How to Build a Terrarium for Plants


Terrariums became popular for exotic plants during the late 1800s. These terrariums, filled with orchids and other delicate plants, often stood in parlors where residents and guests could enjoy their beauty. Terrariums, while not as popular today, are still a fascinating way for children and adults to observe and enjoy the micro-climate within.

Step 1

Wash and dry a gallon-sized glass jar. A large pickle or jalapeño jar from the grocery store is perfect. If a gallon jar isn't available, use the largest jar you have.

Step 2

Place two inches of pea gravel in the bottom of the jar.

Step 3

Add 1/4 inch of activated charcoal on top of the gravel. This will help reduce odor and help with drainage.

Step 4

Mix together equal amounts of sand and peat or sphagnum moss. Place at least one inch of this mixture in the jar; three to four inches will work better.

Step 5

Buy plants that tolerate and thrive in high humidity, such as Venus fly traps, pitcher plants, violets or succulents. Plant the plants in the soil mixture, using a spoon to dig the holes deep enough to bury the roots. Cover the roots with the soil.

Step 6

Water the terrarium with a plant mister until the soil is slightly moist to the touch.

Step 7

Cover the jar with the lid or with plastic wrap, and place it in a window with bright, indirect light.

Things You'll Need

  • Gallon-sized glass jar with lid
  • Pea gravel
  • Activated charcoal
  • Sand
  • Peat moss or sphagnum moss
  • Small tropical plants
  • Spoon


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Keywords: terrarium, homemade terrarium, gallon jar terrarium

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.