Tips and Tricks
(Something to remember, especially when new to building terrariums – use transparent glass for your container as tinted glass, especially dark green glass, will not allow the correct amount of light to reach your plants. Also, it’s advisable to use a tall container as your plants should, initially, only reach halfway up the container, leaving plenty of room for growth.)
Vessels that make great terrariums and can be picked up quite readily at yard sales and flea markets:
- Pasta cabinet
- Food jar
- Laboratory glass
- Apothecary jar
- Crystal Head vodka bottle
- Theatre bulb (I just cut the threads off with a lapidary wheel and remove the guts!)
- Wine or coffee carafe
- Large brandy glass
TIPS AND TRICKS
- If you’ve found a glass container that you like but don’t have a way of enclosing it you can order relatively inexpensive corks from this company. (They have a $4.95 flat rate shipping fee and a 30 day satisfaction guarantee so the corks can be returned for a full refund if they do not work out.) Please note that it is possible to order corks up to 4-1/2” in top diameter and would strongly advise to order their “Standard” option, made from natural cork rather than composite cork, as they last longer and I have heard of terrariums not being opened for more than 50 years!
- Over-watering or “killing with kindness” is the most frequent cause of plant failure – letting the soil dry out between waterings allows the roots to breathe and prevents “root rot.” Here’s a quick rule of thumb: if the leaves are yellow, you could be over-watering. If the leaves are brown, the plant is usually too dry.
- When washing out the jar you can use mustard instead of water…the mustard helps take the smell away.
- Use a little peanut butter or rubbing alcohol to remove the label glue from the outside of the jar…much easier and safer than scraping it off with a razor blade or box cutter.
- Support the container on a lab tripod…frees up your second hand and relieves the fear of dropping it.
- If you’re using a syringe to water the plants in your terrarium you could attach a “bendy straw” to the syringe to access those hard to reach spots. And you can use a “bendy straw” to blow away any debris or dirt.
- Building a terrarium would make a great father-daughter, mother-son project, helping them learn about science/biology!