How To Make a Terrarium

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Creating a terrarium is a fun way to add a touch of greenery to your indoor living space. Today I’m showing you how I put together a simple terrarium for my home.

A couple of weeks ago I was at HomeGoods and came across this large glass jar that I thought would make an excellent terrarium. I assumed it would be $30+, but to my surprise. it was only $14.99 so, of course, into my cart it went.

After sourcing other materials and plants and spending a little time planting, this is how my terrarium turned out:

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Isn’t it pretty?

With thoughts of spring and all-things-green, this little terrarium is just what I need to get me through these last few weeks of winter.

Let me show you how I put it together!

What do you need to make a terrarium?

Surprisingly, you don’t much to put together a beautiful terrarium. Here’s the breakdown:

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

How do you make a terrarium?

It all starts with a glass container. The container can have a lid, but that’s not a must.

Just an F.Y.I.: If you do find or choose a lidded container, once your mini-garden is planted and placed in the proper location, very little attention will be needed since it will water itself.

I actually had one of these last year (See image below.), and it did well on its own. In fact, because of my lack of attention, one of the plants in it sort of took over. The terrarium still looked great, but I decided to empty it when I moved because I wanted to start afresh in my new home.

How to make a #terrarium in a jar! DIY Modern Flower Arrangements for Spring

A disadvantage with a lidded container is that the inside will often fill with condensation, making it harder to see your plants.

For my new terrarium, obviously, I went with the glass container I scored at HomeGoods. Since it doesn’t have a lid, I’ll have to be vigilant about watering. However, if I want the terrarium to be self-sufficient, I can always place a dish or plate on top of the jar occasionally.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Once you’ve selected your container, you’ll want to add a layer of pebbles for drainage. (I found mine here.)That means the pebbles should be pretty small in diameter.

Next, comes a layer of horticultural charcoal. About 1/2 inch will do. The charcoal pulls toxins and bacteria from the soil in the terrarium and helps keep the environment in the container fresh and mold free.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Now you’re ready for put in the soil. I used Miracle-Gro potting mix I had on hand. I found that 3 inches of soil was the right amount in the glass container I bought.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

At this point, it’s time for plants!

What plants are good for a terrarium?

Since my knowledge of plants is limited, I went to my local plant shop – City Grows in Pittsburgh – and asked them for advice.

Their helpful staff helped me choose plants that would work for my particular terrarium based on its size and the light in my home.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Over the years I’ve found that it’s smart to consult experts when investing in house plants. They know the lighting needs, watering requirements, etc. of any plant you’re considering.

The plants I selected were ones that work well in terrariums. I don’t recall the names of the plants, but if you are interested in the specifics, I could contact the plant shop I visited. Please let me know in the comments, and I will update this post.

In doing research for this post, I discovered this Etsy shop which sells a set of 6 mini plants designed for terrariums. If you don’t have a local plant shop, this might be another option.

You can also create terrariums with cactuses and succulents, but they will require a drier setting. If you’re a long-time IBC follower, you might remember my tabletop cactus garden. It thrived for years with hardly any attention or water. Sadly, I had to get rid of it when I sold my former house last year, but it was still thriving at the time.

Anywho, back to this new terrarium. With the soil in place, I tucked in my plants to fill the space.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

To finish things off, I added larger stones and reindeer moss. These elements are optional and mostly serve as decor. However, depending on how the rocks are placed, they can encourage your plants to grow (or not grow) in certain spots.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

And with that, my new terrarium is complete.

The plant store staff told me that to keep the container moist I should add enough water to reach about halfway up the pebbles at the bottom of the container.

Misting the plants with a sprayer from time to time is likewise recommended.

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

So cute, right? All inspired by a $15 glass jar. I’m loving it!

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

If you liked this terrarium project, you might love these too:

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

I haven’t figured out exactly where this DIY terrarium is going to live, but I’m thinking my family room might be an ideal location.

I hope this post inspires you to add a little green to your home. Happy plant parenting!

Learn how to make a terrarium! #terrarium #plants #diy #garden

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  1. I have saved glass jars and lids from burned candles just for this type of project! I’m so happy to be taught how to make a terrarium by an inspiring creator, such as yourself.

    I enjoy all your postings and ideas–they are refreshing and relaxing!

  2. I love this post as well as your the one with your tips on flower arranging! These would be welcome and delightful anytime, but especially in Spring, and x 100 now that so many of us are a) sheltering at home (which makes our home environment even more important and impactful) and b) stressed (flowers and plants, like other elements of nature calm, cheer. and comfort the spirit! Flowers = happiness : )

    Re: the terrariums (LOVE THEM) – what a great project for people who are home bound now, and for all ages from seniors to very young children (with help). A great family project, too – let each person start with a container and create their own little world! The only downside I had with terrariums (and it’s minor) back in the 70s when they were popular, is plant growth – unless you buy special miniature plants, which are hard to find and expensive, they will soon outgrow the nice landscape. Could you do a follow up on maintaining your terrarium? Or not (maintaining anything is usually not nearly as much fun as creating LOL)

    Re: your flower arrangements (LOVE THESE TOO) – years ago I read a rule of thumb on proportions: 1/3 and 2/3 of height. That is, if a vase in 10 inches tall, the flowers could be 15 inches tall (total height appears as 1/3 flowers, 2/3 vase) or the flowers could be 30 inches tall (total height appears as 1/3 vase, 2/3 flowers) This is easier to do than to describe LOL I lay a yardstick on the counter for cutting the flowers, after first measuring the vase height.

    From your photos
    it seems your arrangements approximately follow these proportions, and look wonderful. But then we come to a lovely little arrangement down the page where you are demo-ing small vases with small openings, which you say is based on roughly equal size vase and flowers, and it is adorable! (Roses, tulips, eucalyptus, etc. – love it.) So, rules out the window sometimes, I guess!

    Your creativity and your pages are beautiful.

  3. I know it’s been awhile but are you able to give the list if plants you used? I recognize the strawberry begonia, and the hypoestes but unsure about the others. Also do you have an updated photo of this terrarium? I’m curious how everything grew.

    1. Hi there! I’m so sorry, but I don’t have the names for all the plants. Thankfully you don’t need the exact plants that I did to recreate this. I don’t have an updated photo, but if I remember I’ll take one. The terrarium is still alive and well. I think one plant died, but the rest are flourishing – a couple are even coming out of the top of the container.

      xo Michael