Green wonders in glass jars

Thanks to the neighbourhood nurseries and plant boutiques that’ve been nurturing their dreams and desires with trendy options available at competitive prices.
Image from the store. ( Photo | EPS)
Image from the store. ( Photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: With open spaces shrinking across cities, green crusaders have found ways to keep their passion for planting alive. Hence, came the idea of growing plants in small enclosures. In recent years, plant parents have actively been investing in terrariums, aquascaping, and paludariums to give their home gardens and aquariums an aesthetic touch. Thanks to the neighbourhood nurseries and plant boutiques that’ve been nurturing their dreams and desires with trendy options available at competitive prices.

DIY dreams

But, instead of taking the easy path, wouldn’t it be fun to create a similar self-sustaining ecosystem on your own with just a jar, some soil, and stones? Pioneering in closed (self-sustaining) terrariums is Chennai-based gardening store TerraForm in Kodambakkam. Run by childhood friends Sai Krishnan and Sriram, the store went live in February 2022 after a year-long research. Besides offering a vibrant range of fast-moving and custom-made terrariums, they set up planted aquariums and paludariums at homes based on orders.

“Terrariums may not be a new concept but it’s still in nascent stages.Despite this, we’ve already sold 100 pieces and have also received two orders for planted aquariums after using our work. The paludarium is like a mix between an aquarium (solely aquatic) and a vivarium, or terrarium (solely terrestrial), encompassing both water and land environments into one tank. We are toying around with all the ideas,” beams Sai, who ensures all his customers make mindful choices after getting their basics right.

From ‘will these ecosystems survive’ to ‘can we experiment with new designs’, TerraForm’s clientele has come a long way in a span of just a few months. The duo has conducted four online and in-person terrarium workshops so far. “Terrarium workshops happening around the city are exorbitantly priced, so not many show interest. We wanted everybody to get an equal opportunity to learn. We offer them the tool kit and they design their ecosystem under our watchful eyes. We have people who’ve been wanting to explore this as a business model after attending our workshops. We’re more than open to helping them out,” he shares.

A new path

Their popular build-it-yourself terrarium kit comprises a mix of small and large gravel to act as the drainage layer, activated charcoal, dried sphagnum moss, cocopeat mix, aquarium soil, an assorted collection of three types of moss, a medium-sized glass jar, a spray can and planting tweezers. While the duo has a handful of readily available terrarium pieces lined up at their store, they prefer that customers give a heads-up a week in advance. “We procure the moss from Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Kodaikanal and Sikkim. It’s challenging to source them and then acclimatise to our climatic conditions here. We create our own designs as well as customise based on preferences,” he assures.

To cater to a broad clientele, they have products in sizes ranging from the bedside, paperweight terrarium models to bigger ones with Bonsai. The duo will soon be launching a geometrical line of containers to hold these terrariums. “Business has developed through word of mouth. Even customers who pick smaller models for testing come back to purchase more terrariums. They’re gaining popularity because of their convenience and low maintenance. We’re open to taking bulk orders from corporates. We would also love to teach this concept to students if schools show interest. The next plan is to set up a separate studio,” he sums up. TerraForm ships across Chennai.

Priced from Rs 1,000
For details, visit Instagram @terraformterrariums or call 9380975597/9360571814

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The New Indian Express