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Getting Started With Terrariums

Anyone can make and keep a terrarium alive


Terrariums are a great way to try your hand at indoor container gardening. Even if you are a confirmed plant serial killer, you can still grow a terrarium successfully. Terrariums can fit in any decor and can be as modern or traditional as you want. They can be the size of a thimble or take up a whole room - it's up to you and your imagination.

1. How to Make a Terrarium

Terrarium photograph
Photo © Kerry Michaels

Making a terrarium is incredibly easy. You can make a beautiful one in very little time and for very little money. One way to save on your terrarium is to look for glass containers at yard sales, flea markets or thrift stores. Almost anything can be used for a terrarium - from martini glasses to clear christmas ornaments to glass cylanders.

The wider the mouth of your terrarium, the easier it will be to fill it. That said, you can always use tongs, chopstics or tools especially designed to fill tight spaces.

A terrarium can be closed or open, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. 

How to Make a Terrarium

2. Terrarium Plants

Terrarium picture of an artillery fern
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Not all plants will thrive in terrariums. When you are looking to buy terrarium plants you'll want to look for small plants that will fit through the opening in your terrarium. Also, if you're making a closed terrarium, you won't want to put it in the sun, which would cook your plants, so look for low or medium light plants. Also look for plants that have a high humidity tolerance - most succulents or desert plants aren't good choices for terrariums.

Terrariums provide a great opportunity to combine plants with a great variety of leaf shape and structures.

Choosing Terrarium Plants

3. Pictures of Terrariums

terrarium picture of a tillandsia in a martini glass
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Looking at pictures of terrariums can give you some great ideas. This photo gallery shows several different styles of terrariums.

Terrarium photographs

4. DIY Terrarium Video

terrarium picture
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

This video gives a hands-on demonstration of how to make a large terrarium.

Video: How To Make A Terrarium

5. Common Mistakes

terrarium Picture
Photograph © Kerry Michaels
While terrariums are incredibly easy to make and maintain, there are some mistakes that you will want to avoid. For example, if you put a terrarium in direct sunlight or too close to a radiator or fireplace, the chances are very high that you will roast your plants. Also, you will want to avoid over watering and over fertilizing your terrariums.


In this article you will find out what the common mistakes are and how to avoid them.

10 Common Terrarium Mistakes>

6. Fabulous Terrarium Book

Picture of the book jacket of The New Terrarium, by Tovah Martin
Photograph © Kindra Clineff

I credit Tovah Martin's fabulous book, "The New Terrarium," for my current obsession with terrariums. The book is stunning and has lots of great and innovative ideas.


Review of "The New Terrarium," by Tovah Martin

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