It’s no secret that I love cacti. All kinds. Tall, short, skinny, round, striped, spotted, plain.
Terrariums are a great way of bringing the cacti inside and having some greenery around the place does help to spruce things up! I’d toyed with the idea of making a terrarium for quite a while and the desire only grew stronger the more I saw them on Pinterest. Then, earlier this year, I gave a friend a DIY terrarium kit for her birthday – I figured half the fun of having one is putting it together yourself so I didn’t want to take that away from her!
How convenient this was. I had to buy whole packets of the necessary things and then only ended up using a small portion. What an unfortunate spot of bother I was in, what with this left over terrarium making stuff. I guess the right thing to do would be to use some of the stuff up and make another terrarium which, you know, I guess I could keep and look after, whatever…
I thought I’d document the process in case anyone else was thinking of making their own little terrarium.
First off, you’ll need some basics:
- A glass bowl or container of some description. There’s a whole bunch of different types out there – plain round ones like the one I used, bowls with stems, some with cork stoppers, some without. I bought mine from a $2 shop and it cost $18, which is a lot cheaper than the other ones I saw.
- Gardening gloves to help you handle the prickly cacti.
- Gardening tools to help you dig the prickly cacti out of their old pots. The ones I’ve got are some nifty small ones, which are really handy for this type of activity because they help you get into some tight spots with ease.
- Some pebbles or small rocks
- Activated charcoal
- Sphagnum moss
- Potting mix designed for cacti and succulents
All of these items can be purchased at a gardening store – I bought my rocks, charcoal, and moss from a place called Gardenworld and I get my potting mix from Bunnings.
And last but not least, you’ll need cacti! Here are the ones I picked for my terrarium. I tried to pick ones with different colours, textures, and heights. You can really pick whatever you like though – there’s such a huge range available and most should be suitable for this kind of environment.
1. Wash and dry the glass bowl out. Wash the stones you’ve bought as well – it’s important not to introduce bacteria into the terrarium so a simple rinse will help prevent this.
2. Place a layer of stones in the bowl – just enough to cover the entire bottom of the bowl.
3. Pick out the smaller chunks of charcoal and place over the stones.
4. Place a layer of the sphagnum moss so it covers the charcoal.
5. Add the potting mix, covering the moss, but try not to add more than 3.5cm.
6. Now for the fun part – adding the cacti! Fiddle around with them before you plant them so you can figure out the arrangement you want. Once that’s sorted, you need to remove the plants from their pots. I took my mini spade and gently dug around the cactus whilst pinching the pot with my hand at the same time. This helps to loosen the soil and if you tip the plant to the side, it should wriggle out pretty easily. Once the cactus is free, gently loosen the roots to get rid of the excess soil.
7. Make a small hole in the soil in your terrarium, place the cactus in there before covering the roots over with soil and patting it down to make it secure.
8. Feel at one with Gaia and tell all your friends.