How to Create a Terrarium

Learn how to create a tabletop terrarium with these simple step-by-step instructions.

Tiny Terrarium in Canning Jar

Tiny Terrarium in Mason Jar

Terrariums are a wonderful way to display plants indoors. They differ from conservatories in that the plants are inserted directly into the soil layered in the terrarium rather than placing small pots of plants under glass. Like a conservatory, a terrarium creates a beneficial humid environment for plants.

Gardening expert Colleen Mullaney demonstrates how to create your own terrarium, using any clear glass or plastic container that admits light.

Steps

1. Since the terrarium is sealed, it is important to keep the base and the soil sterile. Either run a glass container through the dishwasher, or wipe down all surfaces with rubbing alcohol and water.

2. Build your terrarium by starting with a base level of gravel for drainage.

3. Next, add a layer of chipped charcoal, which keeps the soil clean and helps with any odors. It is available at gardening stores.

4. A layer of potting soil goes next. It should be damp, but not wet. If it is too wet, it will promote disease.

5. Create an interesting landscape with plants by choosing a variety of colors and textures for your terrarium.

6. Arrange plants still in their pots in a pleasing display before putting them into the soil. Take into account any height variations of the cover. Fill in around the plants with more soil.

7. Place the terrarium near a window but not in direct light, since that will produce too much heat and humidity, which promote disease.

8. Instead of watering plants, mist them. This cleans the foliage off and starts the moisture process. The water will recycle itself. Wait about 12 hours before covering the plants so the water dries off the foliage completely.

9. If plants need pruning, simply lift the cover and snip.

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