Dorm Decorating, Part 1: Moss Terrariums

Big Impact, Small Space!

The plants we decorate with are pretty to look at, but they serve us in other important ways as well – like cleaning the air, promoting a sense of optimism and reducing stress. These are all great reasons to take plants to college, but the typical dorm room gets poor marks for space. Moss terrariums are a great choice for college dorm rooms because they are big on impact and small on footprint!

Three miniature plants in their tiny nursery containers make little visual impact in the grand scheme, but put them in a terrarium with some live moss and the result is far greater than the sum of the parts.

Science on display – In addition to being an object of beauty in the otherwise utilitarian setting of a dorm room, moss terrariums provide a table top ecosystem and display of the water cycle in motion. It’s fascinating to watch water transform from liquid to gas and back again to liquid as it interacts with the plants, the soil and the air in this enclosed environment. Rain outside, though miraculous in its own right, is a commonplace experience but watching “rain” in the terrarium puts the concept of precipitation in a whole new light.

Biophilic response – Research supports the fact that plants have a psychological effect on people. Biophilia refers to the innate drive we humans have to connect with other forms of life. It’s part of the drive behind forming friendships and adopting pets. But we humans also crave nature in plant form and respond positively to making connections with natural life around us. In the austere setting of a dorm room, plant material helps to create a sense of respite from the built environments and hard surfaces in a campus setting. Through our connections to nature we gain a sense of balance that is both calming and uplifting. It doesn’t hurt that the color green casts optimism on the psyche, either.

But one of the particular things that clients tell me over and over about their moss terrariums is that they provide a sense of escape. Much like an aquarium, you can gaze into a terrarium and get lost inside. This escapism is a tiny yet vital part of recuperation and rejuvenation at the end of the day. It gives the brain a rest from the myriad facts and concepts and formulas that must be comprehended and retained in the college setting.

Low maintenance – Moss terrariums are very forgiving and have minimal requirements to stay healthy and beautiful. Because they prefer low light, they don’t need to take up space on the window will. Terrariums can go almost anywhere in the dorm (except next to the heater of AC or next to a bright lamp). In a terrarium, plants don’t need any fertilizer and very little water – only once a month or so, and only when you notice there is no more condensation inside the globe. With low light conditions, terrarium plants will grow slowly, so it’s unlikely they will need pruning more than once a year. And because the plants are so small, any desired pruning can be done with everyday scissors.

Beautiful, educational, calming, uplifting and easy to maintain – terrariums get high marks all the way around. So visit our store or shop Terry Furuta Designs to get a moss terrarium for the college dorm this fall semester.

Watch for Part 2 of this blog next week: Aeriums for the dorm!

Terry Furuta