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


11 Fabulous Container Gardening Ideas

11 Fabulous Container Gardening IdeasContainer Gardening …

…………I can’t wait to get out there!

Container gardening is still one of my favorites.  There is just simply no end to what can be done with something that has a hole in the top or something you can cut a hole into the top.

While gathering some new ideas for our early spring I came across some of the funnest ideas ever!

  1. Colorful plastic buckets grouped together on a walking path.  Sun loving plants or shade lovers as well. Depends on what your path is like.
  2. Old dented and leaking watering cans painted and potted with your favorites
  3. More galvanized treasures, tall and short, old and new; potted and placed on the side of a garage.
  4. Boots and shoes of all shapes and sizes.  Stick a geranium in them and…voila!
  5. Benches with bushel baskets and asparagus fern.
  6. Mix and matched baskets
  7. …and even old travel bags
  8. If you have an old picnic table, dress it up with plastic pitchers and tumblers.  I bet you can find an old picnic basket at a thrift store.
  9. Teapots and mugs with ferns, wandering jew, and impatiens atop a round cast iron table adds whimsy to a tired corner.
  10. Drawers and an old nightstand.  Paint a wonderfully bright chartreuse and fill with large leafed shade lovers!  Adorable!

If you run out of ideas and have explored HGTV for hours, just visit a thrift store, wander around and pick up anything you can stick a plant in.  Look for interesting shapes, sizes, and colors.  If you want a particular look or theme, gather like items.  If you’re more eclectic in style choose items that don’t match but complement one another.

11 container gardening Ideas









11 container gardening Ideas










container gardening paint cans for pin












11 creative container gardening ideas- desk

11 Tips to Add Punch and Perk to Your Bedroom

11 Ways to Perk up Your BedroomAttention!  Attention!

………..Has anyone seen my bedroom?

For some reason my bedroom is the last to get any attention.  It seems as though it’s become a storage room someone put a bed in.  I really want our master “suite” to be at least as nice as any other room in the house. Here are some ideas to think about.

-Paint!  It’s always the biggest bang for your buck.  Add some accent paint to a wall or two.

-Again, paint!  If you have bedroom furniture that you purchased 20+ years ago, before heaving it out the door, think about simply changing the color.  A very budget friendly thing to do and can easily add a few more years to that tired double-decade old stuff…..what’s it going to hurt?  If you still can’t stand it a minute longer, all you’re out is a gallon of paint…..

-…..Once the furniture is painted grab some fine grit sandpaper and give it the good old look of distress.  A great way to make the old stuff look like it’s “new-made-to-look-old”.  Very chic.

-More about…yup, you guessed it….paint!  Don’t be afraid to choose one of the contemporary bold new colors on a dresser or chest of drawers, especially if you’re going with the distressed look.  If you’re planning on changing out the furniture in a couple years anyway…live vigorously!  Enjoy a sea blue chest, or a butter yellow dresser.  Have some fun!

-Nothing more wonderful than climbing into a bed bedecked in bright new bedding. It’s time to tuck away the winter comforter and pull out the new crisp linens.  If your linens are tired and threadbare bring in the spring with some new floral designs or colorful solids.

-Add some fun, fresh, vibrant pillows.  Remember, they don’t have to match, the just have to “go”.

-A new throw rug…one of my favorite ways to add a brand new look to a room.  Maybe start there and take your color cues from the rug….OR

-……..A new duvet or coverlet.  A main piece like this in your room can set the tone for your entire color palette.

-If space is not an issue, think about adding a comfy reading chair or even a loveseat with a great reading lamp.

-Keep your eye out for a cool one-of-a-kind (or not) chair-side “table” Use your imagination on this one.  Stacked old suitcases, grandma’s creaky stool (My grandma had a creaky stool I would love to have next to my reading couch now).

-Don’t forget to think outside (literally) the box.  Some outdoor furniture makes some cool inside accent pieces, and can be easily perked up with a coat of …what?….paint! (talkofthehouse.com)

Have fun adding some punch & perk to a tired old space.

11 Tips to add Punch to Your Bedroom