How To Build Your Own Terrarium in 6 Easy Steps

There are two kinds of people when it comes to plants – those who care for plants and those who long for plants. Well, what we are trying to say is that everyone loves plants but not all of us have plants in our homes or work-spaces. Now, the reasons may be several but it usually comes down to two key factors in various forms – space and effort. We either don’t have enough space for plants or we just can’t seem to give them the time and attention they need. Indoor plants are all the rage these days and they do take care of the space issue. Having endless options to choose from in all the sizes possible, one simple cannot complain about not having enough space for plants. It’s a trend that is catching on fast and we believe is here to stay for good. However, unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with a green thumb and some of us can’t seem to keep our plants alive, sometimes even despite all our efforts. This is where Terrariums come to the rescue. All the joy of having plants, and none of the hassle. What is more it not only takes away the troubles of extensive plant care but also settles for as little space as you may have available.

What is a Terrarium?


How to Make a Terrarium

“What is a Terrarium?” you may ask. Surely, you have seen an aquarium, maybe even have one or did in the past. A terrarium isn’t very different from an aquarium. It serves a similar purpose with the difference of its environment and inhabitants. While an aquarium is a pretty little pond in a glass box, a terrarium is a precious little garden in a glass bottle. Well, it doesn’t really have to be a bottle. Any glass container, in any shape or size, will do. Terrariums can be open or sealed depending on the kind of plants you want to grow and a few other things which we will talk about in detail a little further ahead. The idea is to make sure that the plants get their needed dosage of sunlight and warmth. With a terrarium we strive to create an environment for our green friends to thrive in, however we do it in a small space.

The best thing about terrariums is that they are incredibly easy to build and maintain, to say nothing of how easy they are on the pocket. Before we talk about the process of building one at home, let’s look into the kinds of Terrariums out there. Like we mentioned earlier, terrariums can be sealed or open. The kind you build depends on the kind of plants you want to grow in it. Plants that like humidity and warmth do well in a sealed terrarium but plants that don’t will need an open terrarium. The reason behind this is pretty simple and almost obvious. When we build a sealed terrarium, we equip it with enough water to last it forever – in theory that is. In a sealed terrarium, the water in the soil is absorbed by the plant and then released as vapours during transpiration. These vapours condense on the walls of the terrarium eventually entering the soil, ready to be absorbed by the roots again. This is what happens in the natural water cycle that we see in nature. Since the vapours remain trapped in a sealed terrarium, the air inside it is humid making the environment unsuitable for succulents but perfect for say, golden pothos or Calathea.

Steps To Build Your Own Terrarium

Terrariums are not only easily available online and at plant stores, they are also very easy on the wallet. You’ll find several options under a grand some for as little as about five hundred. But we suggest you build one yourself. A little DIY will give you a nice project for the weekend and the sense of accomplishment will be invaluable. You can turn into a learning experience for the kids or a fun afternoon with friends. Moreover, imagine being the proud parent of a little box of nature and the object of everyone’s admiration. You may think it’s a lot to take on but trust us when we say it’s not. Both sealed and open terrariums are built the same way with the only difference being the glass container. First, let’s talk about the building blocks. You will need the following:

  • A glass container
  • Plant(s)
  • Gravel – you can use small pebbles or decorative stones, etc.
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil – suitable for the plant(s)
  • Gardening tools


Let’s get started! In just a few steps you’ll have a beautiful little terrarium ready.

Step 1
Make sure the glass container is clean and dry.

Step 2 

At the bottom of the container place a 1 ½ inch-thick layer of small stones or pebbles.

This is to ensure drainage of excess water from the soil and thus prevent rotting of the roots.

Step 3

Next goes a very thin layer of activated charcoal.

This is to keep the water fresh and prevent any microbial growth.

Step 4

Now comes the potting soil.

The type of soil will depend on the plants you choose.

Soil should be enough for the roots to grow.

Step 5

With a little shovel or even a large spoon, create space for the plant in the center.

Place the plants and gently set the soil around the roots.

If you have more than one plant, keep the largest in the center. Place the smaller plants around it.

Step 6

Finally, you can add decorative stones or anything at all. Go crazy but be careful not to overcrowd.

Once your terrarium is complete, you’ll need to take proper care of it. Sunlight and water are two essential items for the success of your terrarium.

Be sure to lightly water the base every two weeks or once the soil looks like it has dried out.

You should also display your terrarium in an area that receives a lot of bright, indirect sunlight.

Terrariums look great displayed among a variety of houseplants or on their own. If you don’t feel like gathering the supplies to create your own, you can use our charming terrarium kit to help you create a whimsical scene.

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