Instructables
Picture of How to make a simple Terrarium
This instructable is about how to make a simple Terrarium. Making Terrariums can be as simple or as complex as you would like them to be but always remember these three things in your design:

1. Base your plants and how many off the container you use
2. Generally, no fertilizer should be used with your soil medium
3. And provide proper drainage

Keeping these ideas in mind will keep your plants healthy throughout their lifetime.

Note: In most cases, fertilizer or compost should not be used unless you want your plants to outgrow and/or overshadow smaller plants in your terrarium. While fertilizer is great with individual potted plants, little ecosystems like terrariums balance themselves out on their own with minimal care.

 
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Step 1: Gather your supplies

Picture of Gather your supplies
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Spray bottle with filtered water
Dried moss
Pea gravel
Potting soil
Any size container (preferably glass to be able to see your substrate)
House plants ( or native plants, but they can be picky)
**Activated charcoal
**Stones

**= Optional

Notes:

You don't have to use activated charcoal unless you have a sealed container for your Terrarium. If you do, then it's a must. I am using it in this instructable for demonstration purposes. The charcoal helps keep the water clear of buildup of microorganisms that might grow in your substrate, such as algae and keeps the air clean for your plant to breathe. Besides, who wants a smelly plant in their house?

The type of plants you use can be almost anything, but it ALL depends on the container. If you have a plant that will outgrow your container size, or the environment is not one it can grow in (given time, a cactus will rot in a moist closed container), then you'll be kicking yourself later. Do research on what your using beforehand and your plants will be all the healthier for it.

In this instructable I used African Violet, Spike Moss, and dwarf Sword Fern.

For a list of suitable Terrarium plants, follow this link: www.thegardenhelper.com/terrarium~plants.html

HLW675 days ago

Thanks!

ZyZZyvette3 years ago
Do you think Hen & Chicks would do OK in a 4-6" container on an east-facing windowsill? I think they're adorable, but I wasn't sure if I'd get any chicks in a container that small.
Asura-Valkyrie (author)  ZyZZyvette2 years ago
I apologize for such a late response. I'm sure you have probably found your answer by now but yes, Hen-and-chicks is a great thing to put into something in that size. They are a very hardy plant and can be grown almost anywhere. It also has the tendency to stay the size relative to it's container however, over time it will produce upstart plants around it and it may grow crowded. You can take the starts from that pot and put them into another to grow.
My mom grew hens and chicks in the drip catcher for a pot that was about an 8" diameter. They are quite hardy and adaptable, hers survived the winter in this tray. You should be just fine growing them in the smaller container in the windowsill.
elsaericson2 years ago
this isn't a terrarium...its a pot
Asura-Valkyrie (author)  elsaericson2 years ago
Technically, in this example, yes, it would be considered more a "pot" than an actual "terrarium". Any type of vivarium cannot be called such unless it actually has some type of enclosure to it's environment. At least in the traditional sense. It would not do to have a desert terrarium with a small bell jar enclosure for example (too much constant humidity for desert life that has evolved to survive constant hot and dry climates)as a bigger or open enclosure would be better. This example in the instructable could have an enclosure, like a lid or large jar. But you have to remember, unless you have the time to take it off and on constantly and consistently you can create an unstable environment for the plants that it may not be able to adapt to. There is also the option of controlled airflow, humidity and sunlight via the use of an aquarium tank and lights, but this is better used for larger projects and not everyone can afford the luxury.
arte.sano4 years ago
sweet. great instructable. A fav.
ChrysN4 years ago
That looks really pretty, I tried making a terrarium once but didn't think to check whether the plants I used were suitable,so several plants died. 
Asura-Valkyrie (author)  ChrysN4 years ago
It happens sometimes. Just out of curiosity, do you remember what plants they were?
No, I can't remember.  I'll definitely use the link you gave to find more suitable plants to use.