Lawn & Garden

How To: Make a Terrarium

Terrariums can be as basic or elaborate as you want. While those featuring sand and air plants (tillandsia) are popular, terrariums that incorporate wetter plants, such as ferns and moss, are a unique way to bring the lush, vibrant feel of the forest into your home. Interested in creating one? Here's how:

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Clear glass vessel (big enough to hold the plants you intend to use)
- Chopsticks or longhandled tweezers
Potting soil (for succulents, consider special soil)
Plants (look for miniature varieties like lemon button ferns, nerve plants, and jungle cactuses, such as varieties of rhipsalis. Ask your local nursery for suggestions.)
Activated charcoal to absorb moisture. (For general drainage purposes, rocks are sufficient, but to create an environment that doesn't get too wet, activated charcoal acts as an absorber.)
Other articles from nature: stones, moss, twigs, decorative glass, etc.


1. Clean the vessel using water with a few drops of bleach in it. Make sure the container is dry before you begin.

2. Shake the activated charcoal into the bottom of the glass container. You don't need much, just enough so that the bottom of the vase is not visible.

3. If plants are too large, and able to be separated, pull the roots apart gently to separate into smaller sections that will fit into your vase.

4. Distribute a thin layer of soil on top of the activated charcoal, creating a shallow hole big enough for the plant's roots.

5. Gently set the plant into the hole. Using a kitchen spoon or other scooping device, fill the area around the plant with soil, patting it around the plant's roots to steady and hold it upright.

6. If your vase is large, you might add another plant. If not, fill in the remaining area with items that can sit on top of the soil, like rocks, moss, air plants, or bits of crystal. Remember to plant all live plants first, placing decorative items in last.

7. Water your plant lightly and set it in an area where it will get the required amount of daily sunlight (read care label on plant or talk to the folks at the nursery or greenhouse where you bought it to find out how much light your plant likes).

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