Gardening | 14 October 2015Make a Sweet and Simple DIY Terrarium Share article facebook twitter google pinterest When you think about terrariums, you probably envision a glass container with petite plants thriving inside, and the questions start from there: how does that actually work? How do the plants keep growing in a closed container? How can I make one? So just what is a terrarium? In the words of author Maria Colletti, terrariums create an enclosed ecosystem that mimics the natural world. Moisture evaporates from the soil level and the leaves of plants, then condenses on the roof and walls of a glass vessel or container. The condensed vapor then drops down, replicating the natural rain cycles that provide moisture for our ecosystem and keep our planet alive. Pretty amazing, right? You, too, can create your own sweet and simple terrarium, thanks to Maria’s new book, Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass. Check out her tutorial for creating a soilless pebble terrarium with two tiny jade plants and pretty pea gravel. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass How to Make a Soilless Pebble Terrarium You Will Need PLANTS: Haworthia, jade plant (Crassula species) BASIC MATERIALS: Aquarium gravel, river stones, pea gravel topping, paper divider Instructions 1. This is a simple project that shows how to layer different size stones to enhance a small container. The glass also has vertical ridges that catch the light. I am very fond of this small tower of succulents and stone. It sits on my bookcase in an east-facing window where it can bathe in the morning sun. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass ………………… 2. I use paper dividers to keep materials separate and distinct. This project does not need a divider between the aquarium gravel and the river stones to keep them separate, but I add one between the layers because soil will also be added around the rootball of our small Haworthia. The potting mix tends to slide through stone and will ruin a layered arrangement. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass ………………… 3. As I hold the tiny succulent near its destination in the glass cylinder, I use a plastic spoon to scoop out the plant and potting mix from its original plastic pot. I want the plant’s rootball surrounded by soil in the glass cylinder so that soil will retain water to nourish the plants, even though the Haworthia and jade plant will be buried in stones at completion. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass ………………… 4. I use a tool, the white plastic spoon, because the small rootball is falling apart, and I need to get it into the narrow cylinder opening as quickly and as intact as possible. I anchor the roots in the soil as I tenderly hold the tip of the leaves, being very careful not to break them. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass ………………… 5. I place a tiny jade plant behind the Haworthia but I raise it up a bit on some stones so that it towers slightly above the other plant. The final step is to fill in around the plants with some pea gravel that has a slightly different but natural color. I use my hand, angled like a scoop, to direct the pebbles. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass ………………… 6. Peering into the top to see the faces of the duo looking up. I adore them—their symmetry, their structure, their placement. Photo credit: Lori Adams / Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass ————————————————- Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: About Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass: Dive into the ultimate handcrafted, fun way to bring the natural world indoors! Terrariums are back and better than ever! If you haven’t seen this virtually foolproof and no-fuss way to bring nature indoors in the last forty years, you are in for a treat. Whether you live in an apartment, are chained to an office desk, or just want to be surrounded by green, living things, creating terrariums is a delightful way to combine the worlds of home decor and gardening. Terrarium expert and teacher Maria Colletti makes designing your very own interior gardens easy with step-by-step photos of over twenty of her own designs. Get all of the information you need on the “it” plants of today–tillandsias (air plants), orchids, mosses, cacti, and succulents, along with “traditional” terrarium ferns. Learn how to transform basic designs using moss, air plants, succulents, vertical planters, hanging glass globes, and more into an unlimited creative palette. Once you know the basics (the plants, the vessels, and a basic understanding of soil, water, and humidity), you can mix and match for an endless exploration of your own creativity! About the Author: Maria Colletti is the terrarium designer and store manager for the Shop in the Garden at The New York Botanical Garden. At the Shop, she creates displays filled with terrariums, hanging glass globes, and tropicals or succulents. She loves to experiment in her designs with carnivorous plants, cacti and succulents, ferns, and tropical foliage, incorporating stones, moss, and even a petrified dragonfly. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.