Top 10 DIY Terrarium Tips

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Terrariums make it possible to grow things in places that aren't exactly conducive — like your dry, low-light work space or your equally moisture-deficient living room. A closed terrarium becomes a biosphere where humidity is elevated, plants are self-watered and the mini ecosystem just chugs along on autopilot with minimal intervention.

If memories of past terrarium fads are flooding back, rest assured, today's terrariums are more about bringing nature indoors and less about filling far-out fishbowls. And garden design definitely comes into play, albeit in a drastically reduced landscape.

Here are some hints to get you started:

  • 1. Find a suitable container.

    Start by digging out that stray vase, canning jar, apothecary jar, candy dish, cookie jar or whatever — almost anything works. If you can get your hands in the mouth of whatever you're planning to use, it will make it easier. A lid makes the environment lower-maintenance. But even if the container doesn't come with a lid, you can always top with a glass plate or leave the container open and check it for moisture more often. (Shop terrariums on Amazon.)
  • 2. Select appropriate plants.

    For closed-top terrariums, plants should be compact, humidity-loving and low-light compatible. Good choices are mosses and ferns, as well as orchids, bromeliads and many other easy-to-find houseplants. Avoid plants that prefer bright light and low humidity — cactuses, succulents and most herbs (mints are okay) — these types of plants work well in an open-top terrarium.
  • 3. Use the right tools.

    When working in a small space with limited access, it helps to have tools that are just the right size for the job, like in this terrarium tool kit.
  • 4. Place the foundation.

    Add small pebbles for the base layer to encourage drainage. Top with a thin layer of charcoal to absorb excess moisture and reduce bacteria and odors.
  • 5. Add potting soil.

    For a planting medium, select a light, humus-soil potting mix. Add enough soil to cover plant roots.
  • 6. Plant your plants.

    Firm the plants in when you plant them, just as you would in the garden bed, and water your terrarium very lightly after planting. Close it up and watch the biosphere swing into action.
  • 7. Get creative.

    Let those creative juices flow when designing a terrarium. Mix textures, add a small orb, marble or faux mushroom to serve as a complement. Think color, think balance and unleash your inner landscape architect.
  • Photo by: tarapong srichaiyos / Shutterstock.

  • 8. Find the right location.

    Place your terrarium in indirect light. Direct sun can fry the contents.
  • 9. Keep it clean.

    Remove any dead or wilted leaves promptly to keep your eco-system healthy.
  • 10. Get some fresh air.

    Every 10 days or so, give the terrarium a little fresh air. Open the lid for half a day, then close it up again. If no condensation appears after closing, add a very small amount of water.

It's simple, it's fun, it's creative and it can change your world.

Garden Under Glass
DIY Garden Ideas

Last updated: August 20, 2019

How to Make a Bug Terrarium

Last Updated: February 17, 2021 References Approved

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You don’t have to go to the store and get a fish to have a low-maintenance pet. All around you are bugs you can keep in your own terrarium. Build your terrarium by layering a small container with sand and soil. Catch whatever bugs you’d like to keep. Maintain your terrarium by providing food, moisture, and periodic cleaning. Without much work at all, you’ll have a home with a bunch of unique critters.

What You May Need for a Terrarium

Choose a glass container.

It can be anything from a clean, reused pickle jar to a vintage vase. You can also buy ready-made terrariums, which come in various sizes and shapes. Just make sure the container is made of clear glass colored glass tends to hinder plant growth.

When choosing a container, be sure to consider the size of the opening. Making a terrarium out of a vintage perfume bottle may seem like a creative idea, but the narrow opening will prove problematic when you try to reach inside to place the greenery. For beginners, it's best to use a vessel with an opening wide enough to accommodate your hand, so that you can reach inside to easily place and move materials as needed.

Pick your rocks.

Put a handful of polished rocks or marbles in the bottom of the container. This layer helps to shape the terrain while aiding drainage and aeration. Vary the layer’s thickness by the size of the container. The smaller the vessel, the thinner the rock layer. And you’ll want to leave enough “head room” at the top of the terrarium when you’re finished so things don’t look too cramped.

