image of deep tall terrarium from top view

Will Planting A Tall Terrarium Work? Trying It!

Several months ago, I purchased a tall column made from clear glass and I thought “Wouldn’t that make a great Tall Terrarium?” It was from a Thrift Store and I think I paid $3.99 for it. Bargain!

Planting a tall terrarium is not something I have tried so far. There is the challenge of reaching far enough down into it to plant my choice of plants. Not to mention tending them later. What about watering?

image of houseplants on shelf including tall terrarium with Brasil vine
Tall Terrarium drying out the evening I planted her.

I guess I am going to find out the answers to my questions as we go and then I will know if this is successful or another one of my fails.

How big is this Tall Terrarium?

The column of this tall terrarium is approximately 27 inches tall and has a diameter of 7 inches. If I plant at least two plants, I think I need to have a decent amount of soil, right?

So I plan to add about 10 inches of soil and charcoal mix, adding chicken grit to give it good drainage. I don’t want to add perlite since I don’t like those white specks floating on the surface of the soil.

Especially since it will be a glass see-through planter, I don’t want a lot of those pellets of perlite forming “snowdrifts” on the soil surface.

image of glass tall terrarium with potting soil & white perlite
Guess I will have perlite, it was in the potting soil

Chicken grit (which is crushed granite) should also add some weight to the bottom of the column giving it a bit more stability. We definitely don’t need this one to be “tippy.”

What Am I Planting In The Tall Terrarium?

Previously I trimmed some growth from a Philodendron Brasil and I think this fairly vigorous grower will do well in the terrarium.

Also I am deciding whether I want to plant a Pilea glauca or a Peperomia serpens “Costa Rica.” I have starts of both of them which are growing rapidly, and I am leaning toward the Pilea glauca as my choice.

Pilea glauca
Pilea glauca for my tall terrarium?
Peperomia serpens Costa Rica
Peperomia serpens for my tall terrarium

Why Plant These in a Tall Terrarium?

I am planning to also “plant” some branches of white wood reaching from the bottom of the planter and hanging out the top. Not sure how this will work, but I love to experiment.

There are three branches of white and at first, I was going to use all three. But I realized that this would probably be too crowded. So I am using only two.

image of closeup of jute twine securing vine to branch in tall terrarium
Jute twine holds vine to branch

I will anchor the rooted ends of the Brasil and the ends of the branches deep into the soil. My hope is that the vining Philodendron Brasil will climb and twine around those branches. ( I am giving it a little head start with twine as you will see in the video.)

Do you think it will?

In addition, the Pilea glauca is also a vining plant but its habit is more of a ground cover than a climber. Right now, in a hanging pot, it cascades over the sides and vines downward. Will it climb upwards? We shall see.

Planting A Tall Terrarium - Will The Philodendron Brasil Climb Those Branches? Or the Pilea Glauca?
Watch me planting the tall terrarium

Planting A Tall Terrarium Experiment

I feel like I need to place this terrarium where it will get bright light, but not direct sun. Direct sun might get the magnification effect from the sun and burn the plant, so I will need to be careful.

Rotating the Tall Column Terrarium will be necessary for even growth (if it grows upward.) I could put it on a small turntable or just do a quarter-turn every week like I do the Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Here is my Tall Terrarium. What Do You Think?

image of tall column terrarium all planted up
27 inch tall terrarium in evening light

She seems to be taking off quite well, and I am monitoring her water levels to be sure she gets just the right amount of moisture. When planted in glass, I can see right through the wall and know when she is dry and when she is dark and moist.

That is the attraction of terrariums for me. I think they are my next favorite container for houseplants after hypertufa. Though I do think hypertufa is suited more for outdoors than indoors. How are you going to get that weathered patina?

But for winter and all these cool days ahead of us, I will play in my terrariums. After all, in winter I can still go buy plants when they are little enough to fit inside a box to take home in the cold!

Update on Tall Terrarium – Wow, It Has Grown!

Tall Terrarium Update
May 2021 – 7 months later

I am really pleased by how well this plant has done in the tall terrarium. The colors have stayed bright on the Philo Brasil and the Pilea glauca has climbed all over and is even clinging to the vines of the Brasil to go upward.

I did saw off the tops of the wood branches at the top level of the glass. After thinking about it and observing for a while, it seemed to me that it would look better without those branches sticking out.

Tall Terrarium Update May 2021

Here is a little more close-up view so you can see how well the P. glauca is filling up the base and climbing higher and higher. I think if will soon be snipping cuttings from the Pilea as she grows out the top.

Very pleased with my vining Brasil houseplant in a Tall Terrarium. Easy to work with and water. Let’s do more!

One Comment

  1. Hello, I found your article on planting a tall terrarium really helpful..thanks, Richard

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