Terrariums - A How To Guide

Sep 28, 2023

What is a Terrarium? 

A terrarium is a container in which you can create an environment for growing plants due to the constant supply of water, therefore preventing the plants from becoming too dry. In addition to this, light that passes through the glass allows for the plants within to photosynthesize, which is very important to plant growth.

There are two types of terrariums, opened and closed. Closed Terrariums are sealed shut with a lid, cork, etc. Open terrariums have access to fresh air. I will be focusing on creating an open terrarium.

Plants That Do Well in Terrariums: 

  • African Violets
  • Polka Dot Plants
  • Miniature Ferns
  • Peperomia
  • Small Spider Plant
  • Nerve Plants
  • Miniature English Ivy
  • Venus Fly Traps
  • Friendship Plants
  • Miniature Orchids
  • Baby Tears
  • Artillery Fern
  • Creeping Fig
  • Earth Star
  • Strawberry Begonia
  • Pilea
  • Prayer Plat
  • Moss

Supplies Needed:

  • Glass Container
  • Turkey Baster 
  • Scissors
  • Spoons
  • Chopsticks or Skewers
  • Tweezers
  • Plants that like a moist environment - see above
  • Pea Gravel
  • Landscape Fabric or Fiberglass Screen
  • Potting Mix
  • Decor - Rocks, Sticks, Miniatures: Animals, Fairies, Etc.
  • Activated Charcoal -(Carbon that has been treated with oxygen, resulting in highly porous charcoal. This absorbs impurities and to help keep your terrarium stink free)

Terrarium Care Tips

  • Terrarium plants do well with indirect light or a grow light
  • Direct sun will intensify any sunlight that reaches the glass and can burn your plants.
  • I like using a turkey baster to water each individual plant. That way I can control how much water is used.
    • You want to avoid adding too much water, because your plants will suffer. Each home environment is different, so it is hard to say how often you will need to water. Here in the green house, I usually water about every 10 days. If you see one of your plants wilting, it definitely needs water. It’s better to under water your plants than to over water them.
  • As the plants grow you will want to trim any plants that are touching the glass, and remove any dead leaves.

To Create Your Living Piece of Artwork

  • Create drainage: add pea gravel and cover with landscape fabric or fiberglass screen, add a few very small holes to the landscape fabric. This keeps the soil from working its way down into the pea gravel.
  • Add pre-moistened potting mix
  • Mix in a couple of tablespoons of activated charcoal
  • Add plants: first remove any bad leaves from the plant.
    • Using a spoon, make a hole for the plant and cover the roots with soil.
  • Add décor

Written By Shari Palmer