How to Make a Small Terrarium for Plants

By Nikki Tilley | February 21, 2017
Image by Nikki Tiley
by Nikki Tilley
February 21, 2017

Ever the inquisitive one, I’m always up for new things”¦in the garden anyway. So as I found myself impatiently waiting for spring to rear its delightfully warm head and get to digging in the dirt, I decided to give My Garden Box a try. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sell you anything or sound like an advertisement, not in the least. I just want to share with all my fellow gardening friends how exciting and easy it is to make your own terrarium, which I learned with the help of this nifty box.

In fact, I had such an enjoyable time making mine that I intend to create tons of them for myself and maybe even family or friends. Before starting a project like this, it may help to familiarize yourself with what a terrarium is if you don’t already know. Simply put, terrariums are sealed plant displays available in various sizes, from small glass cases to large stands. This article will focus on the smaller type.


What You Need for Your Terrarium

While the glass case for mine came with my box, along with everything else I needed, you can pretty much use whatever glass vessel you want or readily have on hand. Examples include an old goldfish bowl, aquarium, canning jar or brandy snifter.

A number of plants can be used for making terrariums like this, with ferns being one of the more popular ones. Small grass plants, ivy, carnivorous plants and even many herbs work well. Again, mine were already chosen for me and included Japanese Tassel fern and miniature Golden sweet flag. In addition to the plants and something to put them in, you’re going to need:

  • Lightweight, porous potting soil – just enough to cover the plant roots during installation.
  • Gravel or pebbles for drainage – mine came with Hydro stones.
  • Some moss – any type will do, as this is mostly for interest.
  • Misting bottle – used for watering/misting your plants and terrarium.


Optional items may include some activated charcoal to help keep it fresh (normally for larger types) and small decorative objects (I added a chicken).


Setting up the Terrarium

Now it’s time to start putting your little terrarium together.

  • First, you’re going to add a nice even layer of the stones or gravel in the bottom. If desired, save a small amount for use on top when decorating later.
  • Next, you can add some moss to the outermost edges of the terrarium, again, saving some for later use.
  • Begin filling in with soil and your chosen plants. You can situate the plants in any manner you like, adding just enough soil around the roots to keep the plants anchored well. Note: it helps to have a long-handled spoon for getting those hard to reach areas.
  • Use the leftover stones and moss, along with any decorative items, to embellish your terrarium and increase its interest.
  • Water the terrarium well using your misting bottle and only do so again once the soil begins to dry some.

And that’s it! I told you it was easy. Place it in an area with bright, indirect light and enjoy. If you’re interested in learning more or giving a project like this a try, you can also visit our main site for additional information on plants for terrariums and building terrariums.


This article was last updated on
Read more about Gardening DIY
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

Browse Dozens of Our FREE Gardening Guides Today

Whether your dream garden is a houseplant sanctuary, a bountiful vegetable garden, a pollinator paradise, a bright and bold flower bed, or a backyard oasis – Gardening Know How has the perfect gardening guide just for you.

Click the button below to access more than 3 dozen of our completely free and completely comprehensive guides to growing your dream garden.

Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!