10 Essential Steps for Successful Plant Terrarium Creation and Maintenance


Embarking on a journey with a plant terrarium is inviting a piece of nature’s vibrancy into your home or workplace. A plant terrarium is a self-contained, miniature ecosystem showcasing the resilience and captivating allure of plant life.

Chapter 1: Encapsulating the Idea of a Plant Terrarium

A plant terrarium embodies a clear, sealed receptacle, harboring plants that bloom in humid, self-controlled eco-space. The concept, originated in the Victorian era, has garnered a renewed appeal in the contemporary world.

The Appeal of Owning a Plant Terrarium

Besides their aesthetic appeal, plant terrariums present an unusual approach to indoor plant cultivation. They provide a self-sustaining moist environment, making them compatible with a range of plants; even ones that might find dry indoor air problematic.

The Dual Facets of Terrariums

Notably, there exist two distinct kinds of terrariums – open and sealed. Open terrariums cater to succulents and cacti, while sealed terrariums favor a warm, humid milieu, excellent for nurturing ferns and moss.

Chapter 2: The Initial Preparations for Your Plant Terrarium

Launching a successful plant terrarium begins with meticulous planning and arrangement. This includes the selection of suitable plants and the accumulation of needed materials.

Selecting Ideal Plants for Your Terrarium

The selection of ideal terrarium plants is largely governed by the variety of terrarium you have chosen. Ferns, moss, carnivorous species, and diminutive tropical varieties thrive in the humid conditions of a sealed terrarium. Conversely, succulents, air plants, and petite cacti are perfect matches for open terrariums.

Prerequisites for Assembling a Terrarium

Commencing your journey of plant terrarium creation and maintenance requires the following fundamental elements: a glass reservoir, pebbles or miniature stones, activated charcoal, potting compost, and of course, terrarium plants.

Chapter 3: Crafting Your Plant Terrarium

Constructing a terrarium is a foray into creative landscaping — with a few essential tenets to be followed. Let’s dissect this process in subsequent steps:

  1. Bottommost Layer
    The container’s base should be coated initially with a 2-inch layer of small rocks. This elevates drainage capabilities and circumvents potential super-saturation.

  2. Adding Activated Charcoal
    A thin envelop of activated charcoal is to be sprinkled atop the rocks. This assists in maintaining water freshness and thwarts bacterial build-up.

  3. Time for Potting Soil
    A roughly 3-inch layer of soil is usually adequate. Make sure the soil depth can comfortably accommodate your plants’ roots.

  4. Plantation Process
    It’s time for the real action — plant your selected species into the soil. Be mindful of providing ample space for each plant and try to mimic their natural growing conditions.

  5. Final Touches
    In the end, you may wish to add a layer of moss, stones, or some personal embellishments to augment the terrarium’s appeal.

Chapter 4: Maintenance Tips for Your Terrarium

Upon the successful installation of your terrarium, the maintenance aspect comes to the fore.

Sustenance: Watering and Feeding

The watering routine of your terrarium depends heavily on its type. Open terrariums require less hydration than their sealed counterparts. As for feeding, avoid over-fertilization; a minuscule amount of slow-release fertilizer will do.

Ambient Light and Temperature

Terrariums thrive under indirect illumination, shielded from direct sunbeams. The optimum temperature range for terrariums spans from 15℃ to 26℃.

Chapter 5: Common Hurdles in Terrarium Health

Despite utmost care and maintenance, terrariums can encounter certain issues. The major concerns stem from overhydration or excessive sunlight exposure. These catalysts can trigger the unwanted growth of algae and lead to plant morbidity.

Chapter 6: The Many-faceted Benefits of Plant Terrariums

Apart from gracing spaces with natural beauty, plant terrariums offer multiple health and environmental benefits. They act as air purifiers, mood boosters, and serve as educational visuals about ecosystems.


A plant terrarium stands as more than just an aesthetic symbol; it is a reflection of resilience, mirroring the powerful dynamics of an ecosystem. With accurate preparation, selection, and prudent care, a terrarium has the capability to revamp your personal and professional spaces, turning them into bountiful corners bursting with life. If you want to delve deeper into the realm of indoor ecosystems, here’s an article on ‘thriving haven all you need to know about growing plants in glass bowls’.

plant terrarium creation and maintenance


Additional information on plant terrariums can be found here.

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