If you’re a lover of the environment, it’s not as difficult as you might think to bring a little slice of nature into your home. Even the smallest apartment has room for a miniature garden, and the idea is actually pretty trendy these days.
Regular contact with nature is shown to help us de-stress and chill out, and having plants around can provide some of those same effects in indoor spaces. Not only that, but plant life can also improve the quality of your indoor air. Plus, this is a great activity for date night or an activity that can easily fit into your staycation schedule if you’re trying to stay within a budget.
So how do you bring a garden into your apartment, especially if it’s small? One cool way is by creating your own terrarium, a glass container for plants that is easy to put together and even easier to take care of.
Before you gather your other materials, begin by deciding on a glass container. You can purchase one from a craft or antique store, or just use whatever interesting container you might have lying around. Fishbowls, old coffee pots, mason jars and clear vases are all viable options.
Consider whether you’d prefer an open terrarium or one sealed with a lid. Sealed terrariums are unique in that they have the potential to house a small-scale water system. The transparent glass lets in light and heat, which evaporates the water inside and causes it to condense on the walls of the container. Eventually this water will rain back down onto the plants and repeat the cycle.
You really can’t go wrong with any type of plant as long as it’s small enough to fit inside your container. Make sure it won’t grow too tall!
Remember that different types of plants will need different amounts of water and different varieties of soil. Do a bit of research before you begin to put your terrarium together.
You will need the following materials:
Before you start filling your container with materials, it’s important to plan out your arrangement. Consider how your plants will fit inside and make sure they’re not overcrowded. You’ll probably want some negative space to fit in some decoration pieces.
You should also thoroughly wash your container so there isn’t any unwanted residue that could potentially harm your plants or damage your soil.
The bottom layer of your terrarium should be made up of rocks or sand. The exact amount will vary depending on the size of your container, but typically an inch or two will suffice.
This layer allows water to flow through the soil and into the bottom of the container to keep your plants from drowning.
Activated charcoal can be found in gardening stores, in pet supply stores as a supplement for aquarium filters or online. It can come in shards or in powder form – either type will work for your terrarium.
Use enough to create a layer that covers your drainage layer. The charcoal reduces bacteria and fungi and keeps your soil healthy and smelling fresh.
The type and amount of soil you should use in your terrarium will vary based on the types of plants with which you are working.
If you are replanting store-bought plants, your soil layer should be approximately as high as the pots your plants came in.
Break up any large clumps of soil clinging to your plants’ roots. If your plants have multiple stems, you can choose to break them up into multiple smaller parts – just be gentle!
Use scissors, pruning shears or a sharp knife to trim and loosen the roots if they are particularly long.
Dig out a space in the soil to bury the roots, avoiding letting them touch the edges of the container if you can. This gives them more space to expand as your plant grows.
Finally, feel free to add a personal touch to your miniature garden. Moss or other groundcover can add a more natural touch, but you can also incorporate little toys and figurines, more stones or pretty much anything you can think of. Be creative!
That’s all there is to it. With a little bit of work, you can bring the beauty and benefits of a natural garden into your apartment.