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How To Put Together A Terrarium

Hi friends! Hope you had a great weekend! We got our second foot of snow inside a week, so we basically hunkered down all day yesterday. I don’t know about you but I’m kind of over winter and hunkering down at this point and am dying to get outside and play in the dirt! (I’m always super enthusiastic about our yard and gardens in early spring and by the end of summer I’m over that too :). )

To satisfy my craving for spring, I did an easy indoor gardening project that took about 5 minutes to put together and cheers up our winter house – a terrarium. Have you ever made one? They are so cute and fun, and you might even have most of the supplies on hand.

How to make a terrarium

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I talk more about the supplies down below, first the visual on how easy this is!


ONE – gather your container and supplies.

TWO – place a layer of gravel or stones in bottom of container for drainage.

THREE – add a layer of charcoal on top of gravel.

FOUR – add a layer of potting soil and then nestle the plants into it, adding more soil around them as needed. I put a few of our heart-shaped coral and rocks in there too – you can just leave it at plants, or get creative and add whatever other little objects you like.

And there you go – how to chase away the winter blues with a little green!


Gravel, pebbles or small stones are necessary for drainage – succulents in particular don’t like soggy roots. You could use aquarium gravel (it comes in lots of different colors and is fun for making terrariums with kids!), decorative stones that you would use to fill a vase, regular old pebbles from your yard, or pea stone from your landscaping.

Charcoal inhibits the growth of mold and bacteria on your plants’ roots, and prevents odors in closed terrariums. While it’s great to use if you have on hand, it’s not necessary for open containers, but if you have it, throw some in there. I have used both the chip version (shown above) and a powdered charcoal (stay tuned for a detoxifying face mask using charcoal soon!). I got the chip version from my local gardening center and it’s specifically for terrariums and container gardening – you can also find this same charcoal here (cheaper than what I paid!)

Charcoal used in terrariums in plantings

Planting mix.  Succulents and cactus like a lighter planting mix that drains well (again, the soggy root thing). This one is specifically for them.  However the owner of the gardening center I frequent told me that regular potting soil can be mixed with other things to lighten it up for succulents. I mixed in a bit of charcoal with potting soil around the succulents I’ve planted over the years and they have all been doing great.

Small plants. •Succulents and cactus do well together because they like the same kind of lighter planting mix. They also prefer an open container that is not so humid, and succulents in particular can survive low-light situations. •Tropicals plants do well in closed containers that are moist and warm. Check out this site for recommendations for low, medium, and bright light conditions.

Glass containers. You can get creative here! Use an old fish aquarium for a really big terrarium, a small round fishbowl, wide glass vase, glass canister with lid, even a drink dispenser would work great. Thrift stores are great for interesting vessels, and there are so many pretty glass containers on the market too. The geometric terrarium I used was a gift but is similar to these from World Market. You can find them everywhere these days, I’ve even seem them at the grocery store!

Here are a few containers you might like –  use the arrow to scroll through and if you click on the picture it will take you to that item.

Stop by tomorrow for some last minute Valentine treats!

Pin this tutorial

How to put together a terrarium with a few simple supplies.

I’m sharing this tutorial with Marty for Inspire Me Tuesday at Thrifty & Chic On A Budget (A Stroll Thru Life). Come by and check out tons of other great projects to inspire you!

Antoinette Pink | In A Little Girl's Room
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