Last winter I saw terrarium pictures in a magazine while I was waiting in line at the grocery store and I thought they looked fun. I had just taken down Christmas and my house felt cold and lifeless. Live plants were just what I needed to bring in spring and the terrariums were a perfect project. I didn't have any live plants growing in my home. I love to garden but in the past I often forget to water my indoor plants and end up killing them. That's probably one of the reasons I have always loved succulents. They're hard to kill and thrive on neglect.
I remember terrariums when I was a kid in the seventies. I went a little crazy and made six of them! They were so fun to make, one just wasn't enough. Making these satisfied my gardening urge. It's not much fun to garden in January even in sunny San Diego and I found a new use for our old fish bowls. We used to have Beta fish in the bowls perched on urns on my kitchen counter. Our fish lived a long happy life of four years. Being on my kitchen counter helped me remember to feed them so I figured I wouldn't forget to water my terrariums if they occupied the old fish hangout. I didn't buy the magazine so I'm not sure how they made theirs, but this is how I made mine.
I purchased a good indoor potting soil, sand, small pebbles, moss, a ceramic mushroom(very 70's), and about 2-3 small plants for each bowl. I layered from the bottom up sand then pebbles for drainage. Then I cut sheets of moss and lined the inside of the bowl about 4-5 inches up the side (skip the moss step if you are using succulents.) I then filled the moss well with soil and planted the little plants. I then folded the moss edges over the soil and topped with more pebbles. I watered and spritz the plants with a spray bottle.
Because the bowls don't drain and they create their own little micro-environment, be careful not to over water. One day while admiring my terrariums I noticed the soil was moving. No crawling! I had little gnats infestating one of the bowls because I had over watered it. If this happens, spray with insecticidal soap. In my case I took the whole bowl apart and started over. So far no more bugs. Every two weeks I fertilize with a liquid fertilizer and I spritz with a spray bottle whenever they look dry. Customize with shells, rocks, drift wood, candles, etc.
These are so easy and fun to make I did this project with my ten year old daughter's Girl Scout troop.