Try growing a little indoor garden​​​

A terrarium can be a fun project for indoors.

Terrarium 2023.jpg
Terrariums are a wonderful item to have in the house to enjoy and nurture​.<br/><br/>
John Zvirovski / The Jamestown Sun
John Zvirovski.jpg
John Zvirovski, Jamestown Sun garden editor
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

For those people who have limited space and want to try a little indoor garden, try planting a terrarium. These are wonderful little indoor gardens that can be as small as a mason jar to the size of a large aquarium.

Terrariums are basically defined as small gardens within a glass enclosure. They are either open- or close-topped where the plants grow inside.

Terrariums are wonderfully unique as you can create them any way you like to fit your style. Some can be as simple as three basic plants to as elaborate as a dozen plants with landscaping features throughout to create a magical world in itself. There are six main features to creating a terrarium. You will need a planting vessel, crushed gravel or rock, activated charcoal, sheet moss, soil and plants.


The planting vessel can be any glass container that has room for the soil and the plants without overcrowding the container itself. These containers could be items such as a mason jar, a fishbowl, a large glass carboy jar or even an aquarium that is no longer in use. It is within this container that you will create you miniature landscape.

The first layer in the container is crushed gravel or rock. This layer should be an inch or 2 deep depending on the size of the container. It holds any excess water that will keep it away from the plant roots.


The next layer is about a half to a full inch of activated charcoal. This layer neutralizes odor from being created within the terrarium due to wet soil and decaying organic matter. This is a very important feature of your indoor garden.

Next is a layer of sheet moss that goes over the charcoal. This acts as a barrier between the charcoal and rock layers and the soil that is laid above. It will keep the soil from infiltrating into the lower levels.

The next layer is potting mix. Do not use actual dirt, but rather a potting mix that is soil free. Also, do not use a mix that contains added fertilizer as terrariums rarely need any plant food. Add about 2 to 3 inches of potting mix or enough to cover your new plant’s roots.

The final addition is the plants themselves. Selecting your plants is very important as you are going to want a moderate to low-light type of plant. Most terrariums are not located in a window as the direct sunlight will heat up the container and potentially burn the plants. Select plants with small leaves that grow slowly. Large or fast-growing plants will overflow your terrarium quickly and defeat the effect of growing a small indoor garden feature. Also, choose plants that have unique features in the leaves either through texture or color.

Good plant ideas are items such as Irish moss, aluminum plants, lemon thyme, nerve plants, pink or white polka dot plants, and a variety of small ferns for texture. Plants with smaller leaves give that miniature appearance without stunting them. Avoid cacti or succulents as terrariums are usually too moist to sustain these arid heat lovers.

If you do not have a great deal of light in your home due to trees outdoors or other factors, place these creative containers beneath a grow light. There are many types you can pick up that will serve the needs of your project.

Once you have placed your terrarium together you will either leave the top open or closed depending on the type of container you are using. For a terrarium that has an open top, you will need to check more frequently for watering. When they need water, always water sparingly so as not to create wet soil where insects and bacteria could form. Use a spray bottle or mister primarily over an actual watering can. For terrariums that have a closed top or semi-closed top, make sure it is opened up if condensation develops on the glass to let the excess moisture out. If you have a semi-enclosed vessel, make sure you open it for a day at least once a month to let fresh air inside for circulation.

If you want to create additional details within your garden, think about using some small fairy garden items found in nurseries. Consider items like small bridges and fences, colored rocks and mushrooms. Even small little houses in a large design can add such a wonderful feeling and look. There is no limit to what you can create with your own indoor garden.


During these winter months, why not try something creative with these cute indoor garden ideas? They do not take a lot of space, yet they are all encased in one container for you to enjoy for many years to come.

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