COOL: How To Make A Terrarium

Build a terrarium in three easy steps.

terrarium
Photo: istockphoto.com

A plant terrarium is a perfect addition to any indoor space. They increase the oxygen running throughout your room while purifying the air as well. Thankfully, terrariums are easy to create and can be made in a bunch of different sizes to meet your needs. I used to make terrariums when I was a child with those old plastic Coca-Cola bottles. They had a black bottom that you could pry off and place a plant inside of. Then, you would cut the top of the bottle off, turn it upside down and place it over the plant you put on the black bottom. Sounds a bit confusing? Well, let us tell you, it worked perfectly. They don’t make bottles like that anymore, so we had to come up with other ways to make a terrarium. You can use a large number of different containers, such as cloches, mason jars, apothecary jars, wardian cases, aquariums or vases.

Check out how to make your own plant terrarium, keep reading to learn how!

What’s it all about?

A terrarium is a little self-contained garden, housed in glass or a plastic container that needs very little maintenance. I personally feel that a terrarium should have a lid on it to keep the moisture in, or you will have to water it yourself once a week or more. A covered terrarium will give itself the moisture it needs naturally. Occasionally you may air it out.

What you will need

  • A container, glass or plastic with lid or not.
  • Potting soil
  • Terrarium plants
  • Rocks, activated charcoal pieces (optional)
  • Sheet moss
  • Decorations
  • Gloves
  • Watering can

Putting it together

1. Build the base

First, fill your container with rocks and charcoal for drainage and keep this layer about an inch or two thick. The charcoal is used to help keep the soil fresh. If you have a container with drainage, you won’t need to use the charcoal. Take whatever charcoal you have left and mix that with your soil. You can either do this by hand or with a trowel. Pour the mixture you just combined into the container. Gently pack the soil every 2 inches to prevent large air pockets from forming. Also, make sure that you have a clean container and the plants are moisture-loving plants. They should be able to withstand heat and humidity, and they should be able to fit inside the container.

2. Add your plants

Now add a layer of moss, which helps to pull the moisture down. Add about two or three inches of potting soil to your terrarium and prepare to plant your plants. Remove each of your plants from their original containers and place them on top of the soil. Remove excess soil from your new plants and push them into the new soil of your terrarium. Make sure that you leave enough room in between the plants, just in case you need to add soil later. The plants should be pushed in deep enough that all roots are covered. Once again, squash out any air pockets by pressing down on the soil in and around the plants. Then, with your gloves on, layer moss on top of the soil and between the plants. If you have decorations, add them to your terrarium after you have completed your planting. The last step is to water your plants lightly with a spray bottle and place the lid on top.

3. Care for the terrarium

Like any part of nature, you need to water the plants and put the container in an area where it will have direct exposure to sunlight. Remember, how much you water your terrarium is based on the type of plants you have selected, the location they’re growing in and if your terrarium has a lid on it or not. However, as the plants grow, trim any branches that you see growing over the top of the container. Keep your terrarium out of direct sunlight, and heat. It will do well kept inside the home on display. If you see weeds or mold, remove the weeds and scrape out the molded areas. Let fresh air in every now and then if you see condensation.

This video shows you how to make your terrarium.