A terrarium is a glass container used to display plants in the home, and may be closed or sealed (for plants that need high humidity) or open (for desert plants, such as cacti and succulents). These eco-systems in miniature are the perfect way to add a little bit of low-maintenance greenery to your home, so read on to find out everything you need to know to help your terrarium thrive!



For a closed terrarium with tropical plants, try to avoid direct sunlight. Most terrarium plants are found in shaded environments naturally, and bright sunlight (especially when magnified by the glass of a terrarium) will be far too intense for them. An open terrarium with cacti and succulents, however, may require some direct sun.



Closed terrariums are excellent at creating a miniature water cycle. For the most part, the cycle of evaporation and condensation will mean the terrarium keeps reusing the water that we add. But as the plants grow, it may be necessary to add a small amount of water every so often. This will be rare, so monitor and only add water when your terrarium is completely dry. It’s easier to add more water than it is to remove water from a terrarium, so be cautious and if in doubt, leave it a bit longer!


After adding water, leave the lid off for a day or two to allow any excess to evaporate, and if there’s lots of condensation on the glass simply wipe it away with a clean cloth. An open terrarium doesn’t have the same water cycle, but due to the drought-tolerant nature of the succulents we often plant in open terrariums, they will also prefer to be allowed to dry completely between waterings.



Very little feeding is required for a terrarium, and because you won’t be watering it often, the best way to feed a terrarium is to mix a small amount of worm castings into the soil when building it. Most commercially-available terrariums will already have fertiliser mixed into the soil, and any fallen leaves from your plants will add nutrients to the soil as they decay. If you need to, you can always add a small amount of very diluted houseplant food into your water, but take care not to over-fertilise!


General maintenance

Terrariums generally don’t need much in the way of general maintenance, either! There’s no repotting to worry about, but plants may still outgrow their containers. Keep an eye out for any leaves pressed up against the glass, as this could trap moisture and lead to leaf rot. Simply trim back these overgrown plants, or remove them from the terrarium, pot them up or place them in a bigger terrarium, and plant something fresh in their place.


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