Terrariums are charming and trendy. And they're undeniably a wonderful accent for your jungle bungalow aesthetic.  However, something magical gets lost when the terrarium becomes a consumable object.  The best terrariums are made or given in the spirit of a memory or place and contains objects you have collected on your travels.  The magic happens when there is a dialogue between the terrarium and a person.  You will find tending a symbol of a place is much like tending to the memories you have of it. 

When Holli Friley makes terrariums she does so with memories of hikes in the Red River Gorge or playing in streams with her son.  Terrariums made with this spirit sets her creations apart from just a trend.  So when you endeavor to make your own, spend a few minutes visualizing a beautiful place you've visited and incorporate stones and other mementos you picked up.  You'll feel the magical quality your terrarium grow as you make it.


 To Create a Healthy Terrarium:

  1. Chose any vessel that speaks to you. 
  2. Terrariums usually don't have drainage so it is key to create a drainage layer.  The purpose of this layer is to hold excess water.  Start with rinsed gravel on the bottom, add one cup of activated charcoal for every gallon of soil you're using.
  3. Make a filter layer.  This layer separates the drainage layer from the soil and filters out soil particles.  If soil gets into your drainage layer it creates a place where mildew and disease can live.  For woodland terrariums we like to use an evenly distributed layer of sphagnum moss at least 1/2 inch thick.  For succulent terrariums we'll often use window screening.
  4. Add a thin layer of soil and you can start placing your hardscape.  A hardscape is the non-botanical foundation of a design.  Imagine rocky cliff walls and stream beds, or in an urban landscape sidewalks and benches. 
  5. After planning and placing your hardscape, plant with intent.  Choose plants that lend themselves to your vision.  Massage their root ball loose and plant with more soil up until the top of the root ball.
  6. Add plants and other hardscape accents and play around with the overall look.  Add and subtract and really take your time with your terrarium.
  7. When you have the largest elements of your design finished, add what we call the "top dressing" or the decorative top layer that includes smaller rocks and sand, mosses and pieces of wood.

    Terrarium Care - Imagine a place in your house or office where you wouldn't mind living the rest of your life.  If you could live there, your terrarium can too.

    • Keep in bright, but indirect light.
    • Keep out of drafts.
    • If your terrarium has a lid, keep it cracked so it ventilates.
    • Water carefully.  A woodland terrarium doesn't ever want to be dried out, but it doesn't want to be swimming in water either.
    • Trim plants to keep small as needed.
    • Admire.
      Anna Campomanes