Everyone in our office is passionate about all things botanical, so John decided our next team challenge would be to get a little green fingered and make our own DIY terrariums.
Rather than the kind where you simply open the door and put your stones, plants and moss in, these were the ones where you have to put everything through a fairly small hole at the top of a glass vessel. You then try and re-arrange as best as possible with a whole host of put-together tools made from things like skewers, broken plant pots, corks, brushes and chopsticks.
The challenge was definitely on… and it was definitely messy business as you can see!
DIY Terrarium Tutorial
Here's our step by step guide if you'd like to try creating a similar DIY terrarium at home. There was a great deal of fun and laughter as plants landed upside down, moss came apart, and everyone started to get just a little competitive.
You will need:
A clear glass vessel (with a cork top)
Terrarium plants in various shapes and sizes
Tools (listed above)
Start by adding the stones to your glass vessel, these can be found in most garden centres and DIY stores, but make sure you wash them first.
We used a make shift funnel to add our stones, charcoal and soil. It was made from an old plastic plant pot with the bottom cut out and the side cut so it could be adjusted to fit each vessel.
Next you add activated charcoal, which is what purifies the water – you can buy it online or at most health food shops.
In a small terrarium you’ll need to use half a teaspoon of charcoal and for a larger terrarium, use up to 1 teaspoon.
On top of the stones and charcoal you now have to add your compost mix. We used a mixture of John Innes Number 1 potting compost, a small amount of sand and peat free soil. Mix the compost and soil, 70% soil and 30% compost, and add enough sand to make it quite fluffy and light.
Add the compost/soil mixture bit by bit, patting down frequently to find the perfect level that will allow enough space for your plants to grow as well as enough room for the roots.
Then you pat the soil down, which is where the cork stuck the end of a skewer came in. Once you have patted down your compost/soil mixture now you have to add your plants.
Adding the terrarium plants. During our workshop we used:
Slow-growing plants, native to Peru and available from most garden centres, in a variety of colours.
Ficus Pumila -
An evergreen, climbing plant which will grow to the profile of your vessel and can be easily trimmed back.
If you use a larger vessel, then small ferns work very well too.
Start by taking the plant out of the pot and separating the roots into small individual plants, making sure you shake off as much soil as possible.
Using a skewer, make a hole in the soil in your vessel ready to place the plant in. Push your plant very carefully through the top of your vessel and hope that it lands near to the hole you have made – if not then you need to move it carefully with the skewer and then pat around the plant once it's in the hole bringing the soil back around it.
Repeat this stage until you feel you have enough plants – in small vessels this is anything from 2-4 and in the large ones from 3-5.
Use moss and another selection of stones to decorate the top of your terrarium as you like.
When it comes to using moss, again you pull small bits from the clump of moss as it needs to fit through the hole at the top of your vessel. It is also good to spray the moss with water so that it’s damp and less likely to fall apart – like mine did!
Once you have enough moss, you can also pop in some stones to make it look like a proper miniature garden. And that's pretty much it.
Water your plant terrarium with around 15-20 sprays of water - which will also help to clean the glass - and add your cork.
How to care for your terrarium…
This is pretty minimal as the closed environment actually creates its own climate allowing the plants to thrive. The only thing you need to do is to make sure your DIY terrarium has some light, although not too much sun as it will wilt. For the first couple of weeks you should also take the cork out for the whole day, every other day.
I think you'll agree that these plant terrariums look stunning and definitely something we have been telling all our family and friends about as so easy and so clever.
Please do share you pics with us if you end up trying this DIY terrarium project – we’d love to see them.
Book your own DIY terrarium workshop with London Terrariums here