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Buy or DIY: Trendy Terrariums

updated May 6, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The terrarium trend seems to be going strong with no signs of slowing any time soon. On a recent trip to my local West Elm the entire front entrance of the store was devoted to a terrarium display — and they’re not the only major retailer embracing the trend. After the jump we’ll provide you with the instructions and the resources for buying and creating your own terrarium.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

• The simple Moss Terrarium Bottle from Uncommon Goods comes prepackaged with everything you need: the vessel, moss, soil and other supplies.
Anthropologie has made two products in one with their Terrarium Pendant Lamp.
West Elm offers a number of terrarium vessels, from large fish bowls to smaller hanging glass bubbles.
• The glass jars with lids from Crate & Barrel would be the perfect affordable vessel for a terrarium.
• These recycled glass terrariums from Sprout Home are handblown and come in four different sizes.

• Also from Sprout Home, this terrarium is made from recycled electric meters, lending an industrial edge to this very natural project.
• The lantern inspired Zinc Terrarium from Frontgate has a more structural appearance thanks to its frame and base.
• This Mini-Garden Terrarium from Viva Terra has a door that swings open wide, allowing easy access for planting and maintaining.
• If you want the look but not the work, Costa Farms sells this Canister Terrarium kit at Lowes.
• This wall mount fish bowl from Target could become a terrarium in a home that lacks table space or has a nosy pet.

On a recent visit to Costa Farms in Miami, I had the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and build my own terrarium. And you know what? It was totally fun! Whereas planting houseplants can seem daunting and messy, a terrarium is more like decorating. It’s mostly a matter of layering the soil, rocks and moss (appealing to the designer in all of us) and then plopping in your plants. Once planted, the terrarium is mostly carefree.

The great folks at Costa provided me with the following instructions for DIYing a terrarium. Having assembled a terrarium myself, it’s actually quite fun and not very messy. When you’re looking for plants to fill your terrarium, try small succulents, ferns or air plants.

• Select a glass container with a top. Container should be 4 times as high as it is wide.
• Pebbles (about a 1/3 of the planting area)
• Sand (just enough to cover the pebbles)
• Charcoal (thin layer covering the sand)
• Potting soil (slightly less than 2/3 of the planting area)
• Assortment of small house plants
• Ground cover (small pebbles or moss)

1. Planting area should be about ¼ of the height of the container.
2. Layer container with materials 2-5 in that order.
3. Plant plants, the tallest in the center.
4. Water the container.
5. Cover the soil with pebbles or moss.
6. Seal terrarium with cover.

Whether you’re building your own terrarium or buying one pre-assembled, the folks at Costa also provided some very practical tips for caring for it.
• Never place a terrarium in direct sunlight.
• Do not over water your terrarium. If heavy condensation develops on the glass, uncover the terrarium for a while and wipe down the glass.
• If plants need more watering they will start to droop, this is your key to water your terrarium.

Images: 1. West Elm; All others as credited above.