Building a Small Terrarium for Plants

What You'll Need
Glass container (Large bottle or jug, jar, deep bowl, etc)
Ground charcoal
Potting soil
Plants (of similar climate needs)
Long, thin stick
Cover for container

A terrarium is a great way to bring some low maintenance greenery into your home. You can create a beautiful, low cost decoration for your living space by using just about any size or variety of glass container. You can design your plant terrarium to support several different types of vegetation with unique climate needs. The simplest terrarium design is extremely versatile and lends itself to a wide variety of styles and shapes. Once you master the basics of this design, you will be able create terrariums from any number of containers that you come across such as jugs, jars and bowels.

Step 1. Preparing the Container

The container that you choose can range in size and shape, but for your first terrarium it is better to start simple. A good first terrarium container to use is a fish bowl because it is a good size and the opening is not too small. Once you get the hang of this design, you can even use bottles with very narrow openings, but for now, try something easier. Once you choose your container, make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned with soap and water.

Step 2. Creating drainage.

Your terrarium will be completely enclosed and will not have a natural drainage system. You won’t be able to just use dirt as the water will be trapped and will drown your plants. Because of this, you will need to create a drainage level below the soil. This is done by filling the bottom inch or two of the container with small gravel and then placing a half inch layer of ground charcoal on top of it. Use the stick to level out the layers.

Step 3. Laying the soil.

Once your drainage level is in place and level, you can put down the soil. You will want about three inches of soil. Again, use the stick to level the soil out.

Step 4. Planting your terrarium

With the soil now prepared you are ready to plant your terrarium. Consider the placement of the plants before you start. Make sure that they are arranged in a pleasing way and that they are not overcrowded or blocking each other from the light. Using the stick, dig a hole for each plant. Gently break the roots apart and place the plants in the holes. Using the stick, fill in the holes and pack the soil down around the roots gently.

Step 5. Water your terrarium.

Make sure not to over water. Follow the watering directions for the specific types of plants that you choose.

This is the basic design of a plant terrarium. From here you can vary the terrarium depending on its plants. If you are growing tropical plants, keep the terrarium covered and in a sunny spot. If the plants are low water varieties, keep the terrarium uncovered and generally dry. Whatever plants you choose to grow, do a little research to learn their needs and how to simulate them in a terrarium.