i've wanted to make a terrarium for some time. while visiting a new friend recently, i was moved beyond dreaming to resolution: time to create. her terrariums were so lovely scattered around her bright home. as i happened upon a sale at a local craft shop, i found this container marked down well. another sale for members at the botanical garden shop (for the 2 ferns below), a trip to maymont for moss and another fern, purchased dirt (i know, but i need to start some plants!), and rocks collected from the backyard collection results in success. the spun mushroom is from gift wrapping from the small object. the terrarium now sits on our buffet. jo and i have plans for others, as he really enjoyed assisting in layering the elements.
To make: assemble rocks or stones, (optional: crushed charcoal, sphagnum moss), dirt, plants and possibly stones or other decorative items, and your container(s).
In your clean container, layer the rocks, charcoal*, sphagnum moss*, dirt. (Here we used drainage rocks, smooth stones from our collecting, and dirt.) Create space in the dirt for your plants, noting your arrangement ahead of placing them in the container. Layer rocks, moss, and decor on top. Spray lightly with water, depending on how wet the roots of the plants are ahead of time. You'll see that the moisture begins forming droplets on the container within a day, really. There's a measure of "moist, too moist, and too dry" that you must pay attention to. If it's too moist, you leave the lid off to allow some water to evaporate. If too dry, you spray a little more water into the container. As I'm a learner, I'm not able to say when those times are. Knowing plants fairly well, I will leave it to daily judgement as to if this is the right blend for our container.
From what I've read thus far, the charcoal acts as a filter for the water. The sphagnum moss acts as a barrier between the dirt and the charcoal/rocks to keep the base "clean" and allow the water to filter well and keep your terrarium "clean" as a whole. For more reading, see more at terrarium man's site. I found his site helpful, as he speaks to specific plants. Next up will be a large pickle jar terrarium less the pickles and a vintage ball glass jar terrarium. We'll just be terrarium happy! cheers.