Whilst on holiday in South Africa I have seen so many amazing living walls studded with beautiful succulents. You can see my Instagram pics here. They have given me a lot of inspiration to add to my at home collection when I’m back.
One of my brothers put me on to terrariums a couple of years ago. I was hooked after seeing his fab set up (see below – it’s awesome). I then realised that my Dad has been ahead of the curve for years (main picture below)! Somewhat behind the rest of the family, I took it as a call to action!
Main picture: Some of my Dad’s amazing succulents (he’s streets ahead of the rest of us).
Working from left to right and top to bottom: Triangular Hurricane Candleholder by Marks & Spencer ♥ Inspiration from Majeka Guest House, Stellenbosch ♥ Hanging Planter by Grey Suit Clay (sold out just as I was writing this but you stock is always being replenished and there are similar ones available. I also have one of their mugs and the quality and detail are spot on) ♥ Faceted Terrarium by West Elm ♥ My Dad’s garden ♥ Glass Cube Terrarium by Dinga Ding Terrariums ♥ One of my succulents Inspiration from Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch ♥ My brother’s terrarium (you can buy a similar planter here) ♥ Midi Cage Terrarium by Urban Outfitters ♥ Stone Terrarium by Rowen & Wren ♥ One of my succulentsSmall Glass Terrarium by Urban Outfitters ♥ Glass Pyramid Terrarium by Den & Now ♥
Fast forward a couple of years and I have five (they are all indoor ones unlike my Dad’s which are all outside) . They are low maintenance and really make an impact. You can also buy some really quirky plants to go in them and accessorise them with ornaments. In short, Minimum input, maximum output.
Getting Started: Building your Terrarium
1. Find a Receptical: See below for some of the loveliest terrariums out there. The bottom picture (above) is my own favourite from West Elm. All of those in the pictures above are mine except the display which is Chelsea Flower Show!
2. The Mix: My Dad recommended that I use a 1:1 mix of compost to sharp sand/grit/fine pebbles. You can find all of these items at Homebase or similar. I’ve also found that aquarium gravel is really good and, if you are so inclined to spend the time doing so, you can line the sides of the terrarium with it so no compost is visible (see second picture down on the left). Wilko has a good, cheap range and it is available here too. Handily the size of the bag isn’t too big so it’s quite easy to carry.
3. Plants: Speaking of Wilko, they stock a very good selection of succulents as do most garden centres.
You can, if you have a friend that has an established terrarium, take a cutting. Take an offshoot, then you gently strip the root with your nail (just to scrape away the very outer layer), before popping it into the mix and patting the mix down firmly around it.
Also, Geo Fleur (which was a fantastic recommendation from FoodFashFit – Thanks Gemma!) does a selection pack which they will post to you and a subscription service where you receive a monthly surprise package of plants or plant related accessories.
4. Care: Succulents like their drainage and don’t like to be over watered so do the latter sparingly otherwise you’ll be sticking your hand into your terrarium to pull out your dead, soggy plants. If your succulents are outside and cannot be brought in, then cover them up to stop too much rain getting in over Autumn and Winter (but leave some space at the sides).
Succulents also like to be crammed in together (so don’t re-pot unless you have to). See my Dad’s below he uses old white Belfast sinks (very heavy but look amazing).
I am particularly fond of the faceted terrariums with their geometric shapes. These West Elm ones (see above) are fab and come in small, medium (sold out online) and large, ranging from £29 to £39. They’re also available in black. Over a year ago I bought two more elaborate terrariums (one for me and one for my brother’s birthday present – see above) and must say the quality of them is excellent.
I bought this one (and above) from Marks & Spencer just after Christmas and it’s all set to be planted. Technically it’s sold as a hurricane candle holder but I’m pretty sure, as long as I’m careful when filling it and watering, that it’ll do the job perfectly.
Terrariums can be quite expensive. Nevertheless, I have previously found some very nice quirky ones in TK Maxx (my hexagonal one above is from there) and Butlers (the rectangular ones above are from their sale) at a fraction of the price of other retailers. I would say that on these ones the sides haven’t been water tight so I tend to keep them on pieces of black slate just in case there’s any leaks.
I’d love to hear from you with any suggestions as to plants and terrariums. What are your favourites?