Mighty Life List
Jan 10 2007

How To Make Nesting Terrariums

Originally uploaded by MaggieMason.

I like dirt. Unfortunately, apartment living in San Francisco doesn’t afford much opportunity for gardening, and we travel so much that most houseplants come with a built-in death sentence.

I decided I wanted to make some terrariums with succulents, so we’d have some green around that didn’t require too much upkeep. Here are the results.

I used antique apothecary jars that we picked up at the flea market for $60 each. We bought two small bags of cactus mix, which I used as a base, and one bag of decorative gravel to pour over the top. The project was surprisingly easy, but I still managed to trip over a few things. So:

Mistakes for you to avoid

-My jars came with lids. I think this would be great for ferns, which love humidity, but not so good for cacti. I ended up just taking them off because everyone looked sad, but the lids are so awesome that I’m bummed.

-Most of the bigger plants we bought were useless because there was such a small area to landscape. The two-inch plants were ideal, and way, way cheaper to boot. As you can see, I ended up putting most of the bigger plants in pots and vases I had laying around. (Yes, I have entirely too much stuff laying around.)

-I put one bigger plant in a jar because I loved it so much, and ended up bruising the crap out of it. Also, some of the outer leaves were touching the jar, which kills them. It looks like I’ll need to cut off all the outer ring of foliage to keep things from getting dire.


-I used a few plants that don’t need dirt, and they were heavenly. Impossible to kill or bruise, and super easy to place.

-I plan to get some little ceramic dinosaurs and things to place among the plants, as I think it would be hilarious. Mushrooms would be equally funny in a woodland scene.

I’m watering every few days with a couple squirts from a spray bottle, and it seems to be working out, but I watered the soil at first to give the plants help with transition. UPDATE: Gayla says:
“Misting the soil directly about once a month is all that is needed for most cacti and succulents of the desert sort. Unlike most plants they don’t need to be watered when planted but prefer to adjust for a few days before a first water.
Definitely keep those lids off! Even with the humidity-loving tilandsia ’cause the lack of air circulation will drive them straight to Death By Rot.”

That’s it! Do this, it’s fun.

Jan 31 2006


The fantastic DIY magazine ReadyMade just launched a blog, and I’ll be posting there every Tuesday. In other news, Bryan sent in a description of our engagement for the February edition of the magazine. We’re under the subtitle “The Pyromaniacs.” Go see.

Jan 17 2005

The People That You Meet

I adore this project. You take photos of the people in your neighborhood holding signs that have the lyrics to the “Sesame Street” song. Heather and Derek did a great one.