Introduction: Build an Inexpensive Terrarium With Free Plants

With a little bit of know-how and a little bit of scouting, you can quickly and easily find terrarium plants in your own yard.  Look up, look down, look near, look far.  Knowing what's in your yard is key.  Chances are there are some wild plants growing everywhere that might have been overlooked, and some of the plants in your yard might be considered weeds. 

Epiphytes make for great terrarium plants since they mostly live on rain water and secure themselves to trees (hence, epiphyte).  Some are parasitic and won't be such a good choice.  For this Instructable, I'll be using a Ball Moss plant (Tillandsia recurvata) which is common through the Southern portion of the US.  Ball moss is not a moss at all.  It's an epiphytic air plant that secures itself to tree branches, lives largely off rain, and isn't parasitic although it might compete with its host for light.  There are many epiphytic plants in the world.  If you need some information or some sort of clue as to what to look for, call your local horticultural extension office and ask for some common plants that would work well in a terrarium.  Do not harvest plants from parks or from other people's property without permission because it's illegal and not very nice.

Finding terrariums or making them is all about imagination and scanning through potential pieces.  I spent 2 hours in IKEA scouting for possible terrarium ideas that weren't too expensive.  There were some amazing pieces, but I decided against them for a cheap version.

This Instructable shows to make an inexpensive terrarium with found plants, and in doing so, I hope people can broaden their ideas about gardening, sourcing plants, and repurposing items.  This terrarium is particularly good for beginners to gardening or building terrariums, but beyond that, it's pretty and easy and affordable.

Step 1: Materials

You'll need:
-Smarta 30cm Tray/Dish from IKEA
-Trygg 28cm Bowl from IKEA
-Lava Rocks (broken terracotta pottery, pebbles, rocks, glass, etc. will also work)
-Ball Moss Plant 
-Rain/Spring Water (not shown)
-Preventative Organic Indoor Fungicide/Insecticide (optional but recommended; not shown)

Step 2: Add Lava Rocks

Cover the tray with lava rocks (or your alternative).

Tip:  Sort the rocks a bit according to size.  Place the largest ones in the middle, the middle sized ones to the edge, and fill the gaps with the small ones.

Step 3: Water Ball Moss

Dunk the Ball Moss in rain/spring water.

If you are going to spray the plant with a fungicide/insecticide, do so now.  If you opt to not spray the plant, check on it regularly for insects and disease.

Step 4: Add the Bowl

Put the bowl upside down on the tray covering the plant.

Step 5: Care

Occasionally lift the bowl for air circulation and dunk the plant in rain/spring water when dry.  Keep in a sunny area but out of direct sunlight.  The goal is to mimic the conditions where it normally grows.