• A glass container
Choosing Plants and Containers
When choosing a container for your terrarium you can use any type of container as long as it is glass. Take into consideration that you’ll need to insert the plants into the container, so look for a container that has a wide mouth. Once you have more experience you may want to experiment with containers that have narrower openings. The larger the container, the larger the variety of plants and decorative elements you’ll be able to place in the container. If you want to look for unusual glass containers shop around in thrift stores and garage sales.
The plants purchased for your terrarium should be small enough to fit into the container without touching the sides. Ideally, the plants you select should enjoy a humid environment and like low to medium light. To add depth and color, look for plants that vary in size, leaf texture and color.
Assembling Your Terrarium
To begin, fill the bottom of your terrarium with a one and a half to two inch layer sheet moss or stones in order to create a space where water can drain, as your container doesn’t have holes in the bottom for draining. Then, add a ¼ to ½ inch of activated charcoal. This will help with drainage and reduce odor. Add moss onto of the charcoal to prevent the soil from mixing with the charcoal and bottom layers.
Add a couple of inches of potting soil—at least two to three inches. Make sure your plants will fit inside your terrarium with the top on so measure accordingly. Before placing your plants in the terrarium think about if it will be seen from all sides. Will it only be seen from the front? If your terrarium will be seen from all sides create a small mound of dirt so some plants are higher in the middle. If it will be seen only from the front then taller plants should be placed in the back. Overall, create small peaks and valleys to build visual interest.
Remove the plants from their pots. Prune the roots if needed. Remove any excess soil. This will retard your plants growth. If your plant is large you can separate it into two plants. Dig a hole in using a spoon or your fingers into the soil of the terrarium where you are placing the plant. Place the plant in the hole and cover with soil. Gently pat the soil around the roots and make sure there are no air pockets in the soil.
If you are using a container with a narrow opening, use chop sticks to dig the hole and tweezers to place the plant into the terrarium. Use a spray bottle to water your terrarium. Do not saturate. Just make it moist. Your terrarium should be checked every couple weeks and be misted. You should air out your terrarium once a month. If you have added too much mist allow your terrarium to dry out slightly with the lid off.