Passionate Plant People: The Art of Terrariums

12 Oct, 2021

This spring, we met with Vicki, our talented terrarium landscaper here at Kings Takanini. Vicki lovingly creates each and every terrarium that we sell at Kings, and shares how she mastered the art of making terrariums.

Before joining the Kings team, Vicki had a small retail business selling gardening accessories and gifts, with a focus on garden art. She has always been creative and is a self-taught artist who loves painting ‘en plein air’ (the art of painting outdoors). Studying New Zealand landscapes while painting on canvas has given her an amazing eye for spatial design.

To Vicki, every terrarium is a new piece of art.

Her understanding of contrast, colour harmony, texture and flow, all help her to passionately create miniature gardens for customers to enjoy in their own homes.

She thoroughly enjoys experimenting with different combinations of plants, stones, moss, and bits of wood. “It is therapeutic to create these unique little worlds that can spark imagination and memories”.

Vicki loves ‘wet’ or tropical terrariums which need to be constantly moist. She shares how the soft moss evokes childhood memories of family holidays in the Minginui Forest. She also enjoys using fittonia as the star of the show.

She says, “they brighten up any terrarium with their intense colours and interesting variegated or veined leaves”.

Her second go-to would be beach-themed terrariums. Gorgeous flowering succulents are complimented with sand art, shells, driftwood, and sea-glass to make beautiful décor items for homes with a seaside vibe.

At Christmas you’ll find our shelves styled with Vicki’s stunning seasonal terrariums. Festive versions from years past have featured long cylindrical vases, eye-catching black and white layered sands, and specks of gold and silver.

Her advice to customers?

Always consider where the terrarium will be placed in the house before buying one. For a warm, sunlit room that gets plenty of light, choose an open, dry terrarium with succulents and cacti, which are easy care. If you are after something a little more tropical and can handle a bit more maintenance, then choose a wet or ‘closed’ terrarium with lush indoor plants and moss. Just be sure to keep these ones out of direct sunlight.

Vicki's Top Tips

  • Always make sure you choose plants that like the same conditions. Putting plants that prefer being dry next to moisture loving ones will make it difficult to keep them all alive at once!
  • Dry terrariums can include cacti and succulents.
  • Wet terrariums can include ferns, fittonias, syngoniums andpeperomias.
  • Using an odd number of plants works best i.e., 3 or 5. Vary plant shapes and leaf textures to add interest, i.e., round, cylindrical, conical and variegated, shiny, and fluffy.
  • Think about colour harmony. All greens are not created equal.When choosing a plant with a blue/green leaf your design will work better if all the plants have a blue bias.
  • When trying to get a natural look for ground formation, slope the soil slightly. Put the big stones down first, then add the small ones. The small ones will fill the gaps and cover the bottom edge of the bigger stones making it look as if they have always been there. Use different coloured stone paths and repeating colours or shapes for your eye to follow around your terrarium adding movement and rhythm.
  • The last tip is to run a little bit of water around the inside edge of the glass on completion to water your plants and wash any soil residue left on the glass down to the soil level. Just make sure you don’t overdo it!

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