Nurturing Nature Indoors–Forcing an Amaryllis and Starting a Terrarium

Amaryllis 12-30-12 - 3

This last month, Dora actually spent quite a lot of time outdoors. Mr. Mo was very good and took her outside to play every day that he had off (and let me sleep late while he was at it! Sorry ladies, he’s taken!). He got her into such a good habit, she has come to expect her daily outdoorsy time. Still, it’s not quite the same as during the warmer months, when she might spend hours outside each day. So we tackled a few indoor nature projects so we could keep our green thumbs in green during the cold months. Our first project, forcing an amaryllis bub, was something we actually started back in mid-November.

Amaryllis BulbAs you can see, the amaryllis bulb we used was humongous! The nursery had some that were at least twice as big as ours, but they cost $28.99/bulb!

Amaryllis 12-19-2012 (1)

The plant first started to bloom after about three weeks. Since then, we have had constant flowers that are quite large. We have been cutting some of the flowers and keeping them on the nature table, but this morning we were saddened and surprised when we came downstairs and found that one of the stems had cracked, due to the weight of four flowers blooming on it at once! So, we currently have no flowers on the actual plant. We have no cat-safe windows in our house that get a lot of light, so I am not sure if this plant will have got enough sunlight to “recharge” the bulb for next year. I’m planning to plant it in the yard and we’ll find out. I’ll probably buy a new bulb next winter, just to make sure that we have some indoor color.

Terrarium - 1

Our second project was to start a new terrarium. I got this large jar at Target for just $10. Unfortunately, it is so big, it won’t fit on any window ledge, so I am not sure if it will get enough light to support the terrarium. Currently, it has survived three months with only one mishap, that being that it seems to have some sort of fruit/drain flies in it. I have tried to shoe them out, but they seem to like it in there. I just hope that they don’t reproduce and start some sort of colony! I think they must have hitched a ride on one of the plants.

Terrarium - 2

We used the same layering system that we have in the past, a layer of small rocks, followed by a layer of activated charcoal, followed by a layer of dried moss, followed by the soil. We tried a different type of moss this time, but I’d recommend sticking with the tried and true sphagnum moss, as the moss we bought smells a bit funky and I don’t like having such a bright green layer in between the layers of soil and charcoal/rocks. We topped of the whole thing with moss wherever there weren’t plants, but that was just a personal choice and is not necessary. We also added a few decorative stones. I’d love to add a small figure or two to the scene, but haven’t found anything that caught my eye.

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Labels: Nature Study
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff