How To Make And Take Care Of Your Own Terrarium

How To Make And Take Care Of Your Own Terrarium

Imagine having your own forest that you can put in your room that can be an ecosystem on its own. Such dream is real, because you can actually make your own. Yes, you can make such kind of thing with your hands, even deciding yourself what kind of plants to be put in it.

You might have heard about a forest in a bottle called terrarium. But for you who haven’t, you might wonder what is terrarium? According to, terrarium is a miniature garden in an artificial environment, in which small plants and animals may be kept as ornament or for educational purposes.

It is an artificial, meaning that this kind of thing is made by human. But it is also an environment, meaning that it is a place for some living organisms to live. So, terrarium is basically similar to aquarium, but the difference is what’s inside it.

“Aqua” means water, so inside an aquarium you will find a miniature of water environment. While “terra” means land, so what you find in a terrarium is the miniature of land environment. And just like aquarium, you can make one for your own.

So, do you want to own one? Here in this article we will talk about how to make and take care of a terrarium.

Making A Terrarium

Basically, to make a terrarium you need a bit more effort than making an aquarium. First, you need a clear container in any shape. It could be a bottle, a fish bowl, glass jar, glass, or any other clear things you might have in your house.

Secondly, you need to provide the base for the terrarium, which are pebbles, activated carbon, soil, and if you can find some you can also put moss in it. Put the pebbles in the bottom of the container for a drainage layer and to store water.

Make the layer at about 1 to 4 centimeters thick, depends on the size of your container. Then you can add activated carbon, soil, and the moss in such order. The thickness of this layer is optional but consider to make it possible for your plants to stick its roots.

Thirdly, choose some plants to fill your terrarium, for a tip, choose the plants which are small enough to fit in your container. Remember that you are not planting a tree in a pot, but you make a forest in the bottle. Ferns, cacti, and succulents are some examples of plant which are perfect for it.

cacti terrarium (Wikimedia Commons)

Take your plants from the pot and break the soil ball in its root until you can find the roots. You may trim some excessive roots but make sure you don’t cut it too short. After that, dig a hole to plant your plants in the base using your fingers, pencil, spoon, or anything that can reach the soil inside your container.

The next step is arranging the plants inside the terrarium. Use your creativity to make an appealing arrangement. You may also add some ornaments like animal miniatures, cool-looking rocks, or any other ornaments. Then don’t forget to water it after being settled.

Finally, clean the inside of your containers for a clear view from the outside. This step is pretty important since you might find some soil or water drop sticking inside the container that will give your terrarium a bad look.

Taking Care Of Terrarium

closed terrarium (Wikimedia Commons)

Actually, there are two kinds of terrarium, the closed container and open terrarium. Each of them needs different procedure to take care of. The open terrarium is more suitable for plants which prefer drier environment like succulents and cacti.

In taking care of this one, you need to water it sometimes like when you plant it on a pot because in open terrariums the water evaporates into the atmosphere. But because open terrarium plants are usually those which prefer drier environments, you don’t need to plant it in daily basis.

However, in closed container terrariums, you might not need to water it at all. This kind of terrarium is a miniature of rainforest. The water vapor that evaporates are trapped inside the container and drops back into the soil. Even some closed terrariums don’t need air holes because the air inside the container is in a recycled by the plants.

The main concern in taking care of a terrarium is maintaining the perfect environment for the plants. At the start, you might need to check the water and soil condition. Make sure that there is no excessive or lack of water for the plants and the soil is supportive for them to grow on.

But once the terrarium has reached some stages, you can find a perfect environment for the plants that you can just leave it alone. A gardener named David Latimer has proven that he could make an eternal closed terrarium that have lasted for more than 50 years without being opened.

Tips And Tricks

Hanging terrarium by Apartment Therapy
Hanging terrarium by Apartment Therapy

There are tips and trick for making and taking care of terrariums so that you can actually maintain the environment inside the container. First, if you see water dropping from the top of a closed container, open the lid for a while. It means that there is excessive amount of water inside it.

Second, if you see dying plants and fallen leaves, remove from the container immediately. It is meant to maintain the health of younger plants at the start of making a terrarium. But if your terrarium has lasted for more than a year and the plant have reached its adult stage, you can just leave it alone.

And additionally, remember to never put it under direct sunlight. This is a miniature of a greenhouse, and since it is a small greenhouse, it traps some heat inside. Placing in indirect sunlight is a good choice since it will not get too much heat.

So, after reading this article, do you want to make your own small miniature of forest? You can try to make one with nothing to lose anyway.


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