I love terrariums for many reasons, but one of the main pluses is that they are genuinely low maintenance: a jar can go for months with nothing more than a bit of a dust now and again. But that doesn't mean no-maintenance - over time, plants will outgrow their space and the glass will grow cloudy, signalling it's time for a revamp.
That's what happened to a terrarium I planted back in August 2009 - it looked good for well over a year, and then recently I started hiding it behind the living room curtains because the plants inside had begun to look really sad (see below - eurgh).
Aside from the fact tht I've been busier than a one-eyed cat watching two mouse holes, I'd had to delay any work on the jar because it's really hard to get hold of small houseplants suitable for terrariums these days - one garden centre manager I spoke to said she no longer buys in 'mini' houseplants because they've gone up so much in price and everyone wants bigger, cheaper plants - the manager of another garden centre told me he's stopped selling houseplants altogether because they are simply not good sellers these days.
Anyway, Wilkinson came to the rescue with a tray of good-looking specime that ticked the boxes for terrarium dwellers - small enough to fit in the jar, fond of humid conditions and ideally slow-growing.
Replanting is easy - just empty out the old plants, relocate or compost as appropriate; give the empty jar a good scrub with hot soapy water, then add fresh compost and the new plants.
In this case I went for a couple of Fittonias, a tiny bit of small-leaved Tradescantia (it grows fast) and some kind of Dracaena (I think). The red and white veins are a bit more gaudy than I'd usually like, but somehow in that particular jar, it works. Job done in about 15 minutes - just long enough for the kids to watch an episode of the Octonauts and for me to get my plant fix for the day.
It now sits in the hall alongside another recently replanted terrarium, (see right) and they look great side-by-side. I reckon the next replant will be in summer 2012 - although the Tradescantia will need snipping back well before that, as it's a bit of a bully.