Keep Calm and… Make a Terrarium!

Hello everyone.

Thanks for joining me. Today we’re going to talk about a relaxing way to get a little more nature into your life. That is, making a terrarium!

A terrarium is an ecosystem inside a sealed jar. It can have plants and insects, soil and wood, life and death. It is a world unto itself. But, as worlds go, it’s not very hard to make.

Top view of the terrarium. That ficus elastica is a full tree and will definitely outgrow this planting!

I learned how to do this by watching videos on youtube. Check out Serpa Design, he has a ton of cool videos about terrariums and keeping animals. It’s a relaxing youtube rabbit hole to go down.

It’s also a fun group project that me and my girlfriend can do together. We go to the nursery, set up the jars, and plant them together. The end result is something you can share.

The process is pretty simple. You want a false gravel bottom for your jar, and cover that with a window screen so soil doesn’t fall down into the gravel. The soil mixture is potting soil and spaghnum moss. Add some wood and crushed leaves to mimic a forest floor, and some insects as a cleanup crew. Now you are ready to plant.

This jar is the perfect size for this project. I was thinking of getting a praying mantis, they seem like cool pets!

The best plants for these terrariums are jungle plants. The jar gets very humid, and dense planting means they don’t get a lot of light. I tried a spider plant and a rubber tree in the big jar. They will probably outgrow it pretty fast. I also used fittonia vershaffeltii, which has pink veins in the leaves. I think it makes a good color contrast that goes well against the deep greens.

Smaller jar, fittonia in the foreground. I don’t know what that pink plant is but it makes a good color note.

I also used seedum for the smaller jars. It’s the light green plant with the smaller leaves. It gives it a more upbeat atmosphere. The one without seedum has what my girlfriend calls ‘Jurassic Park’ vibes, which I love but others may not appreciate. I even put a hot wheels jeep in there to complete the ‘JP effect’.

All that’s missing is a little DINO DNA!

Right now we are obsessed with this. The world has been so stressful lately. Between the pandemic, the election, and everything else going on, we all need a way to relax. The terrarium is a way to create a bubble of untroubled space. Staring at it has a calming effect. It’s like the opposite of staring at your phone.

And it allows you to enjoy nature, even when you couldn’t because of the weather, or because the sky is filled with ash. Or maybe you are just worried you’ll catch the plague. Either way, stay calm and make a terrarium!

Stressed? Could a stressed out person make all these terrariums? I don’t think so!

With our new age of staying in more and avoiding group events, enjoying nature is as important as ever. Having a slice of the jungle in a jar is a nice way to bring nature inside and share your love of plants with others.

For more information on this topic, check out Serpa Design on his site or youtube channel. All credit goes to him for this idea.

Thanks for reading this post. Stay safe, stay calm, and we’ll make it through this.


An untroubled slice of paradise