project terrarium


terrarium 2, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I built a terrarium! I got the idea from Real Simple, which featured bought terrariums in a re-decorating article. They were going for some ludicrously inflated price, $300 or something. They probably had like $10 worth of material in them. So I used my Google-fu and found some pages about making your own.

I bought the plants first, because I figured the plants would dictate the size and shape of the container, and the color and amount of any accessories I used. If you use more than one plant, it’ s important that you choose plants that have similar light and temperature requirements. It’s also a good idea to pick one that grows mostly up and one that grows mostly out.

My initial choice was a polka dot plant, but they don’t seem to be as common in Louisiana as they were in California. I decided on White Anne fittonia and a purple velvet. They both like low and indirect light, making them good houseplants. Cost: $3 per plant.

I decided to look at Hobby Lobby for the container, and I’m really glad I chose this weekend because they were having a 50% off sale on glassware. I was able to get basically the biggest lidded glass container they had. Cost: $20.

The first 2 layers both come from the aquarium section of the pet store. Gravel is important because it supplies the plants’ drainage. You want at least a half inch. I went with natural gravel, none of that garishly colored synthetic crap. Cost: $2.49.

On top of that you want to sprinkle a thin layer of activated carbon. It will help filter out mold spores and particulates. Cost: $3.99.

I also got some decorative sea glass stones at PetSmart. Cost: $1.99.

Next is the potting soil, which we already had plenty of. The shells I also had already, and they’re from local beaches.

I bought the little Maneki Neko (lucky cat) at World Market. Cost: $.99. (I also had a little kokeshi doll, but she’s too spindly to stand up so I removed her. Maybe once the soil settles and compacts a bit she can go back in.)

It took about 20 minutes to assemble it all. The inside is a little condensed so I’m removing the top to let it dry a little. The plants create their own oxygen of course, and you only need a small sprinkle of water every couple weeks. I’m not great with plants, but terrariums mostly take care of themselves.


terrarium 1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

So, total cost: about $35. Even if the plants die, it’ll only cost about $10 to replace them! (I hope they don’t die, though.)


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