how to make a terrarium

terrariumMoss isn’t something you see too often in Texas. Even in Houston’s swampy climate, the heat is usually too overbearing for such a delicate plant. So, I decided it was a good idea to harvest some for a terrarium while I’ve still got it in my own backyard.

terrarium suppliesYou don’t need much to make a terrarium, and most of what you need you can get for cheap or free. I thrifted an old yankee candle jar with a tight-fitting lid, and added these things:

Layer 1: Gravel or small rocks– This allows excess water to drain out of the soil and prevents your moss from becoming too saturated.

Layer 2 (optional) Smaller rocks/sand– This isn’t necessary for terrarium health, but it adds a nice contrasting layer, and I happened to have some handy.

Layer 3: Activated charcoal– This is a crucial ingredient for long-term terrarium life. It’s the same thing inside the filter of your brita pitcher, and it helps remove waste and contaminants from the water inside your terrarium. You can find it in the fish tank sections of pet stores.

Layer 4: Soil– Just a little something for your moss to hold on to.

Layer 5: Moss and small plants– I found my moss and a small fern next to the side of my house. If you want to keep your terrarium growing for a while, it’s best to select plants that don’t get too big.

Layer 6: Terrariums are definitely more awesome when they have a resident. I put in a plastic dinosaur and a rock for him to hang out next to. Be sure to choose accent items that can handle a wet environment– both plastic and ceramic things work well.

In case you need a visual:

Terrariums are super easy to care for. After you make it, add a little water– just enough that you can see that the rocks on the bottom of your jar are wet. Put it in a sunny window and check it once a month or so to see if it needs more water. They’re super low-maintenance and are perfect for people that don’t have the greenest thumbs. I put one together four years ago, and it’s still going on strong.

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