Terrariums are making a comeback again! In celebration of that, we are detailing everything – from its origin to its current day uses – so you get a better idea about our green pal!
Background of terrarium
Like many things, the terrarium was discovered accidentally! Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward discovered terrariums (known as Wardian case back then) when he sealed a moth and some mould in a glass jar to observe insect behaviour. A week later, he noticed fern spores and grass germinating in the jar, which he left under sunlight. He continued to leave one of the jars sealed for four years. However, it died as a result of bad air. He then tested it out on a glazed wooden case and found ferns thriving in it.
From Nathaniel’s discovery, the concept of the self-regulating ecosystem was born. It went on to benefit the trade economy then as plants could survive long sea journeys. It even broke China’s monopoly over tea leaves as India could now ship their tea leaves.
Today, terrariums are largely kept as a decoration around homes and offices. In fact, there is a resurgence of interest in owning terrarium today from the 1970s when it was an iconic home décor. That isn’t surprising though, considering how terrariums enhance the look of the place with a touch of nature! Moreover, terrariums are small making them perfect for owning a small piece of greenery with the modern living space, which unfortunately rarely accommodates a garden. Last of all, the fact that it needs very little attention and maintenance makes it great for busy people.
Types of terrarium plants
There are actually many types of terrarium suitable plants you can nurture in your jar. You might have seen succulents, which tend to be more popular on the market. However, should you venture and make your terrarium with other types? We explain more below!
There is no plant more fitting to be the first suggestion than the Fittonia Nerve plant. Also known as the mosaic plant, this plant has its roots from South America rainforest. The plant is a tropical species, getting an all year round green allure, coupled with beautiful veins that contrast with the olive green, such as silver white and pink. Not all Fittonia have the same colour scheme, but they all look distinctively elegant with the secondary coloured veins. Moreover, the plant thrives in a terrarium setting. It detests direct sunlight instead of preferring the fluorescent light and also needing little water to sustain itself. In a non-terrarium setting, this plant could be a piece of work to handle, which is why it is a match made in heaven for the terrarium.
Next up on the list are the succulents. As the word succulent implies, these plants have parts that are thick and juicy, capable of holding the liquid in them to ensure survival in the arid climate. This unique quality, along with their differentiated appearance, makes their kind suitable for living in a terrarium – To look attractive and not be needy (of water), kind of like what we are looking for in our partners too. Some of the famous succulents we are probably acquainted with already are Aloe Vera and the subgroup of cacti. Do note that a sealed terrarium will not be good for the succulent. Hence, succulents are better for an open terrarium! (We will talk more about closed and open terrariums below.)
If I had to pick one plant for my very own terrarium, I would pick the Venus Fly Trap. It’s like keeping a pet demon in my room whose favourite snack happens to be Singaporean’s greatest enemy, the annoying Mosquitoes. With fang-like jaws ready to be unleashed, it is a badass looking terrarium. A point to note, while the plant can survive without insect food for a month or two, if it fails to find its prey, someone has to feed it a live one somehow. Still, this is no reason to stop having a mosquito rattrap. If the fangs are not your preferred weapons of choice, there is also the pitcher plant with its bottomless pit and the Butterworts with its sticky trap. The arsenal is plentiful to choose from. However, the carnivorous plant is incapable of surviving in a closed terrarium so you would have to have an open one.
While the Peperomia species look luscious, there is no distinct characteristic on the outside, like that of the cacti or Fittonia species. Though generally, they do have thick stout stems and fleshy leaves. These can often be used in combination with ferns for the best aesthetic look. They are generally easy to maintain, requiring a constant damp soil, which makes them ideal for a terrarium.
Closed Vs Open terrariums
As suggested by the name, open terrariums are not fully sealed with a lid (or otherwise). As such, it is not a self-sustaining ecosystem because they do not have a water cycle with water vapour escaping into the atmosphere. This means that they have to be watered regularly. Open terrariums are suitable for most plants as but they are better for succulents and carnivorous plants!
On the other hand, a closed terrarium is the one that we usually think of at the mention of a terrarium. They tend to be covered with a lid to allow a water cycle to be established within the glass. While only light is needed, caution needs to be taken to not place a light under direct sunlight as it may cause the plants to overheat. Closed terrariums do need watering as much, around once a month is sufficient.
Figurines used to design terrarium
A huge part of why people love making their own terrariums is customizing it to their taste. At The Fun Empire, we offer a wide variety of figurines to choose from when you make your terrarium with us!
Cats and Dogs
Types of terrarium workshops
At The Fun Empire, we offer two main types of terrarium workshops.
For the individual terrarium workshop, participants would each be building their own terrariums from scratch. At the end of the workshop, everyone would get to take back his or her own personalized terrarium! Experienced and trained facilitators would guide the workshop so that it is suitable for all abilities! One need not worry about having any background in gardening or handling plants as participants would also be advised on how to care for the terrarium to make it last.
Group terrariums are slightly different in that the participants group together to build one terrarium from scratch. They would be building a bigger terrarium as well! Similar to the individual terrarium, the workshop would be led by trained and experienced facilitators and they would not need to have background.
What events is terrarium good for?
A terrarium-making workshop is pretty suitable for a wide range of activities! In fact, The Fun Empire is able to bring the workshop to your space be it the office or a function room. Below, we recommend the best situations for a terrarium workshop based on feedback:
- Team building
What sets Creative Workshops and regular Team Building activities apart is that the former provide learning opportunities that allow participants to not only be instilled with certain values and morals but also to develop and form both hard and soft skills.
Terrarium making is a great team building activity because it promotes the skills of teamwork. The reason why it is such a popular choice is because of its relaxing ambience. Conducted in a laid back setting, it eases teams into a relaxed state, which facilitates sharing of ideas easily. Not only does it hone communication and listening, but it also allows teams to get to know each other on a deeper level. Who knows, maybe it will be a time you discover your team has some really great painters!
Especially for the group terrarium, there will be important decisions to be made and the team has to come to a consensus. This provides the opportunity to understand your team’s way of making decisions.
Whether you are meeting friends over the weekends or colleagues, terrarium is a great way to spend the time! For starters, there will be an activity to bond over that minimizes feeling awkwardness. It is also perfect because it is a therapeutic activity that can help to release the stresses and tension from the workweek. You will definitely be forgetting about your troubles for a bit when you come for terrarium making!
- Interest group activities
If you need to plan an activity for your school’s green club or you would like to gather with your eco-warrior friends, they would be more than happy to take on a terrarium making workshop. Not only is terrarium making good for the environment (more plants, yay) but also it is also good for one’s health. With people adopting healthier lifestyles and making changes to more natural healing, owning a terrarium is a good way.
A terrarium making workshop would make a novel birthday activity for an earth loving person. With a meaningful activity like the terrarium, it could be the gift itself! This would be a great choice for someone who wants a more relaxing birthday party rather than one that involves active games.
- Pick up a new skill
Although it may seem simple, a terrarium workshop may seem intimidating to some. That is why we recommend our terrarium public workshop where you can sign up and learn to make terrarium under the guidance of our facilitators! Moreover, you could even make new friends while you’re at it.