Clear, open containers with translucent-glass or high-quality plastic offer the best of terrariums without having the complexity of a self-sustaining ecosystem.
Low-maintenance plants, such as succulents and cacti, need a minimal amount of water and fertilizer. Try the following ideas to create your own laid-back planters.
Paint a cedar bird feeder a bright hue, and add some desert flair by planting colorful red, green, and yellow cacti inside. This easy project is great for kids. A variety of sizes and styles of cedar feeders are available at Lowe's.
Step 1: Remove the plastic hanger and windows from the feeder. Lightly sand, prime, and spray-paint the wood. Let dry.
Step 2: Replace the plastic windows. Add a 1-inch layer of pearl stone soil cover inside the feeder, and then add a 2-inch layer of potting soil.
Step 3: Plant small cacti or succulents in the potting soil. Add a shallow layer of the soil cover around the plants. Water lightly.
Line up a few of these tiny planters down the center of a table for a natural look. Or set them in a windowsill, where the globe will catch the sunlight and illuminate the bright-green succulents. The plants can grow in shallow soil, but you may need to replant them in larger pots if they become too big for the globes.
Step 1: Plant a small succulent or cactus in a 1-inch layer of potting soil in a 4-inch-wide clay saucer. Water lightly. Sprinkle pearl stone soil cover around the plant.
Step 2: Place a clear seeded-glass globe over the saucer. You can glue the globe in place or simply let it rest on the saucer.
Try giving a basic ceiling light a colorful upgrade with paint, and then turn it into a container for shapely plants. The prismatic glass of the fixture contributes a nice texture to the scene, while the purplish-red paint color complements the bromeliad's warm organic hues.
Step 1: Use painter's tape to cover the glass areas of the ceiling fixture drum.
Step 2: Spray-paint the white plastic areas. Allow to dry, and then remove the tape.
Step 3: Plant a succulent or bromeliad in the potting soil. Add a shallow layer of the stone soil cover around the plant. Water lightly.
Tip: For growing cacti and succulents, try Miracle-Gro Cactus Potting Mix. It provides excellent drainage for these desert plants.
Hang this feeder-turned-planter in front of a window, or outdoors on a covered porch, and watch your plant grow. You also can place this planter on a table near a natural light source.
Note: This project is fairly airtight, so you'll see some condensation inside the glass.
Step 1: Unscrew the top of the metal bird feeder. Using a spoon or small scoop, add a 2-inch layer of white marble soil cover, and add a 1-inch layer of potting soil.
Step 2: Plant a thin, upright succulent, such as the elephant bush shown here, in the potting soil. Add a thin layer of the marble soild cover around the plant. Water lightly. Replace the top of the feeder.