Place your next layer.

Soak dried sphagnum or sheet moss in water for a few seconds and squeeze out any excess liquid. Place the slightly damp moss onto the rocks, patting it down so that it fills the entire surface area and forms a barrier that keeps the soil from sifting down into the rocks.

Add the soil.

Scoop the soil into a funnel and fill the container with several inches of soil. The greenery you’ll be planting will determine the type of soil you use. For moss, use a peat moss mixture, which is less likely to mold. For other plants, non-moisture-control potting mix should work. If a plant’s nursery tag indicates that it needs a specific type of soil, use that type.

Keep in mind that this layer doesn’t have to be perfectly flat. Hills and valleys give the terrarium’s landscape character. Again, don’t fill the container too high with soil, since you'll want to have enough room for the greenery to grow.

Plant your plants.

If you’re using moss that you snagged from nature, make sure to first give it a blast of pesticide to debug it. Use scissors to trim it into shape, place it into the container, and then press it down firmly to eliminate any air pockets. For other plants, plant them as you would in your outdoor garden. Loosen the root balls, place them in a shallow layer of soil, add soil around them, and pat down the soil.

Give it water.

Give the plants some water to help prevent transplant shock, keeping in mind that the container doesn’t have any drainage holes. The rock layer will aid in drainage, but water lightly.

Maintaining a terrarium is fairly easy. For moss terrariums, a light misting of water every two to four weeks should suffice. For plant terrariums, heed watering instructions on the plant’s nursery tag. Just be careful not to over-water.

How to Make an Air Plant Terrarium

Last Updated: February 5, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Joy Cho. Joy Cho is the Founder and Creative Director of the lifestyle brand and design studio, Oh Joy!, founded in 2005 and based in Los Angeles, California. She has authored three books and consulted for creative businesses around the world. Joy has been named one of Time's 30 Most Influential People on the Internet for 2 years in a row and has the most followed account on Pinterest with more than 13 million followers.

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This article has been viewed 13,640 times.

If you’re looking to bring a little taste of nature into your home, try making an air plant terrarium. Creating a terrarium is simple and can be a fun process for both children and plant-lovers. It’s as easy as getting a glass terrarium, then filling it with sand, rocks, and other decorations. Air plants are hardy, so they don’t require much maintenance. Build your terrarium, decorate it, and then let it liven up your home.

Growing a Terrarium

A terrarium is simply a container garden that is either entirely closed or mostly closed. A fishbowl, for instance, can be a terrarium, although it is open at the top. A cloche makes for a good closed terrarium. You can also find Victorian-style terrarium gardens, made with panes of leaded glass and resembling miniature houses.

A closed terrarium is like a greenhouse, holding in moisture and warmth. Only certain plants will thrive in this environment. An open container allows for a little wider range of plants, even succulents or cacti that normally need a dry environment.

Choose a Container

Use almost any clear container or glass jar that has a mouth or lid to make it easy to add plants, such as a large empty pickle jar or Mason jar. (A heavy plastic container is also fine, but most people prefer the look and feel of glass.) A wider bowl allows you to fit more plants, soil, and decorative elements (shells, figurines, or ornaments).

Open or Closed Container?

Open terrariums are less likely to experience problems with condensation and fungal plant diseases than are closed terrariums.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Choose the Plants

Choose terrarium plants that are small enough to fit in your jar, preferably without touching the sides. There are many ​great terrarium plants, including small potted versions of the following:

  • Croton
  • Pothos
  • Dracaena
  • Small ferns
  • Lucky bamboo
  • Nerve plant
  • Prayer plant
  • Club moss
  • Creeping fig

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Add Drainage Layers

Your container won't have drainage holes in the bottom, so you’ll need to create a drainage layer to help keep water away from the plants' roots.

