Gallery: DIY: How to Make Your Own Green Terrarium

 
To ensure that your terrarium will be successful, keep succulents and cacti together, and house fern and tropical plants together, because they require different amounts of water and soil. You'll want cactus soil for the succulents and regular old potting soil for everything else. The rocks are used as a false drainage layer, the activated charcoal helps keep the terrarium healthy, and the moss can be used for decoration or to help soak up and retain water.

MATERIALS:

  • A clear glass jar, vase, bowl, glass, or whatever interesting glass container you have on hand
  • Rocks, pebbles or recycled glass chunks
  • Activated charcoal (sometimes called activated carbon)
  • Potting soil appropriate for your plants
  • Moss (optional)
  • Figurines, sticks or decorative items (optional)
  • Various small plants
  • A scoop, spoon or shovel
  • Scissors
  • Gloves

Source your containers from a thrift store or an antique store, or just scrounge around your house for an old jar. Even simple jelly jars or canning jars can make beautiful terrariums. They can be left open or closed—it’s totally up to you. All other supplies can be bought at your local gardening center.

As for the plants, the sky is the limit, but generally speaking look for small plants that you can fit inside your jar and won’t grow too tall. Some plants will have multiple stems so you can break them up even further. To ensure that your terrarium will be successful, keep succulents and cacti together, and keep fern and tropical plants together, because they require different amounts of water and soil. You’ll want cactus soil for the succulents and regular old potting soil for everything else. The rocks are used as a false drainage layer while the activated charcoal helps keep the terrarium healthy, and the moss can be used for decoration and to help soak up and retain water.

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4 Comments

  1. Catherine Winter-Hébert Lana Winter-Hébert March 8, 2014 at 9:49 am

    amusicaldemise: I live in rural Quebec, so I hear you on the cold indoors as well as outside issue!

    You can make a terrarium now, but be sure to keep it near a light + heat source, like a plant growing light, or even an aquarium light if you’re building your terrarium in a fish tank. Try to keep it away from any windows or drafts, and if possible, choose cold-hardy plants rather than delicate tropical varieties.

  2. amusicaldemise March 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Should I wait until the summer to make my terrarium? I live in Canada, so it’s very cold right now, even inside the house.

  3. Marlize May 8, 2013 at 3:35 am

    How much activated charcoal do you use on one pot?

  4. Valetree January 20, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Your terrariums are beautiful! How do you keep them from Molding. I live in an apt. in Phoenix Az and I tried building a terarium with a fly trap plant. Within 4 days there was a white hairy mold covering the whole inside of the jar. Last week I brought home a 4″ pot of Basil that kept drying out. By day 4 there was a grey mold started around the dead basil stems and the rest of the plant had given up. Is there something I can do, or is it just a case of a black thumb?

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