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DIY: Making your own Terrarium

  • SumoMe

Penny decided having a terrarium or two would be a good idea, so she went out, got her supplies and is sharing with you how she made hers.

TerrariumA terrarium is a fun way to bring the outdoors in. Fairly simple to make, a terrarium is a self-sustaining eco-system that needs little or no care at all. This enclosed garden is encased within a container made of glass or any other clear material that ranges from fish tanks and cookie jars to decorative bowls with lids. We’ve searched around for some creative terrariums that might give you an idea of what you might like to try.

Oh, Really?

Terrarium DIYBut how is it that these terrariums don’t need as much care as your regular plants?  Well, once your chosen plants have been planted and watered, it should be sealed up with a lid or cork (punch some holes in if you can!) Thereafter, the moisture in the soil condenses and will turn back into moisture and run down the sides. And there you have it, your own self-watering garden. You can of course have an unsealed terrarium but it would need some watering, as moisture can escape. We decided to do both!

Plants you can use for your terrarium can be dwarf plants, ferns, small flowering plants and shoots; more or less general indoor plants that do not need a lot of sunlight. Variations of the cacti family work well too for your very first attempt. Do stay away from fuzzy or fuzzy-leaved plants as they hold moisture and tend to rot in a closed environment.

What you need:

Container (best if it can be enclosed)
Potting Soil
Tools with which to work
Ornamental or decorative elements (sand, stones, toys)
Distilled water

1. Setting Up

Make sure you have everything you need on hand before you begin. This might get a little messy so make sure you’ve chosen a good spot to work in and covered your work area if it’s indoors.

Terrarium DIY2. Pebbles

Fill the bottom of your container evenly with small stones or pebbles. Some gardening stores carry bags of coloured stones that you can use too. This allows for proper drainage, so make sure it’s deep enough.

3. Earth

Next step is to cover it with charcoal. This process is essential to stop the soil from moulding and gives additional drainage so plant roots do not sit in water in the soil. You then add a layer of potting soil (a combination of all the goodies and nutrients a plant needs) that is deep enough to cover the roots of the plants you purchased. Adding ground charcoal to the soil will make it even more fertile, which is great for growing plants.

IMG_11224. Planting

With your plants at the ready, make small indents for plant roots in your soil and place your plant in them. Cover the roots with soil and pat it down. This would be a good time to add some water, distilled being the best as it doesn’t contain chemicals. You can then place decorative sand and pebbles over the soil, along with toys or figurines to liven it up!

Working with a Narrow-Neck Container

If you have a container with a small neck, you can use two long sticks (like chopsticks) to help position your plant. Another handy tool is one that is usually used to pick up fallen screws inside of a computer, which would work perfectly. Using a funnel for soil and sand placement would be another needed tool. To add water, without washing out the roots of your plant, connect a pipe.

Three’s a Crowd

Try not to add too many plants in at once, as they will continually grow and your once lovely looking terrarium might have a strangled plant in its midst.


Your terrarium doesn’t light direct sunlight and there’s a chance you will have cooked your plants if left out. Indirect light is the best.

Terrarium DIYOh Dear

There are things you should watch out for now and then. Once you even catch a glimpse of mould get it out of there as it will run amok and kill everything in sight. Moisture or condensation is normal, but if you think it’s way too much, pop the lid off and it will sort itself out.

Also, too much water or too little water is never a good thing. When it first starts off, it might need a little monitoring, is it too dry, too wet, does it need more soil? But in no time at all, it would have settled down and there you have it: your own enclosed self-sustaining garden that can be brought to work or left in your room.

One comment

  1. Helene Clarke, Helene Cleland /

    How do I send this to Pinterest?

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