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How to Make Your Own Terrarium

The roots of the modern terrarium may be in the 1800s, but the aquarium-like plant environment has become a home decor trend in the last year. Part of their appeal is how different they can look: from light bulbs to lab flasks, there’s a variety of glassware that can bring an interesting twist to the composition.

If you’re put off by how intricate they appear or your lack of gardening knowledge, there’s no need to fear. Regardless of how green-fingered you consider yourself, making a mini-garden with a terrarium is an easy and low-maintenance way to brighten up any room whilst satisfying your creative urges.

Whether you’re going it alone or making a gift among friends or family, creating a terrific terrarium is always a fun and fruitful experience. We show you all you need to do it, and the 8 steps you need to take to make the perfect garden in a jar.

What you need

  • A mason jar or other small, clear container
  • Water spray
  • One or two small plants (succulents make a great choice)
  • Soil
  • Charcoal
  • Moss
  • Small pebbles or rocks
  • A small trowel
  • Anything else you want to put inside your little glass garden

Once you have all these parts you just have to put them together to make a perfect terrarium. Remember: this is not the only way to make a terrarium. Part of the fun is experimenting and ending up with an idea that is unique to you.

Step 1 - Container Decontamination

Container Jar

We’re not saying your jar will arrive covered in more harmful bacteria than hands in a soap ad, but spraying and cleaning the container until it is spotless certainly won’t harm the plants’ chances of survival. It will also add a crystal clear sheen to give your terrarium’s contents maximum visibility.

Step 2 - Pebble Placement


Though the pebbles’ practical function is to act as a ‘drainage layer’ to soak up moisture, when arranged carefully they can be a beautiful part of the terrarium’s visage. If you fancy yourself as the Ernest Hemingway of terrarium makers, feel free to throw the stones into the jar with a rugged, no-nonsense grunt.

Step 3 - Charcoal Coating


Adding a layer of charcoal will help keep the terrarium clean and healthy. After all your hard work cleaning the jar in Step 1, you want to take every precaution to make sure your container stays clean - and not to get ahead of ourselves, but considering how attached you will be to your plants in Step 6.

Step 4 - Soil Sprinkling


A hugely important step, adding soil makes way for the defining feature of the terrarium: the plants. No matter how badly you want to, it will be hard to make the soil into an attractive feature of the terrarium. It’s best just to add it and move on.

Make sure you add enough soil for the plants you are using. You can do this by making your soil layer as deep as the plant’s original pot.

Step 5 - Digging for Victory


After you’ve added the soil, you have to make way for the plants. Make sure you don’t dig too far into the soil, but make sure you create enough room for the plants’ roots.

Step 6 - Plant Planting


Carefully remove the potted plants from their pots, and then remove the original soil from the plants’ roots. Once the roots are mostly clean, place the plant into the hole in your terrarium’s soil, roots-down of course, and arrange as you like. Once your plants are positioned as you want them, add more soil around the edges of the plant.

Step 7 - Beautification

Glass Pebbles

It is now time for you to add the glass pebbles or any other accessories you want to use to make the terrarium your own. Here are some great ideas you can use as inspiration:

Step 8 - Just Add Water


Your terrarium is finished, but not until you give it the liquid of life - aka water. Watering your terrarium will keep it fresh and vibrant. If you have any water left over, it might be an idea to drink it yourself; doctors recommend you drink about 2 litres of water per day to stay as healthy and bright as your homemade terrarium.

Step 9 - Enjoy!

All that’s left to do is place your terrarium somewhere where it can be seen and loved. Visitors will be amazed when you tell them you made this work of art yourself. Unless of course, you are an artist. Then they’ll still be impressed, but maybe not amazed.

If you are as proud of your terrarium as you should be, why not make another? Simply scroll up to the top of this page for the same guide you found so helpful in the first place. If your terrarium somehow went wrong, don’t give up. Just scroll to the top of this page and read the guide more carefully this time. Trust us. You can’t go wrong.

With terrariums like the one you just made, the world is becoming a truly greener place.