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i have an empty open bowl (approx a foot wide in the middle) that use to contain a terrarium---it was given to my father back in the 70's.

i am interested in creating a new terrarium with living plants. this is a totally new venture for me, so, wondering if anyone could pass along any information they may have.


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You will need LOTS of humidity for the plants in there. Things like ferns etc. Plus put things like Woodbugs in there, to work the soil, they don't get out and do wonders in the terrariums. You can use a gravely type soil on the bottom and then peat mixed with un-fertilized soil, or a type of orchid soil mix. They like to be fairly damp. But humidity is the big thing, otherwise things just don't live............Good Luck with your project. :) I had a couple and sadly they didn't make it! :(

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Never put a terrarium in direct sunlight. It's like roasting your plants. Keep them in bright indirect light.

Many of the plants commonly used in terrariums, such as Peperomias, actually grow quite large, so plan on eventually having to prune the plants and to have to remove and replace them. Miniature African violets do well in terrariums, as long as the soil drains well. They are very pretty, delicate little things, and their blooms can really brighten up your little garden. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Wow, I haven't done proper terrarium in ages, but choice of plants as Kisal said is very important. Slow-growing plants that remain tiny are essential because depending on what you put them in, it won't be easy to get them out. Your bowl will be easier for a beginner for accessibility, but more problematical in terms of humidity unless you have a lid. Even sheet of glass or a glass cooking pot lid will do.

You can also opt for an open terrarium with less humidity dependent plants.

Direct sunlight as Kisal mentioned, hugely messes with the environment in a lidded container. I had... have... a neglected terrarium in a quart-sized canning jar laying on it's side just below that window sill. It gets only the slanted morning light glancing off the top/side of the jar. Mostly collected moss, lichen and grass inside -- they don't need a lot of light. Depending on plants you choose, you may need to provide supplemental fluorescent light.

Two sources of miniature plants I can recommend are and

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