How to Make a Houseplant Terrarium

When you decide to create a houseplant terrarium, you’re not just growing plants – you’re crafting a miniature ecosystem. You’ll need to balance moisture, light, and temperature levels to create a thriving environment. It’s a delicate dance, but with the right guidance, you can coax vibrant life from a well-chosen selection of plants. You’re about to discover the key elements that will transform a simple glass container into a lush, self-sustaining world. But first, let’s start with the basics – what makes a terrarium tick, and how can you set the stage for success?

Understanding Terrarium Basics

As you start on creating your houseplant terrarium, it’s important to grasp the fundamentals of terrarium gardening, including the advantages and types of terrariums, to guarantee a thriving miniature ecosystem.

Terrariums offer several benefits, such as creating a humid environment suitable for moisture-loving plants and serving as visually appealing art pieces. They can also be a relaxing and meditative experience.

There are two main types of terrariums: closed and open. Closed terrariums are ideal for plants thriving in high humidity, while open terrariums provide more air circulation, suitable for plants needing humidity.

Understanding these basics will help you create a thriving terrarium that brings you joy and serenity.

Selecting the Right Plants

When choosing plants for your terrarium, consider selecting species that thrive in humid environments, like Maidenhair Fern and Peperomia, which are well-suited for closed terrariums.

You’ll want plants that can tolerate high humidity and low air circulation. For open terrariums, plants like Anthurium and Pothos do well with more air circulation.

Mixing plants with similar needs can create a harmonious environment. Consider the growth habits and light requirements of each plant to make sure they’ll coexist peacefully.

Avoid combining plants that have conflicting needs, as this can lead to unhealthy conditions. By selecting the right plants for your terrarium, you’ll set yourself up for success and create a thriving miniature garden.

Preparing the Container

You’ll need to select a clear glass vessel with a wide mouth to guarantee easy maintenance and pruning of your terrarium’s plants. This will make sure you can easily access the plants and prevent any potential issues. When choosing a container, consider the height and space requirements for the plants you’ve selected.

Here are three essential factors to keep in mind when preparing your container:

  1. Avoid using garden soil or ordinary potting soil, as they can compact and prevent proper drainage in your terrarium.
  2. Experiment with different soil mixes to find the right balance for your plants’ health.
  3. Use containers like glass jars, fishbowls, or geometric glass boxes that provide adequate space for your plants to thrive.

Building the Terrarium

Start by adding a layer of small rocks or pebbles at the bottom of your container, which will aid in drainage and prevent the soil from washing away. This is essential to prevent waterlogged soil and root rot.

Next, add a layer of activated charcoal to help absorb excess moisture and prevent mold growth. You can also add a layer of sphagnum moss to help retain moisture and provide a habitat for your plants’ roots.

Now it’s time to add your soil mixture, making sure to leave enough space for your plants’ roots to grow.

Caring for Your Terrarium

Maintaining a delicate balance of moisture, light, and temperature is vital for keeping your plants thriving as you’ve carefully crafted your terrarium. To guarantee your plants receive the right amount of light, place your terrarium near an east- or west-facing window. Avoid direct sunlight, which can cause temperature fluctuations.

Here are some essential care tips to keep in mind:

  1. Water sparingly: Overwatering is the most common cause of terrarium failure. Check the soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.
  2. Monitor temperature: Most plants thrive between 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C).
  3. Prune regularly: Remove dead or dying leaves to prevent the spread of disease and encourage healthy growth.


With your new houseplant terrarium thriving, remember that ‘many hands make light work.’ Regular pruning and maintenance will keep your miniature ecosystem healthy and visually appealing.

Check the terrarium’s temperature, humidity, and moisture levels regularly, and make adjustments as needed.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be enjoying your lush, self-sustaining world in no time.

Happy planting!

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