How to make an amazing terrarium

Terrarium gardening is the art and science of creating miniature gardens in transparent glass enclosed containers. These little gardens are fun to make and provide a conversation piece inside the home as well as interest to observe various aspects of plant growth on a smaller scale.

To begin the process it is important to choose a glass container that suits the décor needs in our home. And it must sit in a place that provides adequate amounts of sunlight for growth. Containers are plentiful and varied in size and shape which in itself is fun to choose either brand new or an unused container at home.

The following supplies are needed:

  • Pebbles or stones that will be placed at the bottom of the container. These will act as drainage for the limited amount of water requirements for tiny plants that grow in such a small enclosed space. Transpiration and evaporation is apparent when growing plants in terrariums and therefore, watering needs are minimal to avoid drowning tiny roots.
  • Soil. If the plants are cacti or other succulents that thrive under mostly dry conditions, the soil choice is different than that for mosses and tropical plants. It is a good idea to speak with an expert.
  • Charcoal is another messy but necessary component that keeps bacteria and fungi under control. It is considered a soil sweetener and is available in garden centers that carry houseplants and gardening supplies.
  • Moss and other small mulch forms can be used to add interest to any bottled garden, along with miniature items depending on the desired theme. For example, with the popularity of Fairy Gardening has emerged all sorts of tiny things that can be used and most garden centers have a Fairy Garden section of items.
  • Plants that will be tiny, compatible and suitable for terrariums. Keep in mind that they will grow, so less may be best instead of filling every space inside the container.

Once everything is gathered and ready to plant, the real fun and creativity begins.

Place the pebbles in the bottom of the container and put a layer of charcoal. Moss can be placed on top and acts as a way of absorbing some of the moisture and providing a layer of green. Soil and/or sand is then added and formed into the desired landscape. For instance, in a large aquarium style container, there is more opportunity for a variety of plant types, each with their necessary soil requirements. As well, in a larger container the landscape can be uneven with small hills and dips.

Next it is time to place and plant the tiny chosen plants. It is a good idea to trim any excessive roots and gently break away any large clumps of dirt. Place plants so that there is space between the glass and the foliage. Tools like spoons, pencils and brushes can be useful for planting.

Finally add any other decorative items in and around the plants. Watering is best done with a spray bottle and not too excessive. Transpiration and evaporation will occur and keep the cycle going. Plants will grow and eventually some may need to be removed or trimmed. Whether as a gift for others or for your own home, terrariums are fun to make and a source of miniature gardening with little maintenance required. Enjoy!

Happy Indoor Gardening!


For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on FacebookTwitter,YouTubeInstagram and Pinterest for other tips and hints.


 Guest post by Darlene - Bylands Account Representative

I grew up on a farm near Lloydminster and also grew up learning to garden. For some reason pulling weeds from around vegetables and flowers was a source of solace and accomplishment. I was a single mom by the time I attended Olds College to pursue a career in Horticulture and Floriculture. Nature and hands on work, including at Bylands, has been the best school for learning ever since.  Love to travel and always want to live a healthier lifestyle. Plants, people and Nature continue to play a big role in that. I love attending Oilers games with my nephew.

Header Photo by Nielsen Ramon on Unsplash