Anne of Green Gardens

How to Make a Terrarium


Looking into terrariumThere are several steps to making a terrarium, follow the ones below to make your own.

Step 1: Choose your container and then wash it in warm, soapy water. To remove labels, put the container in a sink of warm, soapy water for 10 minutes. Then scratch the label off with a fingernail. Use a scrub brush to remove any remaining glue.

Step 2: Add about a ½″ layer of gravel on the bottom of the container.

Step 3: Sprinkle a light layer of activated charcoal over the top of the gravel.

Step 4: On top of this layer, add a sterilized potting mix, along with a layer of sheet moss on top if you decide to use it.

Step 5: Remove plants from their pots, and gently pull off ½ the size of the plant root ball. Set the largest plant inside the terrarium first, and then add the other plants around it. The plants may not be stable until you’ve added more soil around the roots of the plants. Firmly press all the plants into the soil. Sometimes using a wine cork on a knitting needle can help press the soil down if your hand doesn’t fit in the container.

Step 6: Water lightly around each plant. It’s not necessary to water all of the terrarium mix.

Terrarium Care

Water plants when the root ball is slightly dry. Do not allow plants to dry out completely, but avoid keeping them too wet.

As your plants grow, you’ll need to care for them by removing any dead or decaying leaves. You also will need to prune plants that become leggy and replace plants that get too large.

Terrarium Trouble Shooting

If tiny gnats appear, this means you are overwatering. Cut back on your water and the gnats will die off.

For closed terrariums, it’s normal to have condensation on the inside of the glass. However, if water is dripping on the inside, you’ve added too much water. Take the lid off for a few hours each day until this stops.
If plants are continuously leggy, this means your terrarium isn’t getting enough light and should be moved to an area with bright light, but not direct sunlight.

Learn more about terrariums in Indoor Gardening: Terrariums. Or, watch Anne create one in her Terrarium Video.



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