Build Your Own Terrarium Tutorial


Terrariums are very popular right now in the gardening world. They are a great way to add a modern, living decoration to your home or room! True terrariums create their own little ecosystem and sometimes don’t need water for years. But we are going to use an open glass container for our terrarium so it is easier to monitor the water. Stop by any of Westwood Gardens’ four locations in Northwest Arkansas to get all of your supplies for this project (or your local garden center if you don’t live near us.)

Let’s get started!



  • tropical plants (they do best in the humid environment-miniature terrarium plants work best for this project)
  • a glass container
  • rocks
  • charcoal
  • sheet moss (optional)
  • good potting soil
  • rocks, moss, mulch or other ground coverings for decoration
  • water and a watering can or spray bottle


To start building, make sure you have an area set up with all of your supplies. It is less messy if you are building your terrarium inside to place newspapers or a sheet of paper underneath your work area that you can just toss out afterwards.

1. Pick out your plants. Like we said before, miniature tropicals work best for terrariums because they thrive in humid environments and are small enough to arrange in your terrarium! We have these adorable miniature plants at Westwood Gardens!


2. Arrange your small rocks in a thin layer on the bottom of your container. Make sure to leave enough room for three thin layers plus your soil and plants. These rocks will serve as a reserve for any excess water in your terrarium. It helps keep the plants from getting over watered.

terrarium tutorial rocks

3. Next, spread a thin layer of charcoal onto of your rock layer. This will help filter the water to help prevent mold and algae from growing in your container (although you will have some algae grow eventually. Hey-it’s all natural!).


4. Arrange your sheet moss in the container. This layer is to help keep the soil from falling down into then rocks. It helps maintain the structure of the terrarium.

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5. Now add your soil! Make sure you add enough to nestle the plants in, but you will add more soil in between the plants to keep them in their place. 

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6. Almost done! Now add your plants and arrange them the way you think looks best. It often looks good to start with a taller or larger plant in the back and work your way forward with smaller plants. Go through and pack in your plants with more soil. DSC_0569

7. Lastly, add your decorations! Cover the soil around your plants with moss, mulch, or rocks (pictured here.) Have fun with your decorations and get creative! Then water your terrarium in with a good watering so that the soil is all moistened and settled in the terrarium.


And you have now built your own terrarium! It’s that easy!

*Tip: be careful not to overwater your terrarium. Check to make sure there is no water in the rocks when you go to water. And ALWAYS touch the soil with your finger: if it is still wet, don’t water it!

Good luck in the garden!
Watch our video below for a step-by-step guide on how to build your terrarium!

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