Terrarium Making

What is a Terrarium?

A terrarium is simply a garden designed in a glass container which has a collection of small, ornamental plants in a partially or fully enclosed space.

Things needed

  • Transparent glass vessel: Prefer partially open glass containers, as with closed containers, you may face condensation and fungal infection problems.
  • Small decorative stones
  • Small charcoal pieces
  • Potting soil
  • Plants for terrarium making: Choose small plants preferably which are humidity loving for your terrarium. Some succulents like snake plants, mini cacti and foliage plants such as fittonia, starfish plant, pothos, dracaena, small ferns, creeping fig, prayer plant, lucky bamboo and air plants can be used. Succulents and cacti are not humidity loving, so we can choose containers that have a wide opening. In flowering plants, African violet can survive well in a terrarium.
  • Tools: Gloves, Garden trowel or a large spoon, chopsticks/forceps.

A terrarium can be easily prepared with five simple steps. So, let’s start with the process! 

Step 1: Add decorative stones or pebbles at the base of the container
To ensure the proper drainage, add one and half-inch thick layer of stones. 
Step 2: Add a thin layer of small charcoal pieces
The most crucial use of charcoal in a terrarium is that it will keep the water fresh, odour free and will protect the plant from fungal and bacterial infestation. Use ¼- inch to ½- inch layer of small charcoal pieces above the stones.
Step 3: Add a layer of potting soil
Add 2-3 inches layer of potting soil, so that it’s good enough for the plants to grow. 
Step 4: Layout  your decorative plants
Remove the plants from the container that you will need for terrarium making. Prune/cut the large roots. Make a hole in the potting soil with the help of wooden stick/chopsticks to place the plant. If the container opening is small, then use cooking tongs/forceps to place the plants inside and pat the soil to fix them firmly.
Step 5: Add decorative stones/miniatures at the top
You can add embellishing stones and miniatures at the top, for an amazing terrarium look.

Care tips for your terrarium

  • Soil: For succulent plants use succulent potting mix and for foliage plants use foliage potting mixture.
  • Sunlight: Keep the terrarium near a bright indirect sunlight area. Do not place it in the direct sunlight area.
  • Water: Water every two weeks only after checking if the soil has dried. Lightly water at the base with the help of spray.
  • Fertilizers: Do not feed the plants with fertilizers, as it can make them overgrow from the container.

Special Tip

  • If you feel like, one of your terrarium plants is dying, remove it immediately before the infection could spread further. Be careful that the other plants do not get damaged while removing the infected one.
  • Clean the glass container with the help of tissue paper both from inside and outside to ensure a clear view. Never use chemical glass cleaners, as it may kill your plant.
  • In case of the closed terrarium, take out the cover/lid once a month to air it out. Leave it as it is until the foggy appearance or condensation disappears.
  • Don’t plant fast-growing and larger plants with the smaller ones in a terrarium, else there will be the light hindrance for smaller plants.



Use of dirty glass, wrong plant selection, growing of succulents in a closed container, overwatering, over fertilizing, too much light or too little light, leaving plants dry, overgrown plants and keeping them too close to the heat sources. 


Q.1 Why is my terrarium foggy?
The problem might happen in case of closed terrarium due to the difference in temperatures inside and outside of the container which generally happens if the direct sunlight hits the closed container. This might also result in the burning of plants. If you are facing a foggy appearance in an open container, then it must be due to overwatering.

Q.2 What to do if the plants outgrow the terrarium?
Regularly prune the plants to keep them in shape.

Happy Growing,
Shalini Sharma & Shashi Agarwal

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