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  • Writer's pictureHollye Maxwell


Terrariums are a great way to bring the outdoors in. They are a perfect little windows into a rainforest. We tend toward terrariums that reflect the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest, but we do enjoy our tropical ones as well. They all thrive under grow lights in their sealed glass containers.

Happy Cryptomeria under LED growlights.

Terrariums are great for people with limited mobility or no access to the outdoors. While houseplants have some wonderful benefits, not the least of which is cleaning indoor air – and we heartily recommend having as many as you can in your home – terrariums are more maintenance-free for people who may forget to water or often travel. We have our grow lights on a timer. They come on at 06:00 and go off at 18:00, thus, twelve on and twelve off cycle that seems to suit the various jars and containers quite well.

What makes a true terrarium? A closed glass container which is its own ecosystem, recycling nutrients and water. We have introduced springtails into our terrariums to help with the disposal of decaying herbaceous matter. Horticultural or activated charcoal helps filter water as it recycles via evaporation and condensation. If it doesn’t have a lid, it doesn’t have a regenerative cycle and you have to treat it like a houseplant and water it. With a closed system, watering occurs perhaps once or twice a year, if that.

Terrariums were developed when Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward created a closed environment in a glass and wood case to transport tropical plant specimens from Australia back to England and vice-versa in the first part of the 19th century. You can read more about the history of terrariums here.

Most any glass container with a lid can be used. Serpa Design has a great YouTube video on basic terrarium construction.

Contact us for a free design consultation.

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