Tag: Houseplants

Terrariums 101- Tips and Tricks

Terrariums 101 ~Tips and Tricks~ Terrariums…

……….. a 70’s comeback

Yet another retro element to love. Terrariums! I just made my first one over the weekend.  It turned out great and I am anxious to do another one for a lower-light area.  These groovy planting containers are a wonderful way to bring the outside in and I am finding out they work very well with little light. So they are perfect for a below ground basement room. They add a freshness and a tropical feel to any setting.

There are some things to consider when planning your terrarium.

  • The container must be glass or another clear substance through which light can pass.  I definitely prefer glass.
  • Your terrarium should have a large enough opening to allow for the emplacement of soil and plants.  There are however tools you can buy or make to plant small plants from a very narrow opening.  Consider taking a small piece of bamboo, purchased at a nursery, and sticking the stem of a spoon or fork in the bamboo and taping it securely.  Voila! A terrarium shovel and rake.  Cool!
  • The plants selected for a terrarium must have similar environmental needs.  You can’t plant a cactus with a tropical.  Needs are different. All plants in a terrarium should have similar light, moisture and other environmental needs. If you want to grow sun-loving plants in natural light, use an open terrarium. If you want to grow plants that require high humidity, the container should be closed.
  • The terrarium must be thoroughly cleaned before use (to prevent bacteria growth).

Terrariums fall into two general categories:

Open: can tolerate some direct sunlight. However, too much sun may burn leaves that are in direct container with the sides of the container.

Closed: A closed terrarium can also be an open terrarium to which a cover has been added. Closed terrariums should be placed where they will receive bright light, but no direct sunlight. If placed in direct sunlight, the temperature inside the container rises considerably and literally cooks the plants.

STEP 1: Drainage: A terrarium does not have drainage holes. Therefore, you must supply a drainage layer to prevent damage to plant roots. Crushed river gravel works well and is pretty. You want to use 1 to 4 inches of drainage material depending on the height of the container. Generally the depth of the drainage material, charcoal, and soil should equal about one-third the height of the container.

STEP 2: Charcoal: On top of the drainage layer, place a thin layer of charcoal. This will help keep the soil fresh and not develop a musty, smelly odor.

STEP 3: Soil: The kind of soil used will depend on the type of plants you wish to grow (Cacti/succulent soil vs. potting soil). Use enough soil so that you can create a “hole” where you want to place the root ball of the plants

STEP 4: Landscaping and Planting: Remember, plants grow. It is advisable to choose slow-growing plants and not to overplant.

  • Do not feed plants in a terrarium ~ you don’t want them to get big remember?


Heat: Closed glass containers trap and hold heat, and excessive heat is perhaps the main cause of death in terrariums. It is important that terrariums not be placed in direct sunlight.

Lights: A newly planted terrarium should be placed in shade for about a week. Then adjust light according to the requirements of the plants. Most terrariums do better in diffused or filtered light than direct sunlight. Artificial light can also be used.

Too much sun: Leaves wilt and develop burned spots. Move the terrarium to a shadier spot.

Too little light: Plants develop tall, thin stems that are weak and unable to hold up leaves. Leaves are pale and fragile. Increase amount of light slowly.


Open terrarium: Test soil before watering. For plants that like moist soil, the top earth should feel barely moist before you add water. For cacti and succulents, touch below the surface layer. Lower soil should be only slightly damp.

Closed terrarium: These should rarely if ever need water.  My kind of plant care!

Too dry: Leaves wilt and look pale. Moss becomes brown or faded. Add a little water and mist leaves.

Too much water: Excessive water encourages the growth of molds and causes plant decay. If terrarium walls have more than 25% condensation, remove the cover until walls clear. You may have to do this more than once. In a closed terrarium, there should be only occasional clouding.

Recommended Plants for Low-light terrariums:
Ferns, mosses, baby’s tears, hypoestes, fittonia, ivy, peperomia, sanseveria, schefflera

Recommended Plants for High-light terrariums:
Cacti, succulents, including jade, aloe, borro’s tail, earth stars, echeveria, haworthia, sedum

5 Great ~Low-Maintenance~ Houseplants

5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants

Houseplants are like good friends…..

 …….5 great low-need houseplants that can do well in a basement, or anywhere else

Spring’s here and I am excited!   I love getting outside and implementing all the plans that have been running through my head during the dormancy of winter. I also love doing what I can to bring the outside IN.

I have never claimed to have a green thumb, especially when it comes to indoor plants.  I love them, but I want something that is LOOOWWWWW maintenance.  A good houseplant is like a good friend.  They are there for you but don’t require a ton! 🙂

Here are 5 houseplants that you probably won’t kill.  I hate it when someone tells me that, because it REALLY hurts my self-esteem when I manage to kill the un-killable.

  • A plant I love and have not killed in two years is the Snake Plant (another variety is Mother-in-law’s Tongue, which has a yellowish border on the leaves).  This plant is in the succulent family and only needs to be watered about once a month; my kind of plant!  The soil should be allowed to dry somewhat before watering.  Being a succulent, it retains much of its water.  It is a striking plant and can be re-potted easily.  Bright light to low light, it adapts…sweet thing!
  • A little more persnickety, but still a pretty nice little plant ~ the Philodendron ~ It is a very easy-to-care-for plant.  It does well in low to medium light (ummm…even some bright indirect light) and needs to be watered about once a week. Water it well and let the soil drain, but never let the soil dry out completely. Always test the soil with your finger.  If the soil feels dry down by the roots, then you probably want to water it again. If it feels moist, then you can let it go and then check it again in a couple of days.  You will have to water it less during the cold months.  It comes in dark green or a beautiful variegated green and white-ish.
  • The Corn Tree~it looks exactly how it sounds, a big ole’ stock of corn, but wider with rounder leaves.  Very tropical looking with a canopy type growth habit. Again, a low maintenance friend.   Water it well about once every two weeks.  Soak it well and allow the soil to drain.  This is not a small plant.  Give it the space it needs and it could be a great FOCAL POINT.
  • Marginatas are very exotic-looking, and easy as pie to care for.  And simply a very cool tree-ish looking plant. They like moderate to bright indirect light. They can do well in a low light room away from a window. SO EASY!  Don’t you love it?  They do not like to be overwatered.  Their leaves will start to turn yellow and they will fall off.  Always makes sure you do not overwater your tropicals. Again, just keep the soil moist, not soaking wet, not too dry.  Wouldn’t you think it would be just the opposite?  When I think of tropical, I think of wet!
  • And one of my all-time favorites, the Spider Plant!  I love this hanging beauty with it’s sweet little babies dangling from the stems like miniature parachutists.  I have found these to LOVE hanging by a window with a lot of indirect light.  They come in grass-green or a beautiful variegated green, light green, white-ish leaf.  Water once a week or when the soil is dry to the touch.  They also love to be under-potted to produce more of the little plantlets.

Enjoying the outside inside ~ all year round!  These plants can be especially nice for a basement.

5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants












5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants












5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants








5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants












5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants











5 Great Low-Maintenance Houseplants