Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make a Terrarium for Beautiful Indoor Greenery

It’s fun and easy: add a touch of nature to your home!

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By Rachel Maniquis

how to make a terrarium: diy terrarium

Today we will show you how to make a terrarium, a miniature garden that will add a touch of green to your home. Have you ever wanted your very own tiny ecosystem? Just as an aquarium is a microcosm of aquatic life, a terrarium is a beautiful microcosm of plant life that you can keep indoors.

In this article, we would like to show you how to make a terrarium to add a touch of nature to your home.

What is a Terrarium

It’s a small, enclosed ecosystem that replicates the natural environment for plants to grow.

It is typically created in a glass container, such as a jar or a vase, and contains various plants, soil, rocks, and sometimes decorative elements. The enclosed structure of a terrarium creates a self-sustaining environment where plants can thrive with minimal care.

They are popular for their aesthetic appeal and low-maintenance nature, making them ideal for indoor gardening and adding a touch of greenery to any space.

They require minimal upkeep since they are usually contained in sealed glass containers, which create their own livable environments. A complete water cycle (evaporation, condensation, and precipitation) takes place inside the enclosed environment where the plants recycle their own moisture.

How to make a terrarium: what you will need

You will need the following:

  • selection of plants of your choosing
  • glass container
  • tweezers or a spoon for planting
  • potting soil
  • gravel
  • activated charcoal

Pick a sealable glass container that can accommodate the plants you choose. A container specifically made for terrariums is not necessary, and you can use this to your advantage to get creative! Pick an old bottle, marmalade jar, or used aquarium for a decorative, artistic touch.

It goes without saying that for beginners, a larger container is easier to use. Smaller containers, or those with unusual shapes, such as a bottle with a narrow neck, can be more complicated.

diy terrarium
Learning how to make a terrarium isn’t really that difficult!

Step by step instructions

Preparing the container

Pour a layer of gravel on the bottom of the container (around 1/2 inch). Sprinkle pieces of activated charcoal over the gravel. This will help to filter the air and water, preventing microorganisms from growing.

Add the potting soil

Depending on the size of your plants, put enough soil to cover their roots. You can also add some moss, which will block the soil from seeping to the bottom of the container.

Gently use the tweezers for planting

After your plants are settled, add a little bit more soil.


Decorate your terrarium any way you want by adding moss, seashells, colored stones, and other natural, decorative elements. Now you will have to choose a spot for your terrarium! Pick a place that is bright without direct sunlight, since rays tend to amplify against glass walls. Any cool, dry place will do well where there are no drafts or strong temperature fluctuations.

You should only open the terrarium to water if you notice the soil is extremely dry. However, you can also build an open terrarium, and water it more often. A terrarium is a lovely way to add some green to an indoor space.

Bonus tip: top terrarium plants

  • Golden clubmoss – Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’ and other mosses (such as Selaginella moss)
  • Fittonia, or nerve plant — Fittonia verschaffeltii
  • Dwarf orchids
  • Creeping saxifrage – Saxifraga stolonifera
  • Ferns (especially Variegated spider fern – Arachnoides simplicior)
  • Peperomias
  • Black mondo grass – Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
  • Pileas
  • Dwarf sedge – Acorus gramineus
  • Tillandsia – Tillandsia stricta
  • Dwarf ivies
  • Mother spleenwort – Asplenium bulbiferum
  • Miniature rhizomatous begonias
  • Creeping fig — Ficus pumila
  • Strawberry begonia — Saxifraga stolonifera

Now that you’ve learnt how to make a terrarium, you are just a few steps away from enjoying your own mini garden!

Other tips on plants and gardening

Here are some other articles to read on the topic of plants and flowers for your home:

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