A few months ago I stumbled across a Totoro Terrarium on Pinterest and decided that I had to have one for my office. Since then I have been looking for the perfect Totoro to inhabit the mini desktop forest I was envisioning.
My search was going nowhere until last week when I saw that my favorite local toy store (World of Mirth) had gotten in a shipment of Totoro goodness. I couldn’t wait to get down there and check it out! My husband, Philip, and I headed down there Saturday afternoon and I found the perfect figurine. (I also picked up a really cute fuzzy Totoro wallet. I couldn’t resist!)
Want to make your own? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Large glass container, wide openings work best
- Activated Charcoal (You will only need this if you are making a closed terrarium. You can get this at a nursery or pet supply store.)
- Small rocks or gravel (I used aquarium gravel.)
- Several small plants
- Potting Soil – all purpose houseplant potting soil is fine.
Decide what type of container you want to use for your terrarium. Do you want to use an open or closed container? If you are using a lid, keep in mind that you will want plants that can tolerate humidity. If you are keeping an open top, you could even plant succulents. I picked my container up at Wal-Mart for around $10. You could also check out your local thrift stores or you could turn to the Internet to find something suitable.
When you are choosing your plants, remember to select plants that have the same needs as far as light, moisture & humidity. Your local nursery can help you pick plants suitable for your project. My local nursery (Great Big Greenhouse) has a nice selection of terrarium plants. They also offer free classes on terrarium making, check their website for a schedule.
Once you have your container, plants and other supplies begin layering your terrarium. If your terrarium will have a lid, start with a layer of activated charcoal on the bottom. It will help keep things fresh. You may want to pour the charcoal onto some paper towels before adding it to your container. It can be dusty straight from the box. Next, add at least a 1” layer of small gravel for drainage. Now you are ready for your potting soil. Make sure your soil level is deep enough to entirely cover the roots of your plants. Plant time! Plant taller plants towards the back and shorter ones toward the front. Try to avoid placing your plants directly against the glass.
Now you are ready to add your decorations – small figurines or toys, rocks, bits of wood. Get creative! I think my next terrarium is going to be Star Wars themed – check out these great examples from Pinterest.
I have a terrarium – now what?
Taking care of your terrarium is easy. Every couple of weeks check the soil for dryness and add water as needed. Do not overwater!
You will want to avoid placing your terrarium in direct sunlight, if you do you could cook your plants. Bright areas are fine as long as you avoid direct sunlight.
If your container is closed, remove the lid every couple of weeks to allow for air circulation.
Condensation will form on your container. As a general rule, you want condensation on only one side of your container. If your terrarium is closed and lots condensation has formed, remove the lid and give it a chance to dry out.
Periodically remove yellowing leaves and prune plants that have grown too large.
More information on terrarium care: