Closed Terrarium Project

Our first closed terrarium (made out of a gallon juice container) stayed sealed for two years before the plant died.

This year we’re trying a glass container with a better seal.

Educational value can be found in a mini demonstration of the water cycle, discussion of plant respiration, ongoing observation, discussion and problem solving. Children of all ages can help out with this great and simple family project.

Materials:

  • small rocks for drainage (3.99 USD)
  • sphagnum moss (2.99 USD for a very large bag)
  • activated charcoal (from pet store, I’ve had it so long, I can’t recall the price)
  • potting soil (varies, I used left over from our planters)
  • small tropical house plant with low to medium water needs, generously pre-watered (important, no other watering happens- 5.99 USD)
  • Glass Jar (got this one at michaels, 9.99 USD)

We started by  putting drainage rocks in the bottom of our jar.

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then a layer of sphagnum moss to separate the layers.

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then came a layer of activated charcoal. (keeps mold away)

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and finally the soil and plant.

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We closed it up and wrote the date it was sealed on a piece of tape on the lid.

If all goes well, it should last awhile, filling the jar and dying back a few times. Our previous one was kept in the kitchen, but this time we’re placing it in the living room.

There is already a good bit of condensation on the glass, before long it will trickle down to the soil.

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I plan to do a one, three, six, and annual update if it goes as expected. If it doesn’t we can hypothesize about what went wrong and adjust for next time.

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Have you ever kept a closed terrarium? How did it go?

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3 thoughts on “Closed Terrarium Project

  1. wandermood says:

    Hi, what a great idea! I might actually try and do this with my sons. I can already see them walking past the jar/box and staring in occasionally. Thanks for the post!

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