How To Build a Terrarium

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Back in February I was so inspired by Callie's post about terrariums that I vowed to try it out myself. The pictures she posted were so inspiring. I watched the tutorials and thought this was something even someone with a brown thumb, like myself, could do.

It's really very simple once you have the supplies. I love to have the kids help out with projects and this was definitely easy enough for them to do with me. They got to dig in the dirt and get messy while I ended up with a lovely plant for my bedroom. Everybody wins.

All you need to start is some sort of clear vessel, plants, small rocks, landscaping fabric, scissors, ground charcoal, potting soil, and decorative pieces like rocks, moss or driftwood.

Start by placing the small rocks at the bottom of the vessel. You can use aquarium rocks or just just small rocks rocks purchased from the nursery. You only need to fill it a couple inches, so you don't need a lot. This layer helps prevent overwatering. Next cut the garden fabric (I used weed blocker which comes in sheets). You need to cut it so that it covers the rocks completely; this keeps the dirt from falling through to the bottom. Lay that on top of the rocks.

Sprinkle some charcoal on top of the garden fabric. You don't have to cover it completely, just give it a nice thin layer. The best place to buy your charcoal is in a pet store with the aquarium supplies. I checked a couple of nurseries (including Home Depot & Lowes) and and they all directed me to Petsmart.

Now you'll need to put some soil in a bowl and mix in the charcoal. The charcoal helps to filter out impurities, and keep the soil bacteria free. You should mix in enough so that when you look at the soil, you can just see bits of charcoal in there - if you can't see the charcoal add more. If there seems to be an abundance of charcoal, just add more soil.

So the layers you should have are: rocks, fabric, charcoal, soil/charcoal mix. Just think of it as a lasagna... just not a very tasty one.

The final step is adding the plants and decorative elements. You can mix and match plants, but you do want to make sure they have the same lighting and watering requirements. Layer rocks, I used larger stones and gravel for mine. That will help keep the moisture inside your terrarium.

Just check your terrarium once a week to make sure it's staying moist. I recommend watching this if you'd like video instructions or more information. If you do end up making a terrarium, I'd love for you to send me pictures to post.

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  1. Sabrina6:11 PM

    I'm going to try this but I couldn't find sheets of weed blocker, so following a gardening website, I am going to use newspaper instead.