Terrarium How-To

Have you ever wanted to make a terrarium, but you weren’t sure how?  Follow these steps for success!

The Recipe

Building a terrarium is much like “building” a pan of lasagna! It’s all about the layers! Like any good recipe your, “ingredients” are gathered and assembled in the appropriate order to produce a pleasing finished product.


Choose a glass vessel with or without a lid. Keep in mind the types of plants you are going to be using: Succulents vs. ferns, humidity-lovers vs. desert plants.

1st layer: Pea gravel or crushed gravel for drainage at the bottom of your closed container.

2nd layer: Horticultural Charcoal to keep your soil fresh!


3rd layer: Potting mix to plant in!

Make sure it is a Potting Mix and not Potting Soil.  Potting mix is actually sterilized peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and coconut coir (some may have a few other ingredients to make up the “MIX”).  This keeps your terrarium from staying too moist and prevents any issues with fungal growth.  Make sure this level is as deep as the root system on your plant.

mushrooms4th layer: Add terrarium appropriate plants such as Ferns, African violets, Palms, Peperomias (closed lid containers) or succulents, cacti, sedums (open lid containers).Decorative rock, glass, sand, cork, ect.

Top layer: Miniature figurines, seashells, driftwood anything to add an extra bit of interest or whimsy to your mini-world!


No baking required in this “recipe”, just a few housekeeping tips to ensure continued success!

-Water open-lid terrariums about 1x a week (keep soil barely moist but not bone dry)

-Closed-lid containers should hardly never need watering!

-You can mist your terrarium daily to provide adequate humidity.

-Terrariums do best when placed in bright, indirect light. Right next to a bright sunny window may cause the plants to cook in their magnified, glass environment!

-Just like any other garden, there will be occasional plant maintenance. (Trimming off dead leaves, pinching back overly aggressive vining plants, ect.)


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