How to Make Your Own Terrarium
those striking little ecosystems inside glass containers – have become one of
the hottest and fastest growing gardening trends. These ‘gardens under glass’
are perfect for constructing your own unique world and are one of the most
cost-effective, creative and simplest ways to brighten up any dull looking
When to Consider a
- Perfect for those with a
serious case of black thumb, anyone with demanding jobs and busy schedules, or
simply someone that wants to brighten up a space without too much hassle,
terrariums are suitable for almost every occasion.
- These booming creations are
hardy – so they’re ideal for environments without much light and don’t need to
be watered as regularly as other plants.
- Terrariums also make great
centrepieces for interior decorating, to place on wedding tables or in
reception areas or for the office. Because there’s no limitations for how creative
the designs can be, terrariums can be mixed and matched to seamlessly fit in or
enhance any setting.
Want to build your own mossy serenity?
Here’s a foolproof guide to planting your own terrarium:
1. Gather the Materials
Before creating your own
DIY terrarium, make sure you have access to all the right materials. You’ll
- A glass container with
a wide opening is best.
- Miniature plants.
- Activated charcoal
(from pet shops or nurseries).
- Decorative pebbles,
gravel, stones or sand.
- Potting mix or
succulent soil (with a small amount of sand is ideal).
- Sheet moss or sphagnum
- Decorative figurines.
- A spoon or hand spade.
- A spray bottle.
2. Choose the Home
For the beginner terrarium
maker, a deep glass container with a wider opening is best. This is to allow
enough room to create and manoeuvre while planting. You can use anything as the
vessel from a mason jar, fishbowl and glass canister or get more creative with
a light bulb, spice jar, wine bottle, glass jug or hanging lantern.
Closed containers hold more
humidity which will craft that jungle-like atmosphere, whilst open containers
are best for cactus and succulent gardens. Whatever you choose to use as the
terrarium’s home, make sure it’s made from clear, smooth glass so you can clearly
see the garden inside.
3. Create Layers
Clean your chosen vessel
inside and out with a paper towel or cloth and glass cleaner. Do this before
you start planting! The first layer is all about drainage and should consist of
pebbles, gravel or stone. About 2-4 cm is good as this will allow for proper
water drainage to ensure the roots of your plants don’t rot.
Layer two is for hygiene
and will be a thin, even layer of activated charcoal. This layer helps to keep
things fresh within the container by releasing a carbon into the soil once its
watered. It’s important you don’t overdo this later – just use enough to cover
the stones or pebbles.
Layer three is to prevent
soil settling at the bottom of the glass vessel. Use the sheet or sphagnum moss
to create a barrier between the charcoal and soil. For the final layer (the
growing medium), add fresh healthy soil (preferably with a little bit of sand
in it). Potting mix or succulent soil is best, but check with your local
nursery what is the ultimate soil option for the plants you choose for the
terrarium. Add moisture to the soil without saturating it and use the soil to
get creative by adding hills, valleys or anything else your glass container
jungle needs. Squish the soil down as much as possible to eliminate air
4. Add Greens: Selecting
the Right Plants and Succulents
The most common plants for
terrariums are air plants, succulents, cacti and houseplants. Air plants are
great for providing an impressive range of colours and styles and work best in
humid environments. Air plants thrive on bright, indirect sunlight and vary in
hardiness according to what species you choose. Most air plants need to be
dried out before they should be watered again.
Succulents are great for
terrariums because they are super hardy. Cacti is one of the most popular
species to plant and are designed to be able to go weeks without water. Make
sure you get creative when positioning your plants in the terrarium to build
your own inspiring jungle!
5. Give Your Terrarium Some
This is the fun part! Get
your creative juices flowing and use accessories and figurines to give your
terrarium some unique swagger. Use things like old toys, crystals, shells,
shiny glass or metal objects, coloured sand, rock layers and colourful stones
to create your own little world. There is no wrong way to make a terrarium; but
considering where you want it to go (or, if it’s a gift, who you want it to go
to) will help determine its design.
6. Know What Your Plants
Terrariums don’t require
much more than the occasional watering and trimming. You can monitor its water
needs by how dry the soil is, just keep in mind not to water unless the soil is
completely dried out. Avoid placing your terrarium in direct sunlight as this
will scorch the plants and if any parts of the plants dry out or wilt, remove
immediately to keep the rest of the plants healthy.