How to Make a Terrarium: A Beginner’s Guide

Terrariums are miniature gardens that bring the beauty of nature inside your home or office. They also make for a unique and thoughtful gift for friends and loved ones. While they may look complicated, making a terrarium is actually quite easy and can be done in just a few simple steps. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of creating your own stunning terrarium, from selecting the right container to choosing the perfect plants and decorations. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a complete beginner, this step-by-step tutorial will help you create a beautiful and low-maintenance terrarium that will add a touch of green to any space.

What is a Terrarium?

A terrarium is a miniature garden or ecosystem contained within a glass or plastic container. The plants are carefully selected and arranged to create a beautiful and self-sustaining piece of décor. Terrariums can be open or closed, with open terrariums providing more air circulation and requiring less maintenance, while closed terrariums create their own ecosystem by recycling the moisture inside.

One of the great things about terrariums is the variety of plants that can be used. From mosses to succulents to tropical plants, there is no shortage of options for creating your perfect mini-garden. Enclosed containers like terrariums can even support plants that wouldn’t normally thrive in your home environment, making them a great option for those looking to add some greenery to their space.

A terrarium also serves as a low-maintenance gardening option. Due to the enclosed nature of the container, it allows for the recycling of water, meaning minimal watering is required. Additionally, because the plants are confined to a small space, they have a better chance of surviving, as they don’t require as much care as larger gardens.

In conclusion, a terrarium is a creative way to bring the beauty of nature into your home or office space. By selecting the right plants and container, you can create a stunning and self-sustaining ecosystem that requires minimal upkeep. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, a terrarium is a great way to flex your green thumb and add some unique décor to your space.

Choosing Your Container

When it comes to creating a terrarium, choosing the right container is key. Not only does it impact the overall aesthetic of your miniature garden, but it can also affect the health and growth of your plants. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting your container:


One of the most popular materials for terrarium containers is glass. It allows for maximum visibility and can showcase the layers of soil and plants inside. Glass also provides a smooth surface for cleaning and won’t absorb any odors or chemicals. However, other materials such as plastic or metal can also work well, depending on your preference.

Open vs Closed

Another important consideration is whether you want an open or closed container. Open terrariums allow for more airflow and less humidity, making them ideal for plants that prefer drier conditions such as succulents. Closed terrariums, on the other hand, trap in moisture and create a humid environment that is better suited for tropical plants like ferns.


The size of your container should be selected based on the plants you plan to use and the space available in your home. A large container can fit multiple plants and provide room for growth, while a smaller container may be better suited for just one or two plants. Keep in mind that a larger container may also require more maintenance, so choose accordingly.

Overall, when choosing your container, make sure it complements the style and size of your plants and fits within the intended location. Whether you opt for glass or plastic, open or closed, the container should ultimately enhance the beauty of your terrarium and provide a suitable environment for your plants to thrive.

Selecting Your Plants

Selecting Your Plants

When it comes to making a terrarium, selecting the right plants is key to creating a beautiful and thriving miniature ecosystem. Here are some tips for choosing the best plants for your terrarium.

Consider the Size of Your Container

The size of your container will determine what types of plants you can use. For small containers, consider using succulents or air plants, which are low-maintenance and don’t require much soil. Larger containers can accommodate a wider variety of plants, including mosses and ferns.

Choose Plants That Thrive in High Humidity

Terrariums create a humid environment, so it’s important to choose plants that can tolerate these conditions. Succulents and air plants are great options, as are tropical plants like ferns and mosses.

Look for Plants with Similar Growing Conditions

When selecting plants for your terrarium, make sure they have similar growing conditions and light requirements. This will ensure that all of your plants thrive and don’t compete with each other for resources.

Consider the Type of Soil Required

Different plants require different types of soil, so be sure to choose plants that can share the same substrate. Most terrarium plants do well in a mix of potting soil and peat moss, but make sure to research the specific needs of each plant before planting.

With these tips in mind, you can select the perfect combination of plants for your terrarium and create a stunning addition to your home decor.

Preparing the Container

Preparing the Container

Before you begin planting your terrarium, it’s important to properly prepare the container. This step is crucial in ensuring the health and longevity of your plants. Here are a few important things to consider:


First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your container is clean and free of any debris or bacteria that could harm your plants. If you’re using a recycled container, be sure to thoroughly wash it with warm water and soap before moving on to the next step.


