Plant Terrarium Basics.




About: curious french guy.....


Did you notice how terrariums looked great on a coffee table or an office desk?
I believed there was a secret choice of soil and plants in order to make such a cool type of interior decoration.......the fact is:


you just have to respect a few steps many other instructables talked about, but I wanted to be more global in my explanations...

please note, I'm not talking about insects, batracians or rare plants terrariums, just cool little pieces of art everybody can make.

Perfect for kids at home or at school, SUCCESS GUARANTEED!!!!!

please check this page for a good example of what you can do (the autor has a lot of talent)

Step 1: Get a Cool Container

a standard mason jar is good, but the choice of a nice container will make the difference between a terrarium you like an d a terrarium you love so much because people are ready to pay 50 bucks for it...,

this is a cheese serving set I bought for 6 euros. the glass dome makes it elegant and is very efficient, creating a kind of greenhouse and keeping the whole stuff moist.

bottles work great, but the neck makes it harder to work (think about bottled boats...), but if you can put draining material and substrate inside, the plants will grow anyway, and you will only have to clean the walls after a few weeks or month....

Step 2: Make a Draining Layer.

this is the secret, it will help the water flowing down without drowning the roots..., then the humidity slowly comes up through the substrate...

I had some clay balls, but any pea sized stones or gravel will do the job.

I would say the ideal thickness of the draining layer is between 1/4 and 1/3 of the total amount of material (draining layer + substrate layer).

those pictures don't show that proportion because the container was a kind of shallow dish.....anyway it's hard to mess up....

Step 3: Ad the Soil Layer.

basic planting substrate is good, but if you are picking plants from the outside, their original substrate might be the best you could use...

please note that you want a slow growth and small size plants, so the amount of "food" (substrate) has to be light.....

I like using a sheet of paper (all purpose cleaning paper for the kitchen)  to help separate the draining stuff and the perfectly without, though....

many others instructables will say you sould add a layer of thin sand and a lyer of activated charcoal....well.... it works great also...maybe a little better, OK, but I never chad to complain about my simpler method....

be careful, because you can easily mix the two layers (drainage and substrate) by being too brutal when adding the substrate....

Step 4: Select Plants, Rocks and Moss Samples.....

think about their origins.....a dry lands plant won't accept the humidity moss will need, and moss won't like dry sand needed for cacti....
think and think again....terrariums are tiny biospheres...

generally the terrarium displays a moist atmosphere (good for mosses, forest or temperate climate) plants living in windy places often prefer a drier smart in you selection.....

the easiest species are succulents, mosses, cacti, small size ferns...

nice looking rocks and gravel will help you hide the ugly parts, roots, joints between the container walls and the plants.

a piece of dead wood or a little figurine can be nice adds to your terrarium.

Step 5: PLAY!!!

I can't tell you how to put everything together....let your imagination speak....

just know your first terrarium might not be terrific...but your second one will surely be good looking....after a few crash tests, I 'm sure they will rock everybody's socks off!!!!

try different kinds of plants and soil, differents ¨ecosystems¨...

here's my collection, some are for myself.....the big one is for my friends carine and richard and most of the others are waiting to grow a bit to become personalised presents.....
notice the cork ones will be exposed in a future instructable, the test tube one is an experiment I am very confident in....

terrariums are little indoor gardens and get a very special affective feeling from their owner....

hope you liked this instructable, try it, improve and enjoy your hand made Eden gardens!!!

my last word would be: if you terrarium turns moldy of if your plants can't fit inside anymore , well break the glass and plant them into your garden or in the wilderness.....



    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest

    16 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 5

    thank you for this informative start. i would like to begin one of my own. i live in a dry ecosystem and would like to reflect this in my first terrarium. do you have any advice for cactus terrariums?

    1 reply
    louis perichonAttmos

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    Iḿ not a specialist....I would say, be tidy on the first layers (enough nutrients in the soil, but not too much....maybe get some special cactus substrate from a shop...)

    and have fun with the layers, get a uniform sand or red earth, choose you rocks and ......try anyway!!!

    have fun, everybody likes terrariums, I give some to peolpe I know all year long!!!


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Copyright infringement...this is my photo and I would appreciate at least recognition of it or to be asked to use it.

    Owner of
    Teresa's Plants & More Store

    This is a display of my mood moss that I sell along with many other types of moss for your terrariums and yard.

    2 replies
    louis perichonTeresasPlants

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    wow, I did it again....sorry...I never thought about copyrights....

    picture removed....

    I am have to admit this was an error....publishing on the web is quite new for me....and I didn't realise copyrights were everywhere...

    This instructable was a lesson for me....believe me.

    .... and I liked you website!! have a nice day!!!

    TeresasPlantslouis perichon

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    I understand...there is a lot to learn working on the website...I do allow my photos to be used so long as they link back to my website and I am am credited with them :-)

    I so appreciate your kind words and promptness in this matter. Have a great week!

    sorry, I found that picture on google, not on its original website.....I didn't mean to cheat...I wrote this picture wasn't mine......I removed it anyway


    sorry about that....



    7 years ago on Introduction

    WOW! What kind of pitcher plant is that, and how old is it? That is an amazingly healthy looking plant! Do you water that one with only distilled water?

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I've sown some starfish flower seeds and ended up with about eighty little seedlings up and growing. This was done in a ziplock plastic bag, in an ordinary seed sowing punnet. What am I going to do with that many seedlings of this little plant? Well it looks like you've given me the answer right here. I going to have fun making these all up for gifts or garage sales. Well done.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Love the ible.

    Can someone comment on what that first plant might be - very interesting - I can think of another unique way to use this.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Exellent. I love the way you take the scary out of this....... great job.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! So simple! In my climate at least, "hens & chickens" spread like wildfire, so I might consider avoiding them in the future. I am SOOOO looking forward to the cork 'ible! I'm also now wondering where I could get/find moss around here. Harvesting from nature sure won't be possible for several more months... harsh winters.

    Love this! Thanks for sharing