5 Tips You Need To Know When Building a Terrarium

Like many right now, I’m a big fan of #jungalowstyle and filling my flat with plant babies and fresh oxygen. My latest is a beautiful calathea with pink brushstrokes on the leaves (very in-keeping with Pinterest predicting patterned leaves to be a big trend in 2018.) While my parents are great gardeners, I don’t seem to have yet inherited their green fingers. A small, centrally-heated flat is apparently not optimum conditions for actually-quite-demanding tropical plants.  I’ve been known to over-water (very bad idea) and have since invested in a plastic spray bottle to replace my mini watering can and limit the urge to flood my pots. Let’s just say, I’m still learning…

Calathea in a belly basket

Terrariums have been a big part of the botanical trend and are a great way to bring the outdoors in. After coveting various terrariums for months, this Christmas I was gifted a beautiful one from Oliver Bonas. So, naturally, it was time to give it a go. The guides and tips for building your own terrarium online seemed simple enough. Or, so I thought. As I’ve said, I’m a succulent and cacti fan who has no idea what she’s doing. So, instead of sharing the steps to follow, I’m sharing five lighthearted tips you need to know when building a terrarium, especially if you’ve also still got your L plates on at gardening school.

5 Tips for Building a Terrarium

#1 Cacti are not easy to maneuver

Duh, I hear you say. These spiky friends require gloves or a lot of kitchen roll to be moved – I’m convinced trying to position them with a tablespoon has traumatised them. Trying to pack in the soil around them and not get pricked was equally entertaining.

#2 It’s a messy job

I filled the base with pebbles and started piling on the compost. I then tried to fit my plants in through the small opening, cue their swift removal and my excavation of the compost so they’d actually fit in. My tip would be to think about the heights of your plants and where to position them inside. Don’t just go for it, trust me.

#3 Don’t cook your plants

Terrariums are effectively mini greenhouses. Sit them in direct sunlight and you risk them over-heating and your plants burning up. An open terrarium with some air flow is preferred for cacti and succulents.

#4 Remember to add a drainage layer

Forever wary of my over-watering tendencies, I took this step quite seriously. Add in plenty of pebbles or rocks to collect water at the bottom of the terrarium to give your plants a fighting chance.

#5 Mist, don’t flood

If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that cacti and succulents do not cope well with a drenching. Find yourself a misting bottle and use it, sparingly.

Tips for building a terrarium

Despite the mess, I’m pretty chuffed with my terrarium, although I’m not overly optimistic for its life expectancy. I’d love to see how yours turned out!

with love, b.xo

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