Terrarium Planting How-To


When you create a terrarium, you'll have a beautifully landscaped garden to enjoy year round. Because the plants create a great deal of moisture, a terrarium is practically maintenance-free. It's very easy to plant and take care of a terrarium; no detailed instructions are necessary.

Choose Your Plants

You won't have problems finding plants that grow well in terrariums. Don't worry about plants growing too large because you can control their size by cutting them back. Make sure that you buy plants that all need the same type of growing conditions since they will need to thrive in the same space. For example, don't mix desert plants with tropicals. In any case, cacti are not a good choice for terrarium planting because the moist environment can promote rotting. Some ideal plants for terrariums include African violets, air plants, baby tears, begonias, Chinese evergreen, jade plants and aluminum plants.


Containers are either open or closed. They should be clear so that the plants inside get enough light. Jars, jugs, bottles, fish bowls and similar containers work well. There are decorative containers made just for this type of planting. Containers with lids produce much more moisture than open containers, which require watering more often. Closed terrariums may not require watering for up to six months. Although open terrarium containers have a drier environment, they carry a lower risk of developing disease.


Soil for terrarium environments should be clean, well-draining with lots of organic matter. Try potting soils, which can be purchased at home improvement and gardening centers. If you prefer to mix your own soil, combine one part peat moss with one part garden-rich soil. Sterilize the soil but putting it in a 200 degree oven until it is heated through.


Tropical plants work well at normal house temperatures. These plants will thrive in 75 degree F daytime temperatures and nighttime temperatures of 65 degrees F. If you use woodland plants, the day and night temperatures should be cooler.


Add decorative appeal to your terrarium with a few accessories such as rocks or gravel. Small frogs, snails, wood, tiny seed pots and ceramic figures can make your container more interesting. Experiment with layering and creating levels within the container.

Keywords: how to grow a terrarium, terrarium basics, plants for a terrarium

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Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Kimberly Gail has worked as a freelance web copywriter and content provider for more than six years. Her work has been featured on eHow and Travels.com. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Alabama.

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