Terrariums—Yes You Can!

Terrariums are surprisingly simple to make and even easier to maintain. Gardens in miniature are fun to build, are appealing to Fairy Garden enthusiasts and are well suited for the not-so-attentive indoor gardeners. The first thing you will learn, unless you are building a particularly large terrarium, is that you will have extra pebbles, charcoal, screening and soil. So plan on making a few terrariums!

Terrariums Horticulture

Open or closed glass containers
Window screening
Activated charcoal
Potting soil
Plants: Select plants that have the same light, soil, humidity and water requirements. Moss, ferns and other smooth-leaf plants can grow in a closed terrarium—one you seldom, if ever, open. Fuzzy plants cannot handle such humid environments and require open terrariums.

Terrariums Horticulture


  1. Wash containers.
  2. Add pebbles a ½ to 2 inches deep, depending on the height of your container. The pebbles act as a drainage reservoir for the container.
  3. Cut a piece of window screen to the diameter of your container, and place over the pebbles to prevent soil from filtering into them.
  4. Add soil, leaving space for plants.
  5. Add plants. Consider from which direction you will be viewing the terrarium. Gently shake off excess soil, trim extra roots and thin out the plant if it appears too full for the container.
  6. Gently fill in around plants with soil.
  7. Water lightly.
  8. Cover soil with moss, or small stones (optional).
  9. Place in a bright area with indirect light.

To maintain your terrarium, do not over water it. Remove dead or wilted leaves regularly, and fertilize sparingly, because you do not want your plants to outgrow the container.

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One thought on “Terrariums—Yes You Can!

  1. One of the many blessings of being Older Than Dirt is having a rich past. 😀

    I was interning for my B.S. in Botany at Bachman’s in Mpls. on Lyndale Avenue back in 1970-1972. You may have heard of the “Tulip Mania” of 1637 but probably NEVER heard of “Terrarium Mania” of the early 70’s. Terrarium’s were SO popular, that Bachman’s had a dedicated department creating them, with a full time staff of EIGHT women, and I was the “young sprout” of the bunch! Bachman’s greenhouse grew 1000’s of sheets of “plugs” in their greenhouses, of which we’d use to create our masterpieces. And Masterpieces they were! ALL of the Top Fortune 100 companies placed orders from Bachman’s for Custom Terrariums that priced out at over $200…and that is 1970’s prices!!!! Those beauties were placed in 18″ and 22″ crystal bowls with multiple levels featuring waterfalls, ponds and entire villages of high quality CERAMIC animals and other items. We even made several for auction at the local PBS station and they sold for over $500, at auction! We also made tiny ones, in 4″ bubbles, for people’s desks, and every price point in between. It was a massive operation that I have the fondest of memories of being part of. 😀 Thanks for a trip back down memory lane.

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