The best indoor plant – ever…

I like plants – and planting – and growing stuff – but I prefer to keep my plants outside.

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People are often surprised that I am anti-indoor plants because I do love plants so much.  This summer I started an edible garden.  I also finished up my skinny side yard this year to optimize planting space.  Finally, I reorganized our existing side yard garden this fall – because I like doing stuff like that.  I can see why one would assume that I would have at least a few indoor plants.

Here’s the story.

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I have had indoor plants in the past.  It just didn’t work out for me.  I would forget to water them.  It was a pain to have to fertilize and repot.  Dusting leaves every week or so was too much maintenance for me.  Then, I read a book about simplifying life.  I took the author’s advice and got rid of my indoor plants.  I have since planned my outdoor gardens so that I can see outdoor plantings from every window.  I haven’t much missed having indoor plants – until last winter.

I have a great kitchen window – south facing, sunny, perfect conditions for growing something.  I thought about an herb garden – and might still do that this coming winter.    Instead though, I jumped on the terrarium bandwagon.  It was a blast from the past!  Terrariums were the thing during my childhood.  In fact, I remember creating a terrarium or two in my time – and making a macrame hanger to hang my terrarium from the ceiling – it was totally fun!

Ok, back to this century.  I found a bubbly glass container at West Elm that I considered perfect – tall, skinny, with a loose fitting lid.

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The plant I chose for my terrarium has worked out great.  It is a sedum with low water needs.  Plus, it is interesting, spiked, textured, and has white contrasting stripes.

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Recently I added a miniature animal for fun.  I probably have 100 or so miniatures from my childhood.  This little goose (or is it a swan?) was the very first miniature ever in my life.  I think he was a Valentine’s Day – or St. Patrick’s Day – surprise from my mom.  I am now wondering if I want to rotate my miniatures out of their storage box and through the terrarium – for a little variety – maybe weekly – I will keep you updated…

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Anyway, I haven’t watered this plant since I planted it – almost a year ago!  This is the best indoor plant – ever!  I am officially back in the land of indoor plant living – with my terrarium – it’s nice to be back.

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And – I like my indoor plant so much that I decided to give a mini version as Christmas gifts this year to family and friends.  It is a fun project for me, inexpensive, and easy to do.  I also really like that the gift is living, but low maintenance for the receiver.

My first task was to find a container that would work.  I initially chose this option with a wooden lid but discovered (after planting) that it was not optimal.  It was too small in diameter  and the wooden lid cast a shadow – the plant couldn’t really be seen.  I didn’t even snap a photo of the debacle because I was distracted and distraught that my initial effort didn’t work out (did you notice that I threw in a little Dr. Seuss with the debacle, distracted and distraught?).  I quickly unplanted and made a trip back to the store in search of something that would work – at 8pm – on Saturday night – in below freezing weather.

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The options were vast.  I finally decided on the style below – a little larger in diameter and significantly less expensive than my original choice.  So, the trip to the store in the dark, freezing weather was worth it.

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I wanted a loose fitting lid so the plants can get a little air.  I am not sure if it is a requirement – maybe, the plants create their own air?  I don’t know – my terrarium has a loose fitting lid and it has worked out nicely.  So, my goal here was to recreate that type of microsystem in the mini versions.  I removed the rubber ring that is intended to make the container air tight – to create a loose fitting lid.

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A layer of pretty pea gravel – for drainage and visual interest.  Some potting soil. Some plants from our local nursery.  I chose sedum for my gift terrariums as well since this particular type of plant has worked out so well for me in my own terrarium.

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Some more pea gravel as a top layer.  I like the striped look of the pea gravel and the potting soil here.

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I still want to add a miniature of some sort – similar to the goose miniature in my own terrarium – for a bit of whimsy.

I hope everybody likes their terrariums!