When you can’t grow outdoors, plant a garden on your windowsill and tabletop.

This past summer when I was living in Vancouver, Canada, I passed many yuppie-oriented lifestyle and decor boutiques on my way home from work. There was one particular store that would greet me when I turned the corner. Its naturalistic storefront had always piqued my attention. A brown barrel filled with peculiar plant species beckoned at the base of the stairs and I had always made a mental note to myself to go in one day. In the middle of the summer haze, I finally climbed up the winding set of rustic stairs that led to a hidden nursery situated on the outskirts of Downtown.

Once inside, I was greeted by volumes of glass containers and the tropical, miniature worlds that they nurtured. What I saw before me were plant terrariums, mini indoor gardens housed within creative containers ranging from high-end designer pieces to simple fishbowls. It is even possible to create a micro-version of a terrarium using light bulbs.  After speaking with the store associate who informed me that the xerographica, a very rare and beautiful silver, broad-leafed airplant, was selling at $22.00, I deduced that air terrariums would be an investment for any college student budget. Nevertheless, these small microcosms of life were fascinating, compact, and the perfect accessory for any college dorm. These miniature gardens are perfect for anyone who wants to decorate with houseplants but doesn’t have the space or the time for maintenance, which is quintessentially the predicament that many college students face.

“Terrariums are beautiful. If plants are what you’re looking for, these are perfect for a dorm room,” says sophomore Rokya Samake.

Plant terrariums offer the perfect solution for students looking to grow plants, but lack the space to do so. One can choose a desert theme, filling their terrarium with cacti species, or if succulent plants are favored, one can create a more tropical, lush theme. Terrariums allow for many tastes and looks depending on the season. In addition, if you do not have time to water plants but want to retain the décor element, airplants, also known as epiphytes, are the ideal solution. These plants need no soil because water and nutrients are absorbed through their leaves. Occasional light misting will allow the plant to flourish, but since these plants need no soil base, they can be placed anywhere.

Here are some recommendations we have if you want to create your own plant terrarium.

Finding a Container
Plant terrariums do not need to be extraordinarily sophisticated. Visit Goodwill to find an interesting bottle or if you find yourself at the Bates New York Finance Roadshow, stop by in Brooklyn to visit the flea markets where you can stumble upon a variety of eclectic containers. Glass milk bottles are also perfect for these DIY projects. If you have an empty fishbowl that once housed your goldfish, use it. Closed containers with smaller openings make for a more humid, jungle-like atmosphere. Gardeners.com recommends a more open container for cactus and succulent plants.

Terrarium Plant Varieties  
When creating a terrarium, select plants that all require the same care. For example, if your room receives plenty of sunlight, choose all-drought or tropical varieties. Never mix plants with different needs. Popular choices include croton, pothos, dracaena, small ferns, lucky bamboo, club moss, creeping fig and prayer plant.

Air Plant Varieties
Since air plants are so self-sufficient, they complement any lifestyle and environment. Some recommendations include the streptophylla, a velvety plat with silver ribbons that curl and swirl. The caput-medusa is also an affordable option. Its swirling velvety arms make for unusually graceful plants. In addition, it produces many purple flowers throughout the year. The stricta is also a popular choice. The stricta has stiff, silvery leaves with beautiful pink buds with purple blooms that add a pop of color in the dead of the winter.

Plant terrariums are a brilliant option that allows for life to blossom as temperatures sink below 0 degrees Celsius. Enjoy them!