Terrariums are unique decorative gardens that add beauty to the indoor landscape. A great easy care garden that is ideal for people that travel or those of us that forget to water our houseplants!

What is a terrarium?

A seal-able glass container in which plants are grown. Any clear container can be used as a terrarium the only requirement is that it is watertight. When choosing a container, pick one that is large enough to accommodate the plants you want and has a cover, lid, or door to keep the moisture from escaping. If you find a container that doesn’t have a lid you can cover it with plastic wrap.

Terrariums are unique little ecosystems that recycle their moisture. Moisture from both the soil and plants evaporates, water vapour condenses on the walls of the container and falls back to the plants and soil below. The clear walls of the containers allow heat and light to enter and the constant supply of moisture prevents plants from becoming dry.

Many different plants will do well in a terrarium. Pick plants that will fit the size of the container, slower growing plants won’t need as much maintenance as more aggressive spreading plants. You can have fun picking, maintaining and even changing your plantings.


  • Glass container (enclosed)
  • Small rocks or coarse sand
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • Plants
  • Decorations (optional)

Steps for building and planting:

  1. Place a 1.25cm (½inch) layer of small rocks or coarse gravel in the bottom. This allows for drainage.
  2. Add a layer of activated charcoal on top. This filters the air and keeps it fresh.
  3. Add a layer of sphagnum moss on top of the charcoal. This creates a layer and prevents the soil from settling into the drainage layers.
  4. Add a layer of potting soil - the depth of this layer is dependent on the size of the plants and the size of the terrarium.
  5. Plant your plants. Pull the soil aside, insert the plants and firm soil around it. Don’t overplant, give plants room to grow!
  6. Water lightly
  7. Add any decorations
  8. Cover


  • Place in a bright indirect light
  • Water lightly when it dries out. Don’t overwater, if you do uncover temporarily to allow some water to evaporate.
  • Do not fertilize
  • Can refresh the soil by scraping off the top layer of soil and adding in fresh potting soil. This adds a bit of nutrients and freshens up the appearance.

Plants (here is a small sampling of the plants well suited to terrariums)

  • Baby’s Tears
  • Bromeliads
  • Moss
  • Creeping figs
  • Ferns
  • Goldfish Plant
  • Marshpennywort
  • Neanthebella palm
  • Parlor palm
  • Pepperomia
  • Polka dot plant
  • Pilea
  • Rex begonia
  • Umbrella plant
  • Wandering jew
  • and many more…..

Most tropical plants will grow well in terrariums just make sure you group plants that have the same moisture and light requirements together. 

If you want to use succulents and cacti they would be better suited to an open terrarium. These plants are adapted to dry climates so open, unsealed terrariums keep the air free of excess moisture.

Have fun creating a terrarium today!