Today my husband called out to me from the back door, “Hey baby, you want this moss for your terrarium?” He was cleaning up the hosta beds for winter, and accidentally pulled up some moss that was living there. Of course I wanted it for my terrarium, how thoughtful of him to ask. Except that my terrarium is full. So this moss would necessitate a new terrarium. Good thing I’m always game for another jarred plant.
To make a terrarium, you need a few supplies:
- A glass container (with or without a lid, depending on the type of plants you intend to keep. Mosses like moisture, so a lid is a good idea. If you’re keeping a cactus or succulents, leave the lid off.)
- Pebbles or gravel
- Activated charcoal (I looked all over town for official gardening charcoal and couldn’t find a thing. I ended up going with the activated charcoal I use in my aquarium filter, and which can be found at any pet store. It serves the same purpose and, in my experience, it does the job just fine.
- Dry sphagnum moss
- Potting soil
- Plants (you can use nursery plants, or find some small plants out in the wild.)
Make sure your container is clean, and then layer the pebbles, charcoal, moss, and potting soil. The pebbles facilitate drainage, so your plants won’t drown, and the charcoal filters out any unpleasant odors or other impurities. The sphagnum moss keeps your soil from mingling with your pebbles. When you plant your small plants in the soil, make sure they don’t touch the sides of the container, as that could expose them to too much moisture and eventually kill them. Once you’re satisfied with your arrangement, give the whole thing a good mist with water and close it up.
My moss is a little lonely at the moment. I chose to use a larger jar than I needed so that I could add in a few other small plants in the future.
Because the terrarium is a closed system, you shouldn’t need to water it too often, but keep any eye on it all the same to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it seems like it’s too wet, leave the lid off for awhile to let some moisture evaporate. Make sure you don’t place your new terrarium in direct sunlight, or you’ll cook your plants. Indirect light is best.
This is my first terrarium. It’s got a happy little spike moss, which I found almost dried out at Home Depot, growing in it.
If you want to accessorize your new terrarium, check out these perfect tiny mushrooms (from jade flower), or this tiny porcelain house (from Shoda Designs). Need some fauna to go with your flora? I found some adorable porcelain skunks (The Kokofox Studio), miniature sheep (Flower and Pearl Studio), and tiny red birds (New Moon Studio).