Seed Swaps

Terrarium Preparation Techniques

15 Apr 2011
Rainy 26°C / 79°F

I’ve been expanding my gardens on a micro-scale lately, running short on space as I am. I built two terrariums, my first ever, and I’m excited to see how they do. One is open with woodland plants, and the other is a taller closed terrarium with transplanted bog plants (so I can enjoy some of them up close inside). Details of assembly follow.

I placed a 1" layer of round river stones on the bottom for drainage, and then layered a 1/2" level of rinsed horticultural charcoal. Most sites seem to recommend a layer of sphagnum moss over the charcoal to prevent the growing medium from dropping in to the drainage layer, but my medium is fairly “sticky” and doesn’t appear to need this, so I skipped this step.

I made the medium according to recommendations found throughout terrarium hobbyists on the internet: 1 part fine peat, 1 part fine charcoal, 1-2 parts milled sphagnum, 2 parts fine tree fiber, 2 parts fine orchid/fir bark. I mixed it and then wet it thoroughly, drained it, and rinsed it a second time before squeezing out the excess moisture. Once the plants were in, I layered in some mosses and other found woodland debris.

Photos: Woodland terrarium x2, bog plants




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