What is a terrarium and why is it right for me?

A terrarium is a miniature indoor garden inside a glass container. The plants are low maintenance and are perfect for people who don’t have a green thumb or who don’t have time to care for a garden. You can place a wide variety of plants inside glass containers. A terrarium adds a bit of outdoor beauty and peace to desks, night tables or any place where space is limited. Add a little green to your indoor space with an eye-catching terrarium! Not only are they a great oxygen booster, terrariums are easy to create and can be made in a variety of sizes. Change up the container to fit into any décor.

Decide which plants to use. Any low maintenance plant can be used to make a terrarium. Choose plants that will grow well together. Classic plants for a terrarium include (but are not limited to) ferns, mosses, succulents, and cacti.
Pick a plant that will stay small. You could make a terrarium big enough to house a bushy lavender, but it’s easier to stick with mini plants. Choose plants that won’t outgrow the terrarium container.
Plants that prefer shade are best. Plants inside a terrarium have to be tolerant of low levels of light – if you keep a sun lover in the dark, the plant will be stressed and will die. Plants tolerant of high humidity. Humidity levels in terrariums rise quickly, so choose plants, like those from rain forests or woodlands, that grow well in such an environment. If you’re a beginner, pick something cheap and easy to grow. Choose a plant that’s inexpensive and easy to grow.

Choose a container. You will need a glass container that is deep enough for your plants’ roots. The container you use can be an old fish bowl or one specially made for growing plants.

Supplies. To make a terrarium, you will need:
Potting soil
Pebbles or gravel. Both provide drainage when placed at the bottom of the terrarium, and a neat appearance when placed at the top of a terrarium. Choose stones 1/4 of an inch or smaller for drainage, but choose whatever you’d like for topdressing.
Sheet moss. Sheet moss is useful when lining the bottom of the terrarium. It provides a “sponge” for absorbing excess water.
Gloves. Whenever handling sheet moss, you should be wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt to prevent fungal infection. Gloves are also helpful when handling charcoal.
Decoration.Pick any decoration you’d like to add to your terrarium, as long as it won’t be damaged by exposure to water. Examples include miniature garden gnomes, shells, rocks, small statues or aquarium decorations.
Avoid adding “critters” to your terrarium. These can damage plants and spread diseases.

How to:

  • Install approximately 1-2 inches of charcoal or stones at base of container.
  • Fill your container one-fourth to one-third full with the charcoal-and-soil mixture. Gently pack the soil every 2 inches to avoid large air pocketsCombine remaining charcoal with soil either by hand or with trowel
  • Carefully remove your plants from their containers and position them on top of the soil to ensure proper spacing. Allow enough room between the plants for additional soil
  • Use your hands to pack soil in and around plants. Tuck plants deep enough into the soil to cover all plant roots and to keep the plants from reaching too far above the top of the container.
  • Water plants and place container in a well-lit area with indirect light. Future watering is dependent on the types of plants you have selected and the environment they’re growing in. Test the soil for moisture before pulling out the watering can
  • Maintenance is minimal once the plants are established. As they grow you may want to trim any branches that grow out and over the top of your container.