How to Make a Terrarium
Add some life to your space with these mini ecosystems.
Is your home or office lacking life—literally? Are you doomed with a black thumb that can’t keep a houseplant alive? Well, gather ‘round, disheartened gardeners. We present your newest project: The terrarium.
You may have come across terrariums in trendy interior snapshots from places like Urban Outfitters or somewhere on Pinterest. They’re those little bubbles of greenery that can be spotted hanging from a ceiling or mounted on a wall. They look almost fake, but they’re as real as plants come. And the best part about terrariums besides their appealing aesthetic is that they don’t require a botanist to create them. Just follow the below steps, and you’ll have your own in no time!
- A clear glass container—can be anything from an old vase to a reused jelly jar
- Potting soil appropriate for your plants
- Activated charcoal
- Multiple small plants
- Additional decorative trinkets (optional)
- A scoop, small shovel, or spoon
First, you’re going to need clear, open glass container. Some stores sell hanging ones. You can also find one at a thrift store or simply laying around the house. The more interesting the container, the better! Fill the bottom with about 1 ½ inches of pebbles for drainage purposes, then top with a thin layer of activated charcoal, which will help reduce fungi, odors, and bacteria.
Next up is the soil. Keep in mind that succulents and cacti require a different type of potting soil than regular plants, so envision where you want everything to be. If you are creating a mixture of both succulents and regular plants, try to keep the succulents grouped together. Lay the appropriate soils on top of the charcoal, a tad higher than the height of the plant’s original pot; this will give the plants enough room to grow.
It is now time to plant your greenery. For regular plants, take them out of their pots and break up the ball of soil surrounding the roots. If the roots are long, trim them (they will grow back!). Then, dig with your fingers or a spoon in the soil where you’d like the plant to be and place the roots there. Try your best to keep the plants away from the edges. Pack down soil on top like you would any other plant, and repeat the planting process with all of them.
Add finishing touches
Your terrarium is complete! If you want to add some extra pizazz and personality, feel free to put in some moss, fake mushrooms, figurines, or other accessories.
Then just give your terrarium a couple shots of water; it doesn’t need a ton of hydration like regular houseplants.
To ensure your little ecosystem thrives, monitor how dry the soil gets over time to evaluate its water needs. If leaves wilt, remove them immediately—same with dead leaves and entire plants that die. As far as sunlight goes, place in indirect light. Think of your terrarium as a miniature greenhouse. Direct sun will scorch your little plants. Last but not least, don't forget to enjoy the little world you created!