Creating A Terrarium: Plants, Ideas, And Building Kits

Terrarium definition meaning

Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 10/4/2022

In addition to being a work of beauty, a terrarium provides a healthy habitat for the growth of plants. A terrarium is considerably simpler to care for than an aquarium stocked with fish and aquatic vegetation, and it has the potential to make any space a great deal more engaging.

However, what are terrarium plants, and how does one construct one?

Please continue reading to learn more about outdoor terrarium ideas and everything that can place inside of them.

What Does Terrarium Mean?

A small closed terrarium plant is a tiny garden grown inside a container made of clear Glass. It is typically made up of a layer of charcoal that, in addition to soil, plants, and stones, acts as a filter for the water and the air.

The container could be a clear glass jar, a fish tank, or a piece of glasswork produced by hand. Glass is almost always the superior option, but you may instead use a clear container that is not made of plastic. As of now, everything looks good, but how does it work? You won't have any problems. Terrariums collect moisture on glass walls and then distribute it back to plants. Both plants and soil exude moisture in terrariums.


In some ways, a terrarium resembles a vivarium. The terrarium, however, is not an animal habitat but rather a container that supports the growth of plants. The lids of terrariums can either be open or closed.

Open Terrarium

Open terrariums provide a more arid climate with better air circulation than their closed counterparts. They encourage the growth of plants that thrive in dry environments and are frequently used for ornamental purposes. Open terrariums demand greater attention to detail when watering and overall maintenance compared to closed terrariums.

Terrarium With A Cover

Terrariums can be considered closed or sealed depending on whether or not they have a lid. Terrariums with covers generate a self-sustaining ecosystem and have a water cycle.

In addition to returning moisture to the soil, the nutrients that plants extract from the ground are recycled by the plants. Terrariums that have their lids sealed do not need to be watered.

Terrarium open vs sealed

Perfect Plants To Grow In A Terrarium

Plants are the essential elements that make up a terrarium. It is important to remember that different kinds of plants respond differently to being grown in an enclosed container like a glass jar. Here are some more points that should take into consideration.

  • Size is essential, as it can contain the most delicate plants for your terrarium within it without coming into contact with the sides of the container.
  • Plants that thrive in soil that is kept consistently moist fare particularly well in terrariums, particularly those that are hermetically sealed.


  • Your glass container will have more color and brightness throughout the year if you grow leafy plants.
  • It is best to steer clear of plants with varying light requirements as much as possible. If you have some plants that thrive in the shade and others that require constant exposure to direct sunshine, it can be challenging to provide good growing conditions for both plants.
  • Plants that don't require much attention are ideal for terrariums because you don't want to have to fuss over the plants and mess up their arrangement.

In light of these considerations, succulents and air plants are typically considered the most acceptable plant options for a terrarium.

Succulents For A Terrarium

The name succulent comes from the fact that Succulent plants hold water in their leaves and stems. They have developed the ability to thrive in arid soil that receives very little precipitation, and they can thrive in areas with minimal levels of moisture.

Succulents still require some water to continue their growth. They are sensitive to cold, and thus it is best to keep the temperature above freezing.

It is essential to note that succulents thrive in open terrariums with adequate ventilation, and these plants do not do well in the high humidity typically seen in closed terrariums.

Succulents are plants belonging to various families, such as Asphodelaceae, Crassulaceae, or Echeveria. The term succulent is used to refer to all types of succulents collectively. While cacti are typically discussed separately from other succulents, they are succulents.

Look at it right now to glimpse some of the most gorgeous and fascinating succulents you may put in your terrarium.

Aloe Vera (Asphodelaceae)

Succulent plants aloe vera

The Aloe Vera plant is well known for its sap's soothing and healing properties and can lend a jagged appearance to your terrarium. However, more important than cultivating it for its aesthetic value is that its sap may be used to cure minor wounds.

A word to the wise: Aloe Vera loves the sun, so make sure your terrarium gets lots of exposure. Additionally, take care not to overwater it; instead, allow the soil to become dry in between waterings.

Hoya, My Sweetheart (Hoya Kerrii)

The Sweetheart Hoya gets its name because its leaves are shaped like hearts. Hoya features the traditionally green aura of succulents and the low maintenance requirements that succulents typically have.

Sweetheart hoya succulent plant

Pincushion Cactus (Mammillaria Crinita)

Pincushion cactus succulent

The Pincushion Cactus is a prickly plant, but it's prickly in an attractive manner, especially when covered in brightly colored flowers. Depending on the volume of the glass container you have, you have a wide range of options from which to choose.

Tip: Choose a simple variety for a more rugged look or opt for a flowering hybrid to add color to your terrarium.

