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I made this terrainium two years ago and I have enjoyed it so much. I had a few problems keeping it looking nice.The first one grew an icky mold. I changed the plants out a couple of times then just gave up, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. It looked so cool as the center piece in my March tablescape and then in April with my Easter mantle. If you haven’t figured it out yet I’m a bit obsessive. I can’t help it. It’s undeniably a family trait. Then one day I was purusing through the craft section of my local WalMart and there it was…the perfect solution to my dilemma! Artificial succulent stems. They were small just like the originals and they had a wonderful assortment. They were a little pricey, but I didn’t need more than 5 or 6 so I went for it! I brought them home and had clean up and redo the jar, but boy was the pay off worth it! It literally looked identical to the first one, possibly better. The best part is that I never have to worry with it. And, yes, if you’re wondering I have killed more than my share of cactus. For starters I live in a VERY humid climate. Then I tend to over water plants. For cactus that makes for a lethal combination. Now, you most certainly use live cactus if you want to take that on. I will include instructions for both in my tutorial. In fact I made one for my sister for her birthday that year and hers did very well living just down the road, it I wanted the lid to stay on mine and that works great if you live in an arid climate, but here in East Texas that simply will not do. Let’s break it down…
- 1 Gallon Anchor Hocking Heritage Glass Canister-These are sold at WalMart and Amazon, and I am sure at about just about any big chain discount or craft store. The link is for WalMart. I am including the Amazon ad so that you can see what it looks like, but it is twice the price on Amazon.
- Rocks-I bought these at Walmart for $4.98 but resently saw some just as good at Dollar Tree. You would need two packs of the ones from Dollar Tree.
- Soil-Just get something cheap. Even if you use real plants, they’re cactus. My son spilled one of the originals of these and when I moved the freezer a few months later to clean, there were some still alive behind the freezer. They had plenty of light but no soil or water. Apparently they thrive on neglect. Anyway, I digress. Did you know they have little bags of soil at Dollar Tree? I probably wouldn’t grow my organic, heirloom tomatoes in it, but it will be fine for cactus.
- 5-6 succulent stems or plants-As I stated earlier in the article I got mine at WalMart, but I know for a fact that they have them at Hobby Lobby. Both are a little pricey, but you don’t need that many. However, fast forward a year later and I bought some at Dollar Tree today. For $1 a piece I thought they looked just fine. In fact the lady behind me at the checkout was admiring them and said, “They’re real right?” They are running out fast so don’t wait if you want to explore that option. for both artificial and real I bought a variety of shapes colors and heights to give it interest.
- Moss-Real or fake. You can get that at the Dollar Tree as well. I used it to keep the soil from falling through the rocks.
- Activated Charcoal-Like the kind you use for a fish aquarium filter. You only need this ingredient if you use live plants as it helps absorb any odors from the soil and helps to keep it from getting a sour smell.
Step two – On top of the rocks, place a layer of moss. This is to keep the soil from falling through the rocks and to hold a little moisture for the plants if you use real succulents. I exaggerated this in the photo so it would be visible. You don’t need that much Moss and I ball it up in the center so it doesn’t show between the layers.
Step three – over the moss place some moist soil. By using moist soil, you will avoid a lot of it falling down below and into the rocks. Again, you will want to make this layer 1/4-1/3 thick. If you are using real succulents, you will want to put the soil down in two layers. Place a layer of activated choral in between. If you are using fake it will dry and leave it in more of a chunk rather than loose pieces that fall to the bottom and you lose those clean lines that make it so attractive.
Step four – Place succulent picks into the top of the soil or dig out some small impressions to plant the real ones. I suggest playing around with the arrangement of the real plants before planting them.
Step five – Place the jar wherever you would like. If the plants are real you should place in an area of warm, bright light. If you put the lid on, be cognoscent of any condensation. If you see condensation, immediately remove the lid and leave off until soil is dry. Only give it a little water when the soil is completely dry and leave the lid off for a few days afterward. Seriously, I think you could water this thing every few months and it would be fine.
And here it is…
It would also make a nice birthday or teacher gift. I am including the tag I made for it on my sister’s birthday as well as one that says “Thanks for helping me grow!” to use as a teacher gift. If you use real plants you certainly want to put directions on the back of the card as most people have no idea how to care for succulents. I went by WalMart on my way home today and the little girl in the garden center was just a watering them. I was thinking she had no idea she was really just giving them the herbal version of water boarding. I decided not to tell her.
Click here for your free printable. I cut them out then glued them to a craft paper tag and attached it with some jute. Leave your pictures in the comments below. I’d love to see yours!