – and once you know how, you create miniature gardens inside your home, which require little care and can still add the beauty cut flowers, yet instead of lasting 7 days, live several months.

Terrariums came of age with the Victorians and are enjoying a newfound resurgence, fueled in part by their affordability and the continued interest in all things gardening. Keep in mind, A lot of terrariums can be done with succulents and cacti, however may not be the easiest to tend to. Below I have also included my Top-8 Terrarium Plant Must-Have List.

This Monday I had the opportunity to teach a terrarium workshop at Ben's Garden, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. Not only was it a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon, I also learned a lot about these sweet little plants and how to keep them healthy. And of course, I documented the whole thing, so I could share the tutorial here for you.

Your Shopping List:

1. Your terrarium of choice. A completely enclosed terrarium requires little or no watering. If it is an open terrarium, you may have to water once a week or on a monthly basis. Enclosed terrariums are best for plants that require a moist environment – they keep the water in, and you’ll typically see condensation on the inside of the glass. I used a round glass vase that has a large opening, because I made a terrarium that is drier and doesn’t need much water.

2. Your plants of choice. There is a whole section of terrarium plants that you can pick and choose from – but you must stick with using either succulents or moisture-loving plants – you should not mix the two, because they require different environments (succulents can live in a dry environment).

(Left) A favorite of indoor gardeners, our assortment of ferns brings a world of natural color and texture to your terrariums and dish gardens. Among the easiest flora to plant, these ferns flourish in the humid climates most terrariums provide.

(Right) A favorite of indoor gardeners, our assortment of tiny tropical brings a world of natural color and texture to your terrariums and dish gardens. Among the easiest flora to plant, this foliage flourishes in the humid climates most terrariums provide. 

3. Planting materials: Simply rocks, charcoal and soil.

Now Let's Get Started...

STEP 1: Add your base layer – this can be rocks, gravel, pebbles or course sand. This layer is for drainage, and depending on the size of your container, you will want to spread at least 1” of drainage material evenly across the entire bottom of your terrarium. On top of the drainage layer, add a thin layer of activated charcoal (aquarium filter charcoal). This layer will help clean the air of the fumes caused when the organic materials begin to decompose.

STEP 2: Add soil – all-purpose houseplant potting soil is fine. You can play around with this layer to add depth and contour to your landscape with different levels of soil. Make sure you have enough soil that when you put in your plants their roots are fully surrounded by soil and not extending to the charcoal/gravel layer.

STEP 3: Now you can add your plants! Think about how you want to arrange them first, and then dig little holes in the soil to place them. Pack in the soil tightly around them.

A larger terrarium like the one's above allow for more room to play around with plants! 

Ben's Top-8 Must-Have Terrarium Plants

1. Name: Pilea involucrata 'Moon Valley.' Grows to 12 inches tall and wide. The fast-grower tolerates low light and at its maximum reaches 12 inches tall and wide; it may surprise with delicate pink flowers, too. This plant is a perfect size to enclose in virtually any glass container that's fit for a terrarium, such as cloches or jars.

2. Name: Arachnoides simplicior 'Variegata.' Grows to 16 inches tall and wide. Variegated spider fern seems to glow in a terrarium, thanks to the shine of its glossy leaves. A broad yellow center band on each leaf supplies visual interest for the easy-growing fern, which tolerates low light and enjoys the moist potting mix and high humidity found inside a terrarium. 

3. Name: Cryptanthus bivittatus, grows to 6 inches tall and wide. Called the starfish plant, this is a member of the bromeliad family. The leaf colors of starfish plant change with the intensity of light, and its slow-growing nature -- it reaches only about 6 inches at maturity -- makes it well-suited for a terrarium.

4. Name: Tillandsia stricta. Grows to 8 inches tall and wide. Stunning, funnellike blue, purple, or pink flowers top its slender, pale green leaves, making the plant a natural terrarium choice for both color and texture. 

5. Name: Selaginella kraussiana 'Aurea." Grows to 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide. Even though golden clubmoss, stays compact in height- just up to 6 inches- it likes to spread, so keep it neatly trimmed.

6. Name: Saxifraga stolonifera, grows to 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide. It's lovely burgundy-red vertical stalks and flowers lend Saxifraga stoloniferathe nickname strawberry begonia. While the plant rapidly matures, it only reaches a height of 8 inches. Even when the wispy flowers aren't in bloom, the heart-shape foliage offers a two-tone pattern of green and deep red.

7. Name: Asplenium bulbiferum, grows to 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The diffused light inside a terrarium is perfect for this plant, also known as mother fern, as well as shade lovers including Fittonia, creeping fig, dwarf coleus, and dwarf orchids.

8. Name: Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens," grows to 15 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Black mondo grass, familiar to Northern gardeners, sends up shoots of strappy leaves that turn from green to black, with delicate flowers appearing in spring. At maturity it reaches 15 inches tall so it works best for larger terrarium containers.

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1 Response

Marie Guest
Marie Guest

September 01, 2018

Great post.

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