Gardens Under Glass
Build a Terrarium to Bring The Outdoors In, Without the Pollen Allergies
What do you do if you have a green thumb and a red nose from plant allergies? Try making a terrarium. They’re easy to maintain, require little maintenance and, best of all, they provide beautiful greenery indoors through the colder months.
Terrariums fall into two general categories:
1. Open: can tolerate some direct sunlight. However, too much sun may burn leaves that are in direct contact with the sides of the container.
2. Closed: A closed terrarium can also be an open terrarium to which a cover has been added. Closed terrariums should be placed where they will receive bright light, but no direct sunlight. If placed in direct sunlight, the temperature inside the container rises considerably and literally cooks the plants.
Pick Your Plants
Finding the right plants for your terrarium takes a bit of planning. Make sure you pick plants that all thrive in the same environment. Slow growing plants work best. A ground cover will complete the picture.
Select a Container
Choosing the right container for your closed terrarium can be great fun. Use an old glass vase or go thrift shopping for some charming and relatively inexpensive options. There are some basic requirements to keep in mind; a terrarium must be made of glass or some material that lets light. If you have light loving plants, pick an open container. If you have plants that like a more humid environment, choose something with a lid. Makes sure you clean the container thoroughly to prevent contamination and mold from growing.
A terrarium does not have drainage hole so you’ll need to create a drainage layer to prevent damage to the plant roots. Use river gravel, stones or broken pottery to form a layer that is 1 to 4 inches, depending upon the size of your container. Then add a thin coating of charcoal on top to help keep the soil fresh.
Try to use plenty of soil that is rich in nutrients. It should be deep enough to dig a hole that easily fits a plant’s root ball. Plant in order of largest to smallest, with ground cover being last. Add cute figurines or decorations for some personality.
Live Long and Prosper
Terrariums typically require little to no maintenance but there are a few things to be aware of.
Heat – A terrarium traps heat. Make sure you don’t put yours on a radiator or in direct sunlight.
Light – Diffused or filtered light works best. Keep an eye on your plants. If the leaves are developing burn spots, they’re getting too much direct sunlight. If their stems are thin and no longer supporting leaves, you should move your terrarium into a brighter room.
If you suffer from allergies, choose hypoallergenic plants with bright flowers for your terrarium or garden – they’ll have the biggest visual impact and they also have low allergy ratings.