DIY: Building Terrariums

| 8/6/2009 3:26:36 PM


My good friend, Cecilia is moving into her first apartment in a few weeks. Her mind is racing with color themes, furniture measurements and the overall design flow of her apartment. When we discussed her grand plans along with her creative ideas, one project really stuck out in my mind: Making a terrarium.  

Regardless of how big a space is or what room it is in, terrariums polish a space off and they incorporate nature into a room.


What you'll need:

• Spray bottle
• Glass container (a large open top will be easier for routine maintenance, however you can also have a closed terrarium)
• Gravel or small rocks
• Charcoal
• Cactus potting soil
• A few succulents (the number will depend on how big your glass container is) or ferns
• Moss or ground cover
• Decorations (rocks, glass or metal birds, sticks or sea glass)
• Water



1. Terrariums do not have a drainage hole like a potted plant, so a false drainage system is necessary. Add 1 to 2 inches of gravel or small rocks to the bottom of the container. This will prevent the plants from sitting in too much water and eventually rotting.

2. Next, add a thin layer of charcoal. You can substitute sand for charcoal but keep in mind that charcoal will prevent mold from growing and it also keeps the soil fresh.

3. Add cactus potting soil. It should take up roughly1/3 the size of the container. If you are using ferns you can substitute cactus potting soil for normal potting mix.

4. Before planting, make sure you remove any dead leaves or pest infestations. Place the largest plants first as they will take up the most space; plant the others next. Make sure the leaves are not touching the glass sides. This measure will prevent unnecessary condensation.

5. Add a thin layer of moss or ground cover.

6. Place any garden decorations on top of the moss.

7. Using a spray bottle, add about a shot glass worth of water to the terrarium for the finishing touch. Don’t add too much water.

8. Keep the terrarium out of direct sun as the heat will fry the plants.