Terrariums were first developed by a happy accident. In 1842, botanist Nathaniel Ward was observing insect behavior when he mistakenly left the lid off of a jar. A tiny fern spore germinated in his jar and created the first terrarium, which also came to be known as a Wardian case. There are two types of terrarias classification, closed and open.
A completely closed terrarium will develop its own water cycle system via condensation. This mini greenhouse will stay moist and is best suited for tropicals, ferns, moss, and moisture- loving plants. A clear glass container will allow heat and light to enter so plants can photosynthesize, a very important aspect of plant growth. Once set up properly, closed terrariums require little care at all!
An open terrarium will work for any plants you choose, although ferns and tropicals will need to be maintained with regular watering and misting. The open concept is better suited for arid plants such as succulents and cactus who prefer a dry environment.
Terrariums are easily customized and limited only by your imagination. Almost any container will work, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider where your terrarium will live. A sunny window sill is ideal for an open succulent garden, while a location with filtered light and no direct sun is better suited for a closed.
Here is our technique for constructing the layers of a terrarium:
- Layer one: Drainage – Pebbles or stones and charcoal provide drainage and water filtration.
- Layer two: Filtration – Use sheet or sphagnum moss to create a barrier between rocks and soil layer.
- Layer three: Soil – Use soil appropriate to your terrarium type, but it should be a sterile medium containing NO fertilizer.
- Layer Four: Plants, decorative stones, figures, etc. – whatever looks good to you.
Keeping scale in mind will help your creation look balanced.
At Fifth Season Gardening, we have so many DIY projects available, but during the holidays, nothing brings families together more than something we can all work on simultaneously. The magical world of miniature gardens!
Happy Holidays from our Family to Yours!!