Crystal Valley Blog

Build a Terrarium This Weekend!

POSTED January 28, 2020

Terrariums are the perfect stay-at-home craft project for snow days and weekends. But if you’ve ever researched “how to make a winter terrarium”, you no doubt found two types: one with live plants and the other a decorative craft project with a winter theme. We’re exploring the live plant variety, collecting tutorials, tips and how-to advice so you can be prepared for the next window of creativity!

Terrariums are indoor gardens grown in enclosed or sealable glass containers with soil and plants – tiny greenhouses that are self-sustaining ecosystems. We’ve seen terrariums in mason jars, glass coffee pots, fishbowls and round globes with easy-to-hang rings for hooks. They can be diminutive or the size of a home aquarium, and while they’re considered decorative or ornamental, terrariums do have health and wellness benefits. 

Indoor plants are known to improve air quality, reduce stress, lower heart rates and normalize blood pressure levels. Exposure to plants also can decrease anger, tension, anxiety, depression and has been linked to speedier healing and recovery after illness or surgery. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a container and salt it with soil!

The Terrarium Container

You can make a terrarium in less than an hour with just a few materials – and they don’t have to cost a lot. Shop the flea markets (like The Indoor flea market on Widefield Blvd. in Colorado Springs), consignment shops and discount stores for great-looking glass containers. Look for a jar or container with a wide mouth or opening to make it easy to add plants. Ideally, you don’t want your plants touching the side of the container, so the wider the opening the more plants and soil you’ll be able to fit in it. A larger container also affords the option of adding decorative items like shells, unusual rocks, mementos or figurines. 

Next head to the home improvement store or nursery for the small houseplants that sell for a few bucks apiece. Terrariums also make great gifts, by the way – certainly an original and non-traditional option for upcoming Valentine’s Day exchanges! Blogger Melissa at HGTV loves succulents and offers tips on putting tiny terrariums together as gifts. The colors, textures and diversity of leaves of succulents makes them interesting to look at, and they are some of the simplest plants to care for. Even for people without a green thumb.

Etsy also offers a number of succulent terrarium kits with the container, plants, activated charcoal, pebbles, moss and soil. Each kit also includes a gift card in case you want to make and give the finished terrarium as a gift.

Rocks, Sand and Soil

Your terrarium will need a layer of sand and crushed charcoal, say the experts at Family Handiman, to help with drainage so plants don’t rot. These little greenhouses will be humid and moist, so in an average-sized terrarium, a one-inch layer of sand/charcoal mix will do the job. 

You’ll also need small pebbles and if you want a punch of color, try aquarium gravel, or pieces of broken pottery. And while terrariums don’t take a lot of maintenance, it is important to get the right soil – high on organic matter. Amazon.com sells an essential kit for terrariums, as well as planter soil for a succulents’ terrarium.

Good Picks for Terrarium Plants

Once you’ve found your container and rounded up enough stones, sand and soil, you’ll want to pick some plants that won’t outgrow your terrarium. Good sun-loving choices include boxwood, croton, Joseph’s coat, pineapple verbena and twiggy spikemoss. For shady spaces, choices include gnome ivy, golden club moss, Irish or Scottish club moss and miniature ferns. You can also use a terrarium to grow plants that require direct sunlight including herbs like sage and thyme.

Popular Mechanics offers a step-by-step tutorial starting with an empty container, and walks you through the addition of rocks, moss and soil. You can also watch this YouTube tutorial from Garden Answer to see how easily a terrarium can come together, in two different sizes. 

Terrariums are a fun project to build with your kids, allowing them to add miniature fairy garden ornaments after the rocks are in place – things like dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles and other animal figurines, gnomes, etc.

Embracing Nature in Crystal Valley

PinnacleWe love live plants and indoor greenery for the same reason we love the master-planned community of Crystal Valley: research shows nature has many therapeutic qualities, both physical and psychological! Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton make new homes set in natural surroundings with easy access to nearby shopping, restaurants and entertainment. So, explore the models here to find the new home of your, priced from the $300s. 

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