BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

Not having enough space at home is one of the main concerns among gardeners. But with available resources, they can easily solve this problem and be able to enjoy growing plants. And for those who are looking to create a dainty garden without having to worry about space, they can try terrarium gardening.

Terrariums are like mini-greenhouses for particular plants. The enclosure, usually made of glass, houses plants of different varieties that are sometimes partnered with other elements such as stones, wood, and more to create a small replica of nature.

Many hobbyists enjoy creating terrariums because they get to grow plants while also expressing their creativity with the various designs they can try. One such hobbyist is Froilan N. Aloro, a registered nurse by profession who is currently working as an operations manager in  BGC for a US-based company.

Aloro started making terrariums in July 2020. Around the same time, he started his brand TerraPlantaePH which features moss terrariums that are made from materials that he acquired from scouting various local areas. He also created Terrarium Philippines, a Facebook group for terrarium hobbyists like him.  He offers some tips on creating a terrarium:

(Click here to find out how Aloro sources local areas for materials in his terrariums)

Using available materials for his terrariums

When creating terrariums, Aloro uses resources that are readily available to him.

Aloro uses readily available materials to create his terrariums.

“I always believe that making a terrarium is a hobby, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Because that is the point of doing it as a hobby, to spend some time making and enjoying it and not to worry about spending too much,” he said.

He applies this same concept in his business, except he also invests in quality glass materials to give his customers a good view of the small garden inside.

The terrarium hobbyist added that contrary to common belief, terrarium-making is fairly easy and doesn’t require fancy gadgets to start making one.

“Also, aside from the glass, the rest of the materials are available in your backyard; just gather dome dead twigs, dried leaves, garden soil, a few rocks, charcoal, some plants growing outside, and voila! you have a terrarium,” he said.

Other than using local and available materials, Aloro also invests in glass containers that allow terrariums to be viewed well.

Two kinds of terrariums

Unknown to many, there are two types of terrariums: open and closed.

Closed terrariums are more popular because these are the ones kept in enclosures, commonly made of glass, and are allowed to thrive on their own without too much maintenance.

An example of a closed terrarium.

Plants that are suitable for this type of setup are miniature ferns, mosses, spider plants, Golden pothos, and Venus flytraps among others.

When creating a closed terrarium, Aloro said that it must have three requirements for it to thrive. These are high moisture, high humidity, and a light source.

Luckily, closed terrariums naturally create high ambient air moisture. Humidity also won’t be much of a problem as long as the terrarium is kept from extreme heat and light.

Misting is sometimes needed to keep the plants moist, but is not always necessary. Misting can minimize the need for watering but doesn’t replace it. Watering can be done at least once a month or when the soil feels dry.

On the other hand, open terrariums are those that have an opening in their enclosure and are suitable for plants that love the sun but don’t require a moist environment. Examples of plants are succulents, air plants, and cacti.

When caring for open terrariums, remember that they need to be in a bright spot where they get filtered or indirect light since glass magnifies the sun and could cause damage to the plants and other elements should they be exposed to intense, direct heat.

“A terrarium doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to follow strict rules in the design, except for the basic layering, the rest only falls on the artists’ creativity and imagination,” Aloro said.

If properly cared for, terrariums can thrive well on their own and require minimal care.

He added that in the end, there are no ugly terrariums because in making one, it always uses nature as an inspiration, and nature is imperfect but never ugly.

Through creating terrariums, Aloro and many other hobbyists like him have the satisfaction of creating a small garden where they can unleash their creativity and not worry about space. As long as they’re given the proper care and attention that they need, terrariums can last for a long time to add a character in any space.

For more information, visit TerraPlantae or Terrarium Philippines on Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Froilan N. Aloro