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The Beginners guide to a Beautiful Terrarium in One Hour

A terrarium is an easy and beautiful project that you can successfully create in one hour. That includes the travel time to the local Nursery or Home Improvement store. Here are the steps to follow.


The Keys to making a successful Terrarium:

1. Select a container that is unique - This is one of the most important aspects of a terrarium. Often you will see a Brandy snifter as a terrarium container and this is perfect because it is very dramatic. Browse through the local nursery or home improvement store and look for something that is dramatic or unique. It could be anything that will hold soil and water. Think outside the box of “a Potted Plant.”
2. Selection of plants – People often fret over which plants go with which plants and you should give this no thought at all. Select an odd number of plants such as 3, 5 or 7 and select them with a variety of leaf shapes. Some should have slender stalks and others should have round and full leaves. Try to vary the color of the plants too. As you are browsing for your plants place them side by side to see what they will look like in an arrangement. Does it look attractive? Do the plants compliment each other. Move the pots around and look for attractive arrangements.


terrarium materials

This picture shows some common materials for making a terrarium

See the variety of plants? I have color, think leaves and broad leaves. And I have a wide variety of containers. We can call these the three difficulty levels. The wine bottle is very difficult because of the thin neck. The pickle jar is medium and the plastic container is the easiest to use.


Materials to Purchase

1. The container
2. 3,5,or 7 plants (this odd numbered arrangement tends to be more interesting than even numbered arrangements)
3. 1 bag of potting soil
4. 1 small bag of stones for the bottom of the terrarium (You can pick small stones the size of marbles from your backyard and save a bit of money here)

Making the Terrarium (The Steps)

1. Put a one inch layer of stones in the bottom of your terrarium
2. Fill the container about half full of potting soil
3. Remove the plants from their plastic pots and arrange them in your terrarium. Move this arrangement around looking for something that pleases you. (I have a list of terrarium plants here)
4. Once you have found an arrangement you like fill the rest of the container with potting soil and gently tap it down so it is firm and the plants are supported.
5. Water with a moderate amount of water.
6. Put the terrarium in a place with moderate or occasional sunlight

Caring for your terrarium

A terrarium is really easy to care for. Check on it every day and stick your finger in the soil. If it is dry then water it. Examine the bottom of the terrarium. If there is water among the stones then you should not water it for a few days.

Want your terrarium to last longer and be even hardier?

You can add a step to this whole process. When at the Store purchase a bag of something called Spaghnum Moss, (Or Spanish Moss) This is a stringy material. After you put your drainage rocks in the terrarium put a one-inch thick layer of the moss as if it were a carpet covering the rocks. Then add your soil. What this does is prevent the soil from slowly over time draining down into the rocks. It will keep the roots of your plants drier and healthier.

If you choose a really dramatic container and choose an attractive set of plants you can make a beautiful terrarium in one hour. And it is something you will really be proud of and other people will comment on how beautiful it is.

Terrarium Making is a beautiful hobby and there are many great books that can help you get better. Check out my bookstore in association with Amazon.com The terrarium Bookstore

Book: The New Terrrarium

The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature

In The New Terrarium , Tovah Martin, one of America's favorite gardeners, introduces you to the whimsical yet practical world of gardens under glass-a no-fuss way to bring snippets of nature indoors. Wherever you are, in whatever little time you have, terrariums are the perfect tool for nature lovers and gardeners everywhere.


TableTop Gardens

Tabletop Gardens: 40 Stylish Plantscapes for Counters and Shelves, Desktops and Windowsills


H. Potter Terrarium Garden Planting Kit

H. Potter Terrarium Garden Planting Kit

  • H Potter has assembled a complete kit for planting your new small terrarium. Attractive enough to send as a gift.
  • You receive the following items each individually packed in a burlap bag: pea gravel 11 oz, activated charcoal 1.5 oz
  • sphagnum moss (dead, not for aesthetics, it's for filtration) 0.5 oz, & soil 7 oz, plus complete planting instructions. (See image of brochure in other images. Brochure comes folded)
  • If you are purchasing an H Potter terrarium see the list below in product description to select the correct size kit.
  • Plants NOT included. We also offer an H Potter Terrarium Planting Kit in a Medium and a Large size.


Mini Ferns

Mini Ferns for Terrariums/Fairy Garden -Assortment of 5 Different Plants-2" Pots


Garden Plants

Terrarium & Fairy Garden Plants - Assortment of 5 Different Plants in 2" Pots


venus fly trap

How about making a Carnivorous terrarium? There are some great books and terrarium kits available cheap at amazon.com you can even order venus fly traps, pitcher plants or other types of meat eating plants! Check out the carnivorous terrariums and plants


Tabasco Bottle Terrarium

Want to make a tiny terrarium? Here is a project inside a Tabasco Bottle. It's pretty easy but there are a few things you need to do for this to be a success. Check out the Tabasco Bottle terrarium here


Premium Kit for Small Terrarium (Succulent, Cactus, and Fairy Garden)

Perfect kit for a first time terrarium gardener or to give as a gift. Provides the exact amount of the specific "ingredients" necessary to build a thriving small terrarium. Will work for closed terrariums, open terrariums, fairy gardens, as well as with succulents and cactii. Kit includes terrarium potting soil, activated charcoal, two different sizes of semi-polished river rocks, shag moss, and complete but easy to follow step-by-step instructions. The ingredients supplied are in the following approximate amounts: 9 oz. soil; 8 oz. small river rocks; 8 oz. larger river rocks; 1 oz. activated charcoal; 1 oz. sheet moss. Great for anyone wanting to set up a terrarium without having to go and find all the different pieces separately. Please note that the kit does NOT include a container or plants. Please also note that this kit is for a SMALL terrarium. We recommend using a mason jar if you are making a closed terrarium or a container with a 4 - 6" diameter if you are making a succulent or cactus terrarium.