How to Make a Terrarium

I'm going to show you how to build your own terrarium. Terrariums are mini indoor gardens that are perfect for people who want to decorate their home or office with houseplants, but don't have a lot of time to care for them. I love them because I can create a desert themed one with cacti and succulents or make a tropical themed one filled with plants like African violets and ferns.



Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • Ground charcoal
  • Glass container
  • Potting Soil
  • Chopsticks
  • Construction Paper
  • Plants
  • Decorative rocks, shells or wood
    • 1

      Select a glass container. Large jars, compotes or aquariums are all excellent choices for building a terrarium. Make sure to clean it well with hot, soapy water before you start.

    • 2

      Next you want to create the terrarium's drainage layer. Layer about an inch of large pea gravel in the bottom of the container. If the container has a narrow opening, create a funnel with the paper, then pour the gravel through the funnel and use a chopstick to move the gravel into place. Add a ½-inch layer of ground charcoal over the gravel.

    • 3

      Pour 2 to 3 inches of fresh potting soil over the drainage layer. Use a sterilized soil mix. The soil and drainage layer should take up about 1/4 of the terrarium container's space.

    • 4

      Select small plants that all require the same type of care. For example, use all tropical sun-loving or all drought-tolerant plants. Never mix plants with different growing requirements.

    • 5

      Think about how you want to place the plants within the container. Taller plants should go in the back of the jar and shorter ones in the front. Dig planting holes in the soil with a chopstick or your hand if it fits through the container's opening.

    • 6

      Remove the plants from their containers. Trim off any yellow or brown foliage. Remove any extra soil from around the roots, then tease the roots apart gently, and place the plants into the planting holes. Cover the roots with soil and gently firm the soil around each plant.

    • 7

      Water the terrarium after all the plants are in place. Use a funnel to wash the sides of the terrarium as you water.

    • 8

      If you created a tropical terrarium, you have the option of covering the jar with a lid or glass dish. This step will seal the environment and create a miniature rain forest. Just be aware that sealed terrariums are at risk of overheating if placed near a sunny window. Skip this step if you used drought tolerant plants, such as cacti and succulents, as it will create too humid of an environment for them.

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