Enliven Your Space: Make Your Own Terrarium

Friends, as you know I’m devoted to improving the lives of my patients, which is why I want to share my terrarium tutorial with you today! Terrariums are beautiful, fascinating and sculptural elements that can enliven your home. These  partially self contained ecosystems fit into almost any space, and creating them offers endless possibilities for artistic expression. If you dream of gardening but do not have outdoor space, terrariums are a great way to cultivate plantlife indoors.

Here are the terrariums that I made for my beloved, Miss Matilda, for her birthday:

 

 

Getting started:

The first step is to gather the tools and materials that you will need. Of these, choosing the container can be the most challenging. If you want to work with tropical high humidity plants it’s best to find a closed top, or narrow top glass container.

The soil elements are easily found at a gardening store. You will need:

  • Pebbles, pumice, or perlite.
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil

Other useful tools are:

  • Tweezers and chop sticks to help place and arrange the soil and plants
  • A funnel

Step 1: Foundation

First you want to lay a solid foundation on which to build your micro garden.  You will lay down 3 layers to create the right environment which will keep the soil moist without becoming soggy. The layers also help the air circulate properly through the plant roots.

  • Layer 1: Lay in pebbles or perlite for drainage. This will create a trap for excess water to keep the soil from becoming too damp. I use perlite because it much lighter and I like the aesthetic quality of the white material.
  • Layer 2: Add a layer of charcoal on top of the drainage pebbles. The charcoal filters the air inside the container, keeping it fresh.
  • Layer 3: Finally add the potting soil to complete your garden’s foundation. This should be deep enough to give the plant’s roots space to grow, but leave enough space for the plants to grow vertically.



Step 2: Landscaping
Start your landscaping composition by adding moss. It is best to place the moss first so that it does not become entangled in the leaves of the plants. Be sure to leave patches of dirt visible so that you have room to place the plants. After the moss has been added, you can add other elements such as stones to your landscape.

Step 3: Prepping and Planting

There are a number of different plants to choose from for your terrarium. It’s best to choose plants that are small and will grow well in a high humidity environment. Ferns and pilea are particularly well-suited.

When taking cuttings from plants sure to break the plant off with your fingers as close as possible to a branch. It is also possible to replant a complete rooted plant if your container is large enough to accommodate it.

Be sure to give your plants room to grow.


Small terrariums are particularly well suited for tight spaces and small apartments. They don’t require much water but keep an eye on them to make sure that the soil doesn’t become dry. (Water once a week or when the soil becomes dry.) Add a basic house plant food to the water three times a year.

Keep your terrarium in  bright indirect light. As the plants grow, you may need to prune them back a bit to keep the size under control. If a plant becomes too large it can be replaced with a smaller clipping from that same plant. Your terrarium will continue to prosper and grow with proper care. Enjoy!