How to Make Home Terrariums

A common, easy-to-grow ivy image by Simonfilm


Terrariums add a measure of relaxation to your home very similar to the soothing presence of a fish tank. Terrariums are small gardens inside glass containers. Within these containers lies everything a plant needs to thrive. Unlike regular potted plants, terrariums contain multiple plants of varying sizes below the rim level of the container. Imagine a tiny rain forest growing inside a glass container. Many pet owners create terrariums for spiders, lizards and turtles. For this project, you'll learn how to make a basic terrarium for the home with plants only. See Additional Resources for tips on making home terrariums for animals.

How to Make Home Terrariums

Step 1

Clean the container thoroughly, removing all cleaning agents to prevent harming your new plants. Remember that whatever you place inside the container will leach into the soil as the humidity rises.

Step 2

Place a 1-inch layer of pebbles or gravel along the entire bottom of your terrarium. Gravel helps with draining and prevents root rot in the moist conditions inside the container. Spread a layer of moss above the rocks. This second layer will help keep the dirt in place and prevent settling and mixing of the dirt and rocks over time.

Step 3

Add a smooth layer of potting soil over the moss. Make this layer about 3 to 4 inches deep to allow for the roots of your plants. Adjust this depth if your plants have larger roots.

Step 4

Remove the plants from their pots. Shake off the excess dirt. It's best to create an arrangement based on height and plant leaf variation. Varying heights and leaves also makes your terrarium visually interesting. Any indoor houseplants will suffice, so don't agonize over the plant selection other than to make sure your plants are appropriately sized for the container.

Step 5

Dig small holes and place your plants in a manner that is pleasing to your eye. Using an odd number of plants helps the designer avoid the natural tendency to balance the plantings. Pat the dirt firmly around your plants.

Step 6

Add something of visual interest to the terrarium. A pile of rocks or a stone figurine gives the home terrarium character and personality.

Step 7

Water the home terrarium thoroughly. If your container has a cover, place the cover on and enjoy your beautiful creation. Remember that terrariums should never be placed in direct sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass container
  • Pebbles
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Potting soil
  • Odd number of small potted houseplants

Who Can Help

  • Information about terrarium animals
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About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: Simonfilm

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Make Home Terrariums