DIY Terrarium: Steps on How to Build One

Published April 5, 2021

Adding a little forest or mini garden inside a glass container – a terrarium, you may call it – in your home is eye-catching. It is the nicest way to add little nature inside your house that does not require a lot of work. But how do you build one?


What is a terrarium?

A terrarium, popularly known as a glass garden, is a miniature garden that is housed inside a sealable glass container. Inside of it, the soil and the plant are releasing water vapor, which is recycled within the enclosed space, which is why terrariums are self-nourishing and do not require too much care.

How do you build one?

Building a terrarium is fun and easy. Check these steps on how to build a terrarium at home:

Step #1: Prepare your materials

There are several types of terrarium, but generally, they all need the following supplies:

  • Stones
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • Pebbles
  • Glass vessel or glass container
  • Gardening tools
  • Plants

What is the best plant for a terrarium? 

When building a terrarium, you should follow the rule of the thumb;

  • Select plants that will grow within the size of your glass vessel.
  • Choose plants that will do well with humidity and will grow well inside a closed container.

If you can’t decide which plant to grow inside the terrarium, you should check Fig & Spruce to find out the best terrarium you can build today.

Step #2: Create a drainage 

Since you can’t have drainage holes for your terrarium, you need to create a drainage layer inside the container to keep the water away from the roots of the plant. To do this, you’ll need to cover the bottom of the terrarium with 1 ½ – 2 inches thick of small stones or pebbles.

Then, add ¼ to ½ inch-layer of activated charcoal on the top of the stones; this will help keep the water fresh and prevent any bacterial growth that can cause odor.

Step #3: Add the moss and the potting soil

Add a layer of moss on top of the activated charcoal; this will help keep the potting soil from mixing with the activated charcoal or the stones underneath.

Then, add the potting soil.

Is there a potting soil mix that you need to use? 

The potting soil mix that you need to use may depend on the type of plant you want to grow. Generally, the potting soil often contains one part of sand, one part of peat moss, and one part of sterilized garden soil. And to add the mixture to the glass container, you will need at least 2 ½ inches of it.

Step #4: Add your plants

To add your plant, you should start planting the largest one. If the plant is root bound, you need to cut some off. Cutting off roots is known as root pruning; this is an essential method of growing plants that needed to be confined inside a glass container.

Step #5: Complete your terrarium design

Arrange the plants according to your design. Make sure not to overcrowd them. You may complete the look by adding a thin layer of pebbles for design.

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