Last week, I told you all about the cocktails I tried at the Birdhouse Tea Company in Sheffield. I mentioned that there was terrarium making too and, as a person who has killed many a supplement, this was what I was really there for.
Succulents, I’ve always been told, are easy to look after and very hardy. “You can’t kill them” my mother squawed at me, “they’re so easy to keep alive” my friends told me. Yet my living room became a graveyard to these popular little plants and I was all for giving up hope of having a Pinterest worthy window ledge full of succulents in various shapes and colours and geometric terrariums on every end table. But Emma from Moss & Clover has restored my faith and told me what I have been doing wrong at the Birdhouse Tea Company Tea Cocktails and Tea Cup Terrarium class I went on recently. So, if you want to create a home full of green and pleasant desert plants, read on dear friend.
First of all, what I was doing wrong. Watering. I was watering too much, at the wrong times and in the wrong places. What a nit! Here are three rules for watering your succulents.
1. Don’t water them from September to March
2. Don’t get water on the leaves
3. Only water them once a month until the soil is just moist and definitely don’t leave them standing in water or let the soil get sopping.
As desert dwellers (and largely without spikes – spikes belong to their popular cousins the cactus), succulents like it warm and they like it sunny. They also like to spend summer outside, so once all danger of frost has gone, you can send them on a little holiday to your garden where they will bask in any sunlight we get. If you want to keep them in a little corner of the house that isn’t very light, all is not lost – just make sure they get to go on a window ledge every now and again to get the sun on them. Or you can try ferns, which also don’t require much water (you spray them rather than water them) and don’t need much light as ground living forest folk shaded by canopies of trees.
So, feeling more confident about your abilities to keep a succulent alive for the years it’s meant to live? Me too! And here’s the tea cup terrarium I made, also easy-peasy lemon-squeezy – a centimetre of charcoal on the bottom, a centimetre of proper cactus compost (from the garden centre, inexpensive, and doesn’t go off so lasts ages), a couple of succulents (gently squeeze the roots and get rid of some of the compost there) placed on top, more cactus compost around it, a few stones (you can get proper terrarium ones or buy aquarium stones from pet shops), a bit of special moss and Bob’s your uncle, a tea cup terrarium. I used an Echiveria and a Senecio in mine, and there are some pictures below of other varieties so you can impress all your friends with your green-fingered knowledge.
I loved making this terrarium, and it’s fair to say I’m now obsessed with them. If you know someone who loves these teeny green gardens, here are some gifts I think they might like:
Ohnorachio makes these mini terrarium kits:
Kim makes these itty-bitty and super-cute terrarium necklaces and pin badges
And there’s this lovely notebook from Emma Allard Smith
I’d love to see your Succulents and terrariums. Tag me in your Twitter and Instagram: @elm_rocks.