Creating a Terrarium

Terrariums are so fascinating. They bring back the wonder and curiosity of childhood. Tiny plants in a little woodland setting with hidden mushrooms, pebble paths and fairy houses. I remember creating little villages in the woods as a kid. These days, fairy homes are a regular creation every summer at my niece’s home in the mountain woods. They inspire creativity and wonder and surprise and lots of smiles.

Caring for tiny plants is not difficult if you give them the right home, the right food and the right light. And they can provide lots of joy in their caring. I have had several failed attempts in the past to create a terrarium because I did not plan ahead. I have this habit of jumping into things sometimes because of a passionate personality….whoops.

Up until today, I prepped and prepared and waited and researched and worried if I was ready to take on this challenge. I did it and so can you…


Glass bowls or large jars are excellent places for your plants. There are so many different designs – so have fun when choosing a container! There are some pretty fancy terrariums online, but do what feels right for your needs. You can choose a large container for a grouping of woodland plants or a small container for just one little succulent. Once you have the container you can start creating!

Just like any house, you must start with a proper foundation. Terrariums have no drainage so you need to create an area for water to drain. Stagnant water can get icky and smelly which is why charcoal is the best first layer in your terrarium basin – about an inch or more. The charcoal acts as a filter that pulls toxins and bacteria from the soil and water and deodorizes the terrarium. Activated charcoal is easy to find right here.


The next layer should be around 1-2 inches of small gravel or river stone to help add space for water drainage. On top of the gravel, I recommend placing a sheet of moss to hold the 2-3 inches of soil that will follow. This is where you must choose the appropriate soil for the plants you have gathered.


Depending on the size of your terrarium, I suggest choosing plants in 2-4″ pots. I picked some adorable 2″ ferns. Ferns require a more humid environment but less light. Because of my house and the space I have to place this terrarium, I chose these plants because of their need for less light. But, it will be more difficult to keep the terrarium moist and I will have to be diligent. This is my challenge…

I purchased a Maidenhair, Heart and Pteris fern from an online garden store for only around $14 total – including shipping. They arrived beautifully, quickly and are adorably perfect. Once I put the charcoal, stone, moss and soil layers in, it was time to plant and decorate! Hoorah!


I added the 3 ferns and then placed more mosses around them for decoration. I even added the cutest little figures – a small toadstool and a little fairy. I found these both in the local Michaels store but there are so many choices online as well. Enjoy decorating your tiny garden and share with everyone! Having different colors, textures and heights makes for a very fetching display.


Once planted, give your plants a watering or a spritz and love on them every week! Doesn’t this terrarium look lovely in my handmade macrame hanger?

Share your terrariums below!

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