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Use Glass Christmas Balls to Make Miniature Terrariums for Living Plants

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Miniature Terrariums for Living Plants Made From Glass Christmas Balls
A miniature glass terrarium ball planted with thyme and decorated with a tiny dolls house mole.

A miniature glass terrarium ball planted with thyme and decorated with a tiny dolls house mole.

Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Miniature terrariums for living plants can be made from clear or recycled glass Christmas balls. You can use the balls for cuttings from plants you own, but want to give as gifts, plants grown from seeds, or for tiny scenes made from plants which will stay small for a long time.

The terrariums are best made up to six weeks before they are given as gifts. It will take several weeks for the system to settle down and for the plant roots to get established.

Terrariums which contain seedlings, cuttings or plants grown as gifts, will need to be broken apart eventually to give the plant a full sized home. Terrariums which contain slow growing sedums or tilsandias, or plants like miniature African violets which will not outgrow their glass ball, can be left inside the glass ball indefinitely.

If you give the terrarium as a gift, include a tag with growing information, and instructions for how to free the plants from their glass home, by wrapping the ball in several layers of newspaper and giving it a sharp tap with a hammer to break the glass. Gloves must be worn when moving the plants out of the broken glass container.

The exteriors and interiors of terrariums made from glass balls can be decorated with a variety of miniature items, a small resin mole has been added to this planting of thyme, to make a humorous gift for a gardening friend who does battle with moles. Other dolls house or railroad miniatures can also be used to make small scenes amongst the greenery.

You can decorate the exterior of the terrarium with paints, stickers, flocking, glitter or other materials if you chose.

Good Plant Candidates for Glass Ball Terrariums Include:

  • Many small leaved sedums, or sempervirums - house leeks or stonecrops.
  • Small leaved varieties of ground cover herbs, including many thymes, corsican mint, and babies tears.
  • Miniature African violets - of a size which can remain permanently inside a glass ball.
  • Seedlings of heritage vegetables, or special perennials, which can be sown inside a glass terrarium for germination.
  • Small pre chilled bulbs for forcing (in larger glass Christmas balls) especially some smaller varieties of species crocus.

    Note Read all the steps before you start, to make sure it will be possible to fit your plants into the glass ornament.

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