The gift of an Orchid Terrarium is a nice way to show mom how much you care. You can customize it to reflect her personality or decor. Follow the steps below and treat her to flowers that will reward her long after Mother's day is over!
Assemble a container; river rocks, decorative moss, spaghnum moss; orchid; and fun decorative items (I used a fabric butterly).
Any type of orchid will do but the easiest to grow are the phalenopsis group of plants. They are readily available at box stores or nurseries that specialize in orchids. If you buy one with some flowers and unopened buds the flower production will continue for a couple more months. If you prefer a big display (like my example) get one without buds but be sure there are new flower branches starting along the stem. When the flowers wither the plant will go into dormancy for a few months. Move it to a cool and darker place until one or more of those stems has flower pods. At that point move it to a humid environment with a bright light source but not in direct sunlight.
I first filled the container with river rocks that had been washed first. This stuff comes in net bags so before you snip it open just hold it under running water to clean. Carefully pour into the bottom of your glass container. Two inches is the minimum depth needed. You want enough to keep the water contained in the rocks and the roots above that.
Fill the sides with flat sheet moss that has been soaked and excess moisture squeezed out. Then fill the bottom with damp spaghnum creating a cavity for the orchid plant to rest.
Before inserting the root ball inside the terrarium, remove the plant from the plastic container and gently tease any brown/black or mushy looking roots out so they can be removed. Normally you want to clean out any old moss or bark around the rootball but this one was so rootbound I left it alone lest I damage the healthy roots.
in the wild, orchids grow under a tree canopy on the sides of trees and therefore require very little water. In fact you can drown an orchid if you're not careful.
Use a chopstick to very carefully (go slow or you'll do damage) maneuver clumps of moss around the roots leaving tiny air spaces. Don't let the roots rest against the glass as they will burn or rot. I used several types and colors of moss to make a decorative look in the middle and at the top for added interest. Since this particular orchid did not have any unopened flower pods I knew it would soon go into dormancy. So I snapped off the larger of the two scapes (GASP!!) and inserted it carefully into the top of the terrarium. I think it gave it a beautiful more balanced presentation. Besides the cut branch will stay pretty for quite awhile like most floral arrangements.
So you're almost done. Place three ice cubes on top of the moss. They will melt slowly and surround the moss with moisture, all without overwatering. Do the ice cube trick once a week and you'll have much success with your orchid terrarium!
If you like you can add a small ceramic animal or object to the top area or leave it alone. Either way, this a thoughtful and charming way to say thanks to that lovely lady who cares for you.