a simple terrarium tutorial

We love terrariums around here. They’re beautiful AND they keep the cats away from plants. Double score. Hemingway has a thing for plants. As in, she destroys and eats them. Growing plants behind glass has become one of our favorite ways to have green things in the house without the risk of an emergency vet visit.

They’re super easy to make. Begin with coffee.

You’ll also need a little soil, activated carbon (find it in the aquarium aisle of the pet store), a clear glass container, a long stick/skewer, tiny rocks, slightly larger rocks, and a plant that needs a new home. We replanted a little plant that outgrew a smaller terrarium.

Start by filling the bottom on your container with small rocks or pebbles.

Give your pebbles a sprinkle of carbon. Since a terrarium is a little eco-system, there’s going to be some decomp. The carbon keeps everything smelling nice.   🙂

Add a little potting soil on top of your rocks- not too much, but enough for your little plant’s roots to grow.

Plop that little plant in there and nestle it down into the soil. I’ve read that (for aesthetic purposes) you should never fill more than 1/3 of your terrarium, but I hold that it’s a matter of preference.

Next, you really want to fill in with rocks. I like to use a bamboo skewer to push rocks down around the sides. You can go crazy with this step and while it does look beautiful when all you see is rocks down the sides, I really love to see a little dirt. It is a plant in there, after all.

From this point, you can carefully place more rocks around the base of your plant to fill in the space. I’ve seen people add little decorative things in the bottom of their terrariums- think tiny gnomes! You know those little ceramic animals that come in a box of Red Rose Tea? I need to find my old collection of those…wouldn’t they be super cute in a terrarium?


Lastly, add your lid and put your terrarium in a spot where it can get a little sunshine!

Virtually cat proof!

Since it is a closed environment, a terrarium doesn’t need to be watered very often. I monitor mine to make sure they aren’t dry.  I certainly don’t have extensive experience with this process, so if you see something I missed or have some terrarium advice for me, I’d love to hear it!

There are lots of great resources online about plants that thrive in terrariums and more advanced methods for putting terrariums together. One of our local plant nurseries has a whole section devoted to terrarium plants!

Happy planting!

<3, Liz

Published by Elizabeth

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