Jeff Green | Mar 19, 2009
Back to HomeMaster Gardeners - March 19, 2009 Terrarium & dish gardens
by Margaret Inwood Lanark County Master Gardeners
A terrarium is a miniature landscape indoor garden in a covered transparent container, other than a bottle. It is generally a glass container with a lid, such as a fish tank. Plants must be completely confined within the container and no cut flowers or cut plant material is allowed. Careful selection of plants is required for a successful terrarium. Terrariums should not be placed in direct sunlight as it is magnified by the glass of the container and can cause burn on the plants. Choose plants about the same size in a variety of textures and shades of green, silver and white. Varieties that shed their leaves and petals are unsuited for this type of garden. To construct the garden, start by adding a layer of small stones to act as drainage. Cover this with sphagnum moss or vermiculite to a depth of ¾ inch. Next apply a thin layer of charcoal to help keep the earth sweet and avoid mould. Lastly add sterilized potting medium. The depth of the medium will be determined by the size of the container. Once planted and watered, a terrarium is very low-maintenance as no further water is required. Leaves give off water through transpiration and later reuse it. If condensation appears and is not reabsorbed, it means that in the original planting, the soil was too moist. You can either wipe off a little of the moisture or leave off the lid for a few hours.
A dish garden is a miniature landscape in an open shallow container. The plants should have similar cultural requirements and may include accessories to scale. In this type of garden, water with soluble fertilizer will be needed. These gardens can be attractive conversation pieces and a focal point in your living room.
For more gardening information phone Helen Halpenny at 613-256-3219