How to make a plant terrarium

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How to make a plant terrarium
How to make a plant terrarium

The plant cage is a small glass container with a small garden inside. Being in it, the plants require less attention to themselves and are suitable for people who are not particularly good at floriculture or do not have the place or time for a real garden. A variety of plants can be planted in the terrarium. It will liven up and decorate the interior, easily sitting on a table, bedside table or other limited surface.


Method 1 of 3: Choosing a Terrarium


Step 1. Decide which plants you will use

Almost any undemanding plant can be used in a terrarium. Choose several plants with similar characteristics that can grow together. Ferns, mosses, succulents and cacti are classic terrarium plants.

  • Choose a plant that stays small. You can of course have a terrarium large enough to grow a lavender shrub, but dwarf plants are much easier to use. Try to select plants that will not outgrow the size of the cage.
  • It is best to choose plants that prefer shadow.

    If you put a light-loving plant in the dark, it will be stressed and may die.

  • Use plants well tolerant of high humidity.

    Terrariums have high levels of humidity, so it is best to choose plants such as those found in humid forests that are well suited to these conditions.

  • If you are a beginner pick something to start with. cheap and simple for growing.

Step 2. Select a container

The container must be made of glass and deep enough for the plant roots. You can take an old fish tank or one specially designed for plants.

  • Caps - have a high level of humidity and must be lifted periodically to allow the plant to breathe a little fresh air.
  • Lantern-shaped hoods - also maintain high humidity, but are easier to ventilate.
  • Cone caps or pharmacy jars work well for taller terrariums.
  • Retro-style glass "cages" for plants - there are both closed and partially open.
  • Aquariums - Well suited for terrariums, they can be left open or covered with glass on top.
  • Vases, tureens, bowls - open container terrariums are also good, however you will have to take care of watering the plants in an open container.
  • In our example, we used a container similar to a goldfish aquarium (pictured).

Step 3. Decide where to place the terrarium

Terrariums are beautiful because they require little maintenance, but in order to maintain their beauty, they need to be placed in the right place.

  • Lighting: All plants require light, and plants in a terrarium are no exception. However, since glass can enhance the lighting effect, it is unwise to place the terrarium in direct sunlight. Instead, choose a location where the plant will receive a fair amount of indirect light. You can use fluorescent lighting, but always follow the manufacturer's instructions and buy specially designed lamps for plants.
  • Temperature: the terrarium should be indoors in a heated room; an unheated loggia or veranda will not suit him. However, keeping the terrarium near a battery or under an air conditioner is also unwise. Avoid extremely high or low temperatures and extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Correct Surface: Do not place the terrarium on fragile pieces of furniture or surfaces that are easily damaged. Place it where small or overly active children and animals cannot reach it.

Step 4. Get everything you need

In order to make a terrarium, you will need the following:

  • Priming.

    Choose a light soil with good drainage properties, preferably with the addition of sphagnum (peat moss). To check the drainage, slightly moisten the soil and hold it in a fist: when you open it, a heavy kidney will crumple into a single mass, and a light one will crumble.

  • Pebbles or gravel.

    They are placed on the bottom to provide good drainage, and on the surface to give it a neat look. For drainage, it is better to pick up stones about 5 mm in diameter, and for the surface you can take whatever you like.

  • Activated carbon.

    If there is no drainage hole in the container where you plant the plant, put the pieces of activated charcoal there. Coal will keep the soil fresh.

  • Moss.

    The moss layer on the bottom of the cage will act as a kind of sponge, absorbing excess moisture.

  • Gloves.

    Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when handling moss to prevent fungal infections. Activated carbon is also more convenient to take with gloves.

  • Decorations.

    Choose decorative items to add to the terrarium, as long as they do not suffer from constant contact with water. These can be miniature garden gnomes, shells, rocks, small figurines, or aquarium décor.

  • Do not put any living creatures in the terrarium. They can damage plants or infect them with diseases.

Method 2 of 3: Planting Plants


Step 1. Wash the glass container

If your container has already been used, wash it thoroughly in soapy water and rinse well to avoid leaving a drop of soap. A dirty terrarium can grow bacteria over time, so if you have an antibacterial soap, use it.


Step 2. Add drainage

Combine gravel, pebbles, and a large handful of activated carbon. Sprinkle this mixture on the bottom of the container about 2.5 cm thick.


Step 3. Add a layer of moss

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Step 4. Fill with soil

Depending on the size of the terrarium and the length of the plant roots, you will need to cover 5 to 8 cm of soil. Lightly tamp the soil to remove air pockets and level the surface. Make small holes in which to plant the plants.


Step 5. Plant the plants

Remove the plant from its old container and gently shake off excess soil from the roots. Carefully place the plant in the hole prepared for it, add soil around it and tamp it lightly. Plant all other plants in the same way.


Step 6. Add decorations

You can also line the soil surface with moss or pebbles for beauty.


Step 7. Give the plants some moisture

Water your terrarium garden lightly and that's it!

Method 3 of 3: Grooming


Step 1. Water the plants

If you have an open terrarium, water the plants periodically. Fully enclosed terrariums do not need to be watered, but plants in open terrariums should be watered once a week. Succulents and cacti only need watering once a month.


Step 2. Maintain the health of your plants

If you notice weeds, mold, or diseased plants, remove them immediately. Also remove wilting plant parts such as faded flowers.


Step 3. Ventilate the terrarium

If the terrarium is closed, ventilate it periodically. This is usually not necessary, but if the plants are withering or condensation appears on the walls of the enclosure, let fresh air into it (for example, you can raise the glass cover by placing a pebble under it).


  • Succulents usually don't do well in fully enclosed terrariums. Due to the high humidity, they begin to rot.
  • Do not place the terrarium in a dark corner. Choose a location with sufficient indirect light.
  • The best choice is tropical plants that are used to high humidity and have a bright color.
  • Choose small plants for your mini terrarium.
  • Many plants can be propagated by cuttings or even leaves. If you know someone who has these plants, ask them to share a cuttings.
  • Enclosed terrariums are easier to maintain.


  • Do not over-water the plants. Water the plants only when the glass walls are completely dry.
  • This article describes an ornamental plant enclosure. If you need a terrarium for a frog, turtle or other animal, you should familiarize yourself with the information on the conditions of keeping this particular animal.

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