Put a layer of sheet moss at the bottom of your terrarium to soak up extra water. If you prefer, start with a 2-inch layer of stones in the bottom of the terrarium instead of moss. A tall, narrower terrarium will require a deeper layer of drainage stones than a broad, shallow container.

Next, use a large spoon or trowel to add a 1/4-inch to a 1/2-inch layer of activated charcoal on top of the stones to help drainage and control any odors.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Add Moss and Potting Mix

Next, add a layer of moss over the stones and charcoal. This is to keep your next layer, the potting soil, from mixing in with the charcoal and stones, and it also adds visual interest to your terrarium.

With a large spoon or small trowel, add sterile general-purpose potting mix on top of the moss. Add as much potting mix as you can—at least a couple of inches. But make sure to keep the soil level low enough so that the plants will fit without touching the top of the terrarium.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Prepare the Plants

Remove the plants from their nursery pots. If they are root bound, tease the roots apart, or perhaps even cut some off. Cutting off some of the roots, called root pruning, will retard your plant’s growth, which is essential when growing plants in the confines of a terrarium.

Design With the Plants

Before planting, decide on the design of your terrarium. Choose where you'll place tall and short plants and where you'll create mounds and dips in the soil to create interesting contours.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Plant the Terrarium

Shake off excess soil left on plants from nursery pots. Using a large spoon or your fingers, dig a hole for each plant in the potting mix. Place each plant in its hole and gently pat the soil down around it.

Navigating a Narrow Neck

If the terrarium has a narrow opening, use cooking chopsticks, tongs, or long tweezers to place the plants and pat them in to eliminate air pockets between the roots and the soil. Take a tip from Tovah Martin's book, "The New Terrarium," and put a cork on the end of a skewer or chopstick to tamp down the soil.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Decorate the Terrarium

If you'd like, decorate the inside of the terrarium with small figurines, shells, or other whimsical accents spaced among the plants.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Water the Terrarium

Water the plants in the terrarium using a spray bottle or watering can with a rose attachment on the spout so they are just damp, but not soaking wet. Use the spray bottle to clean off any dirt clinging to the glass sides of your container, which you can then wipe clean with newspaper or newsprint.

Avoid Glass Cleaner

Never use glass cleaner on the inside of a planted terrarium, as it could poison the plants.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Maintain the Terrarium

It's easy to maintain a terrarium. Do these three steps every couple of weeks:

  • Feel the soil to see if it's dry and needs water. Partially and fully enclosed terrariums retain water considerably longer than most potted houseplants
  • Check a closed terrarium for condensation. Take off the top at least once a month to air it out. Leave the top off until the condensation disappears. Do this if you added too much water, as well.
  • Pull off yellowing or damaged leaves and prune plants if they're growing too large.

Avoid Fertilizing Plants

Don’t fertilize the plants, as this can cause them to grow too large for the space.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

How to Choose the Best Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit

As mentioned earlier, Amazon is one of the best platforms to purchase products like Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit. However, it can sometimes be a challenge to get the exact Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit you want, especially if you are using the platform for the first time.

Here are some of the things to consider when choosing the best Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit on Amazon:


Price is one of the most important factors to consider when buying Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit from Amazon. There’s no one who doesn’t want to get quality products and reasonable prices. With Amazon, you are able to compare laptop prices from different sellers and settle on the most favorable one.


The other important factor you need to consider when buying a Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit from Amazon is the brand. Different sellers sell different types of brands and it is important to understand each type of the brands in order to make the right decision. High-quality and popular brands like Apple brand usually cost more compared to less popular ones.


You also need to consider the functionality of a Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit before purchasing it. The functionality of any Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit usually depends on the specs it contains. The more sophisticated the specs are, the higher the functionality.

Old Customer Reviews

Most customers leave feedback with regard to their experience with the different Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit they bought from Amazon. The reviews are always displayed on the same page where the product is located. Looking at such reviews will help you to know whether the Diy Succulent Terrarium Kit you want to buy good or bad.

Watch the video: Small Landscape Design Ideas 10 Secrets

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