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How to make a Terrarium


July 28, 2022


Searles Gardening Team

One way to bring a little greenery into your home is to build a mini greenhouse in the form of a terrarium. Terrariums are micro ecosystems generally in glass vases, bowls, jars or tanks and can vary in size. The possibilities of the type of terrarium you make, only stops short of your imagination.

Types of terrariums

Basically there are two types of terrariums, closed and open.  A closed terrarium creates its own microclimate by trapping existing moisture in the closed structure. Closed terrariums are ideal for plants that grow well in warm humid conditions, like moss, ferns, air plants and orchids.

An open terrarium is more suitable to plants that require drier conditions and are a little more robust. They can be placed in a sunnier indoor position.

Top terrarium plants to choose

The ideal plants to use for terrariums are small succulents and indoor foliage plants. Succulents are heartier than most foliage indoor plants & require less watering.  

Top 10 terrarium plants to use

  1. peperomias
  2. air plants
  3. mondo grass
  4. small begonias
  5. ferns
  6. moss
  7. ‘Moon Valley’ (Pilea involucrata)
  8. sedums
  9. cacti
  10. succulents

How to make a terrarium

  1. Pick a bowl or glass structure that suits your plant’s growth habit and style of home decor.
  2. Place at the bottom of the bowl a layer of charcoal or gravel (approx. depth of 4cm).
  3. Cover gravel with Searles Terrarium & Fern Mix to a depth appropriate for the plants root system to grow. This mix has a superior formula which is designed to help deliver stunning plants in terrarium conditions. Also ideal for ferns too.
  4. With delicate hands, gently remove unwanted soil around roots and flatten the roots to fit its final position.
  5. Arrange plants for desired effect. To add decorative interest, strategically arrange pebbles, moss, different size stones or figurines around the plants.
  6. Using a spray bottle with water, moisten soil mix and spray the bowl sides to clean (outside & inside) & wipe dry.

Right position for your terrarium

Look at the light requirements on the label of the plants you have chosen. Most terrarium plants enjoy plenty of indirect sunlight. Ideal areas to place terrariums are bathrooms, well lit lounge rooms, kitchens and any room or patio area which receives good indirect light.

If your terrarium plants are suffering, check their position. They might be positioned in too much light or not enough. Move your terrarium around and test the lighting.

How to care for terrariums

Terrariums have little maintenance requirements. Closed terrariums like to be left alone to create their own microclimate. The occasional airing is suitable for plant maintenance. Remove the lid and spray with water once a fortnight. Regularly remove dead leaves and unruly stems to keep the plants desired shape and promote continued growth of the plant. This also helps with airflow around the leaves to reduce disease and fungal problems.

For open terrariums, keep the glass clean by spraying water, wiping inside and outside areas dry.

How to water your Terrarium

• For open terrariums – lightly water with a spray bottle or small watering can once a week, making sure the water does not pool at the bottom of the structure. Excess water can lead to the roots drowning. Terrarium may require watering more than once a week during the warmer months.

• For closed terrariums – Keep watering to a minimal so their microclimate is not disturbed. Remove the lid of the terrarium every fortnight to air and gently wipe the sides of the glass dry.

If there is condensation in an enclosed terrarium, reduce or stop watering.

How to make create a terrarium - 10 Top plants for terrariums


Top 10 plants to use for terrariums