Getting Started With Terrariums

Anyone can make and keep a terrarium alive

fittonia terrarium

Illustration: The Spruce / Chloe Giroux

Terrariums are a great way to try your hand at indoor container gardening. Even if you are a confirmed plant serial killer, you can still grow a terrarium successfully. Terrariums can fit in any decor and can be as modern or traditional as you want. They can be the size of a thimble or take up a whole room. It's up to you and your imagination.

  • 01 of 05

    How to Make a Terrarium

    Overhead view man and woman shopping for terrariums in plant shop
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    Making a terrarium is incredibly easy. You can make a beautiful one in very little time and for very little money. One way to save on your terrarium is to look for glass containers at yard sales, flea markets or thrift stores. Almost anything can be used for a terrarium, from martini glasses to clear Christmas ornaments to glass cylinders.

    The wider the mouth of your terrarium, the easier it will be to fill it. That said, you can always use tongs, chopsticks or tools specially designed to fill tight spaces.

    A terrarium can be closed or open, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

  • 02 of 05

    Terrarium Plants

    Terrarium Plants
    fottodk / Getty Images

    Not all plants will thrive in terrariums. When you are looking to buy terrarium plants you'll want to look for small plants that will fit through the opening in your terrarium. Also, if you're making a closed terrarium, you won't want to put it in the sun, which would cook your plants, so look for low or medium light plants. Also, look for plants that have a high humidity tolerance; most succulents or desert plants aren't good choices for closed terrariums.

    Terrariums provide a great opportunity to combine plants with a great variety of leaf shape and structures.

  • 03 of 05

    Pictures of Terrariums

    Cactus terrarium
    omega77 / Getty Images

    Looking at pictures of terrariums can give you some great ideas. This photo gallery shows several different styles of terrariums.

  • 04 of 05

    Common Mistakes

    KseniaMay / Getty Images

    While terrariums are incredibly easy to make and maintain, there are some mistakes that you will want to avoid. For example, if you put a terrarium in direct sunlight or too close to a radiator or fireplace, the chances are very high that you will roast your plants. Also, you will want to avoid over-watering and over fertilizing your terrariums.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Terrariums in Mason Jars

    Photograph © Kerry Michaels

    These mason jar terrariums are incredibly easy to make and are inexpensive and they make great gifts.