Lifestyle

Through the looking glass gardens perfect for indoors

A terrarium is the ultimate, low-maintenance indoor garden.
A terrarium is the ultimate, low-maintenance indoor garden.

TERRARIUMS, or miniscapes if you like, are as quintessentially '70s as Marimekko fabrics, orange cookware and flares. But like all things retro, they're back, with a modern twist.

A terrarium is the ultimate, low-maintenance indoor garden and can be made out of any clear glass or plastic container.

Anything from the humble glass pickle jar to a specially made terrarium case.

Their development is credited to Englishman Dr Nathaniel Ward, who invented a glass case - known now as the Wardian case - around the mid 1800s.

Ward, who studied caterpillars and moths, was experimenting with a cocoon in a covered jar when he discovered a fern had grown in the soil at the jar's base.

It seems so simple. Take a glass bowl or jar, fill it with gravel, pebbles, soil and plants and hey presto, there's your terrarium. But there's more to it than that.

Don Burke of Burke's Backyard has a few tips to creating your own mini garden.

Pick a container

Terrarium containers must be clear glass or plastic.

You can use fish bowls, glass jars, jugs, vases or special terrarium containers. If you are using a closed container the cover should be transparent.

Corks can be used for small openings in jars.

Containers with large, uncovered openings can be used, but the humidity will not be as high as that in enclosed terrariums.

In addition, unenclosed containers need to be watered more often.

The container must be clean, or bacteria, fungi and algae will thrive.

Planting tips

Add a layer of gravel or small pebbles to the bottom of your container to help with drainage.

Cover this with a layer of charcoal (available from pet shops), to prevent the potting mix from becoming sour.

Place a light layer of sphagnum moss over the top of the charcoal to prevent the potting mix from sifting down into the drainage area.

The best growing medium for terrariums is a good quality commercial potting mix that has been sterilised.

Unsterilised homemade mixes may contain fungi and algae, which will spoil the terrarium.

You can reduce the root ball of plants in a closed terrarium by nearly half and it won't harm plants.

Plants

Many plants are suitable for terrariums.

Moisture-loving houseplants from tropical and subtropical regions are ideal.

Low-growing plants are preferred, but if using taller plants, pinch back their tips occasionally.

Choose plants that have similar temperature, light and water requirements.

Low maintenance

Once established, a terrarium will need only minimal maintenance.

This simply involves checking that the light and moisture levels are adequate, and perhaps pruning any overgrown plants.

A closed terrarium may not need watering for several months, as plants recycle moisture.

Terrariums with an open top will require more frequent watering.

Plant care facts

The ones with lids don't need much water as they're like a mini ecosystem but the open containers need watering every two weeks.

Moisture-loving, low-growing plants are ideal for terrariums: African violets, baby's tears, silver net plants, ferns, begonias and succulents.

Creeping fig is another good choice to create a lush, dense jungle.

Use goldfish bowls, kitchen jars, vases, bottles and even light bulbs.

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  garden gardening lifestyle plants



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Police thank life savers for efforts in search for swimmer

Crews search after it was reported a swimmer was seen in distress off Cabarita Beach

Police working with NSW Surf Life Saving

Qld Police fired at alleged gunman then saved his life

Forensic crime scene police arrived at the underground carpark of the Solaire Apartments on the corner of Ferny Avenue and Cypress Avenue, Surfers Paradise

“The whole block was surrounded by police..."

Police send warning after yet another mountain rescue

Police in operation Unite. Police hat.
Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Meanwhile, a surfer had his board stolen after leaving it in bushes.

Local Partners

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Meet the new Marco on MasterChef Australia: Yotam Ottolenghi

Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi will be a guest chef for a week on the 2017 season of MasterChef Australia.

AFTER Marco’s defection to Seven, MasterChef signs a true food hero.

Big Bang spin-off to be about kid Sheldon

Jim Parsons in a scene from the TV series The Big Bang Theory.

Actor Jim Parsons has dished on an upcoming Big Bang Theory spin-off

How Adam Brand’s Nashville dream fell apart

Country music singer Adam Brand talks about how heartbreak stopped him chasing his Nashville dream.

SINGER reveals how heartbreak stopped him from chasing his dream.

What's on the small screen this week

Grant Denyer will host Channel 10's Australia Day concert from the Sydney Opera House.

STAR-studded Australia Day celebrations and fascinating docos.

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Casuarina tops Tweed house market at $870,000

Casuarina recorded the region's top median prices for both houses ($870,000) and units ($435,000).

Buyers jumping at chance to get into Tweed property market

Beautiful Terranora acreage

77 Mahers Lane, Terranora.

Check out this week's feature property.

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

'Difficult times': Rental prices tipped to increase in 2017

GREAT BUYS: There are some great rentals and houses to buy in South Gladstone. Head to gladstoneobserver.com.au for the top 10 homes under $100 to rent right now in the Gladstone region.

Investors may soon see a "profitable return” on properties.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!