I built a terrarium for my apartment to complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto– It was a simple process, and cost under $50 to make.
You can make one too! It’s easy:
1. Gather the needed materials- a clear glass container (can be open or closed), rocks (river rocks, polished pebbles, sea glass, marbles, etc.) , horticultural charcoal, soil, Sphagnum or sheet moss, and the terrarium friendly plants that will not overgrow. Good options are plants like boxwood, croton, Joseph’s coat, pineapple verbena, and miniature ferns. Also gather basic tools- scissors, a spoon or funnel for placing soil, long tweezers, and paper towels.
2. Add the Rocks- this layer helps to shape the terrain while aiding drainage and aeration. Vary the layer’s thickness by the size of the container. The smaller the vessel, the thinner the rock layer; you’ll want to leave enough “head space” at the top of the terrarium when you’re finished that the setup doesn’t look cramped.
3. Add the horticultural charcoal.
4. Add a few inches of soil. If a plant’s nursery tag indicates that it needs a specific type of soil, use that. This layer doesn’t have to be perfectly flat. If there is enough room, hills and valleys give the landscape character. Again, don’t fill the container too high with soil, since you’ll want to have enough “head space” for the greenery to grow.
5. If you are using moss, pat it down so there are no air pockets but leave space for the plants. If you are using moss you have snagged from nature instead of packaged moss then be sure to spritz it with a pesticide first to debug it. Plant the plants you have chosen- go with the instructions the greenhouse has given you on spacing. Give the plants some water- keep in mind the rocks are your drainage system, so don’t overdo it. You’re done!
Maintaining a terrarium is easy! For moss terrariums, a light misting of water every two to four weeks should suffice. For plant terrariums, just follow the watering instructions on the plant’s nursery tag. Just don’t over-water!