Proper drainage is essential for preventing water buildup and root rot. To achieve this, you’ll want to add a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of your container before adding soil. This will allow water to drain through the substrate and prevent it from sitting stagnant at the bottom of the container.


The substrate, or soil, is what your plants will be growing in. It’s important to choose a substrate that is appropriate for the type of plants you’ll be using. For example, succulents and cacti require a well-draining soil mix, while tropical plants prefer a more moisture-retentive mix. You can find pre-made substrates at your local garden center or create your own by mixing together different types of soil, sand, and perlite.

Overall, preparing your container is an essential step in creating a healthy and thriving terrarium. By taking the time to properly clean, add drainage, and select the right substrate, you’ll set your plants up for success and be on your way to creating a beautiful and long-lasting miniature ecosystem.

Planting Your Terrarium

Planting Your Terrarium

Once you’ve selected your container, substrate, and plants, it’s time to start planting your terrarium. The arrangement and spacing of your plants are critical to the success of your terrarium, so it’s important to plan ahead and take care during this step.


When arranging your plants, consider their growth habits and sizes. You want to create a visually pleasing arrangement that also allows each plant enough space to grow without overcrowding or shading out its neighbors.

Start by placing your larger plants in the back of the container, and work forward with smaller plants. Use different heights and textures to create interest and movement within the arrangement. Consider using plants with different leaf shapes and colors to add variety and depth to the display.


Proper spacing is essential for the health of your plants. Overcrowding can lead to poor air circulation, increased humidity, and disease, while too much space can cause plants to dry out and become stressed.

A general rule of thumb is to leave about an inch of space between each plant. However, this will vary depending on the size and growth habit of your plants. Be sure to research the needs of each species and adjust your spacing accordingly.


After planting your terrarium, it’s essential to provide proper care to ensure the health and longevity of your plants. Watering should be done sparingly, as excess moisture can quickly lead to mold and rot. Instead, mist your terrarium every few days or as needed.

Lighting is also crucial for the success of your terrarium. Most terrarium plants prefer bright, indirect light, but some species may require more or less light. Be sure to research the lighting needs of your plants and place your terrarium in an appropriate location.

In summary, arranging and spacing your plants correctly and providing proper care is essential to creating a healthy and beautiful terrarium. With a little planning and attention to detail, you can create a stunning miniature garden that will thrive for years to come.

Decorating Your Terrarium

Decorating Your Terrarium

Now that you’ve successfully created your terrarium, it’s time to add some personality and style to it! Decorating your terrarium is a fun and creative process, and there are many different elements you can incorporate to make it truly unique. Here are some ideas to get you started:


Adding decorations to your terrarium is a great way to express your personal style and add some visual interest. Decorations can be anything from small figurines to natural elements like shells or pinecones. When selecting decorations, make sure they are appropriately sized for your container and won’t overcrowd your plants.


Rocks not only look great in terrariums but also serve an important function. They help with drainage and prevent soil erosion. When selecting rocks for your terrarium, choose ones that complement your plants and container. Smaller rocks work well for smaller containers, while larger rocks can be used to create a more dramatic effect.


Figurines are a popular choice for terrarium decoration, and they come in all shapes and sizes. From tiny animals to fairy tale characters, there’s no limit to the types of figurines you can use. When selecting figurines, consider the theme of your terrarium and choose ones that fit in with the overall look.


Lighting can add a whole new dimension to your terrarium by creating a warm and inviting ambiance. You can use string lights, LED lights, or even a small lamp to illuminate your terrarium. Make sure you choose lights that are safe for indoor use and won’t overheat your plants.

By incorporating these elements into your terrarium, you can create a personalized and beautiful miniature garden that reflects your individual style. Remember to have fun and experiment with different combinations until you find the perfect look for your space!
Terrariums are a beautiful and rewarding way to bring a touch of nature into your home or office. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a stunning piece of living art that will provide a serene and calming atmosphere wherever it is placed. Whether you choose to keep it simple with a few succulents or go all out with a variety of plants and decorations, the possibilities for creativity and personalization are endless. So why not try your hand at making a terrarium today and see where your imagination takes you?

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