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How to Grow Container Gardens in Terrariums

By Em Connell McCarty ; Updated September 21, 2017

Growing plants in a terrarium is a creative way to garden indoors. Choose an aquarium, fishbowl, large jar or look around for something more offbeat: all you need is a glass container with enough room for your plants to grow. Ferns, palms and mosses are easy to grow in a terrarium. Miniature African violets, Buddhist pine and boxwood also do well in terrariums. Plant Wandering Jew and prayer plants in your larger terrariums, and if you are feeling adventurous, grow a Venus flytrap or a pitcher plant in your terrarium.

Put an inch of gravel at the bottom of your clean glass container.

Add a 1/2-inch layer of activated charcoal to help control odor.

Add dry potting soil, up to 3 inches deep. Create hills and angles by distributing the potting soil unevenly.

Use a long handled spoon to dig holes for the roots of your plants.

Plant your plants in the dirt, gently spreading out their roots, and replace the dirt over their roots.

Mist the inside walls of your terrarium with an ounce or two of distilled water. Do not water your terrarium again until it has begun to dry out.

Keep your terrarium in indirect sunlight.


Things You Will Need

  • Glass container
  • Gravel or aquarium rocks
  • Activated or horticulture charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • Long handled spoon
  • Plants
  • Distilled water
  • Mister


  • Keep the roots of plants you are transplanting into your terrarium moist.
  • Do not over-fill your terrarium with plants; leave room for growth. Plant larger plants in the back. Once a plant grows tall enough, pinch off its tips to encourage it to bush out.
  • Do not over-water your terrarium. If it becomes too water-logged, remove the lid and allow it to dry out.
  • Add shells, rocks and figurines to your garden for contrast.