Anyone who lived through the ’70s probably hears the word terrarium and thinks, I had one of those little glass plant houses in my shag-carpeted bedroom, on top of my oak dresser, right next to my Pet Rock, and strategically placed under my poster of Shaun Cassidy! But we wouldn’t know anything about that.
What we do know is that today’s terrariums are worlds away from the kitschy planters of yore, and we dig their ability to bring a bit of the outdoors in, even during the drab days of winter. The sky’s the limit for container options—from fish bowl to oversized glass vase, cake dome, or vintage jug, almost anything can be used to grow these mini ecosystems. Check out what our friends at Real Simple came up with, and then let your imagination run wild.
Once set up, closed terrariums require little maintenance, while open terrariums need a bit more attention but offer a wider range of plant possibilities. You’ll need some combination of potting soil; aquarium rocks; horticultural charcoal; sphagnum moss; plants like ivy, small ferns, and miniature African violets; and fun, decorative items like seashells, glass beads or marbles, or tiny figurines. The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature by Tovah Martin is a great resource for all things tiny and green.