A Miniature World
By Heather Winkel & Kristina Hopkins
Photography by Dev Hanumara
Terrariums come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. They bring a snippet of the outdoors in and allow you to create a whole new world right inside your home.
Escape to a faraway desert with unfamiliar succulents and colored sand. Relax on a beach and search for seashells or explore a rain forest with feathery plants and moss.
These modern gardens don't require the greenest thumb. In fact, some terrariums require hardly any maintenance.
A little planning can go a long way in creating the perfect terrarium. Start by picking a vessel (you can't go wrong with a clear, watertight container) and plants. Open terrariums are best for dry plants such as succulents and cacti, while containers and planters with covers, lids or doors create an ideal ecosystem for ferns, mosses and tropical plants.
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What you'll need:
Vessel (not shown)
1. Gather supplies
2. Make a base. About an inch of rock or pebbles helps with drainage.
3. Keep things fresh. Add a thin layer of charcoal.
4. Create a home. Cover charcoal with potting soil.
5. Plant time. Create divots with a wooden wedge. Use tongs to place your plants in the potting soil; mist lightly. Don't overcrowd – give plants room to grow.
6. Top it off. Cover soil with sand (use moss for wet soil terrariums). Use brush to dust extra sand from leaves. Top off your creation with decorative elements such as shells and pebbles.
7. Take care. Place dry plant terrariums in bright, indirect sunlight. Give about 1/8 cup of water per plant every one to two weeks. Take care not to overwater. Closed, wet terrariums require minimum care. Mist with water when soil looks dry. Condensation is good, but if droplets form remove the lid to allow the terrarium to dehumidify. Trim fast-growing plants as necessary.
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Desert. Go Southwestern style with cacti and deep-toned succulents. Layer dark and light sands, letting them sweep naturally as if blown by the wind. Add pieces of turquoise, feathers or even a dream catcher.
Beach. Layer several colors of light sand and fill with air plants. Because air plants aren't planted, you can get away with only sand (no pebbles, potting soil or charcoal), creating a beachy feel. Finish with seashells, sea glass, driftwood, coral or other beach finds.
Rain forest. Create a lush, humid rain forest in a closed vessel with character (think wood or metal accents). Forgo sand, go heavy on moss and pair low-lying ferns with taller tropical plants. Add pieces of wood and porcelain trinkets for an enchanted look.
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