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Have an Overgrown or Dying Terrarium? Get Creative with a Makeover

If you’ve been taking good care of your terrarium, there’s a good chance that the plants will begin to outgrow the space. Or maybe you let the watering go a bit too long and the plants are brown and crunchy. It’s Okay! It happens to the best of us. I have both overgrown plants and dead ones in the same terrarium sometimes.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

That’s life (and death).

It doesn’t mean that it’s time to toss the whole thing out, though. A terrarium makeover is a wonderful form of garden therapy, after all. I promise your interest in it will be as renewed as the plants are!Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

This geometric terrarium was planted two years ago and I have lovingly tended to it and enjoyed it over that time.

Now it’s starting to look a bit crazy. Give your overgrown or unhealthy terrarium a makeover

With leaves growing up to the center bending, curling, and escaping the space, this terrarium is a mess. Plus, it is very hard to keep watered. The plants are now too large for the small amount of soil that the terrarium can hold, so it’s time for a makeover.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it beautiful

Sound familiar?

Lucky you. You get to completely redesign your terrarium garden with me!

Get Creative with a Terrarium Makeover

Materials

  • Geometric terrarium
  • Indoor potting soil
  • 2″ pots of tropical houseplants
  • Bark, stones, and other decorative items
  • Clay mushrooms or other decorations of your preference

Make(over) it!

Start by removing everything in the terrarium. Any overgrown plants can be transplanted into larger pots while you head out and shop for some new ones.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

As you can see, I do not use drainage rocks in my terrarium designs. The space for the soil is too precious to give up for pebbles. Instead, I water carefully and thoughtfully.

To know when to water, simply test the soil with your finger. If the soil is cool and moist, water isn’t needed. If it is dry and warm, it’s time to water. After you have watered, check back in 30 minutes. Has the water all absorbed into the soil? You can test it by tipping the terrarium to see is any water pours out. If so, you have overwatered. Soon you will learn the right amount to give the terrarium and it won’t be much of an issue.

Tip: keep a thin-spouted watering can nearby so you can quickly water the terrarium if it feels dry. If one of my plants feels dry, I will go ahead and water them all. It’s not a fail-proof system, but it works for me.

You can also add charcoal to the soil. It keeps the soil “sweet,” meaning that it helps to remove odor and toxins that can result from standing water.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

Lay out the plants on the soil to get a feel for the design. Place taller plants at the back of the terrarium and shorter ones at the front. Choose complementary foliage textures and colors. If all of the plants have variegated broad leaves it will look like just one large plant.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

Remove the plants from the nursery pots and plant them in the soil. Water the soil well and pour off any excess water that isn’t absorbed in 30 minutes.Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

Once the plants are in, get creative with decorative elements. Items such as found bark and stones look right at home in a terrarium, as do moss, glass, ceramic, and miniature garden figurines.

The design is where you can get creative and show off your personality!

Give a terrarium a makeover every few years to keep it looking beautiful.

 

Comments

  1. What a lovely idea! Adding the little toadstools/mushrooms, a nice, decorative touch, now all you need is to watch for the little fairies darting between your plants and hiding under them! You’ve sparked my creative ideas! I was just browsing, looking for ideas to change my out grown terrarium, and ‘voila! Thankyou!

    Reply
  2. I have a round glass large bowl with a small opening and have a couple of large cactus that have basically taken over and coming out the top. Can I cut them and replant them.

    Reply
    • Hi Bill, it really depends on the type of plant but some cacti would not respond well to being cut. Succulents and Opuntia (Prickly Pear) would though, as long as you are cutting in the right spots. I would research your plant specifically for help on that.

      Reply

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