Hens And Chicks (Sempervivum Tectorum)

The stonecrop plant gets its name from the little offshoot buds that grow around the main plant and give the plant its distinctive appearance. Hens And Chicks have long been regarded as a favored addition to terrariums. It should not surprise that this is the case, given that it is undemanding, has a lush texture, and is simple to sow and manage.

Hens and chicks succulent

Paddle Plant (Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora)

Succulent paddle plant

The broad, rounded petals of the Paddle Plant form a rosette-like structure as it grows, making it an attractive addition to any terrarium. The petals can be a variety of greens and have a hint of red or pink, depending on the light. You have a lot of leeway in customization because you may obtain the Paddle Plant in many different forms.

Tip: Paddle Plants are subject to rot, so take care not to let the soil become too wet. Additionally, it must have a lot of light to thrive, but it should not be exposed directly to the sun.

The Zebra Haworthia Flower (Haworthiopsis Attenuata)

The Zebra Haworthia adorable succulent plant stands out from the crowd thanks to the zebra-like stripes that run horizontally across its leaves. The Zebra Haworthia can grow up to 20 inches, although some variations are slightly more than 3 inches tall.

Succulent zebra hawthornia

The Zebra Haworthia hardy plant can lend a varied and exciting texture to your arrangement. The Zebra Haworthia is by no means an uninteresting plant!

A helpful hint for ensuring the health of this plant in an open terrarium is to alternate between watering it well and letting it dry out completely.

A String Of Pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus)

Beads of a green hue dangle from the delicate and peculiar plant's trailing stalks, which are lengthy. Because this succulent has the potential to produce tiny, fragrant white flowers, including it in your terrarium is a good idea for a second reason.

Succulent terrarium senecio

Pearl strands look fantastic when hung from the ceiling or used to create a cascade pattern. You may also make a unique appearance by draping it across the various ornamental components in your terrarium.

Agave (Victoriae Reginae)

Agave succulent terrarium

Because there are so many different kinds of agave, you can almost certainly find one that will work in any situation. Most of the time, you will want to position the Agave plant in the center of the arrangement to receive the focus and consideration it merits.

A word of advice: illuminate it as much as you can. It is the most effective technique to make sure that it is successful.

Tiger Jaws (Faucaria Tigrina)

Tiger Jaws plant appears carnivorous because of its distinctive, serrated leaves resembling human jaws. However, the spines pose little danger to humans. And that's not all; Tiger Jaws opens up into a beautiful golden blossom.

Tiger jaws terrarium succulent

Tiger Jaws could be a perfect choice if you're seeking a succulent that will give your terrarium a dramatic impression and you want to add some plants.

A word of advice: Don't put this one in the shadows! To be healthy, it must be exposed to intense light.

Burro's Tail (Sedum Morganianum)

Burros tail succulent terrarium

Burro's Tail can give your terrarium the appearance of a miniature cascade of greenery thanks to its bead-like branches and whimsical, trailing stems. Burro's Tail looks remarkable in vertical groupings.

A word of advice: try to avoid placing this plant in the sun's middle. It does best in conditions of sunny shade or dappled sunlight.

Gorgeous Air Plants In Terrariums

Air plants can draw moisture and nutrients from the surrounding air through their leaves. Most of them do not have roots, and the few use them exclusively to anchor themselves to other kinds of surfaces. Tillandsia is the genus that contains all of the air plants.

Your terrarium might benefit from adding some air plants, which frequently have a remarkable visual appeal. Air Plants In Terrariums are little maintenance and can live for a very long time.

You must ensure the base on which you place your air plants is devoid of any moisture. The vast majority of plants that grow in the air should not be planted in soil or allowed to rest over a wet surface.

Like succulents, air plants do best when grown in an open-air terrarium. The excessive humidity in a familiar environment may affect them.

Discover some of the most stunning air plants to add to your terrarium right now. There isn't a choice here that will let you down!

Pink Quill Plant (Tillandsia Cyanea)

Amid its feathery foliage, the Tillandsia cyanea plant produces stunning purple flowers. Pink Quill is one of the most eye-catching terrarium air plants you can find when it is in bloom.

Pink Quill Plant (Tillandsia Cyanea)

A helpful hint: If you want this air plant to thrive, mist it consistently since it requires a lot of water.

Sky Plant (Tillandsia Ionantha)

One of the most well-liked plant species to grow in terrariums is the tenacious Tillandsia ionantha. Sky Plant is available in a wide range of cultivars and astonishes with its leaves' layered, green explosion. As the plant blooms, the upper leaves transform from a green to a scarlet color—entirely, it's a show!

Sky Plant (Tillandsia Ionantha)

Tillandsia Brachycaulos

Observing the Tillandsia brachycaulos plant as it matures and produces flowers is a joy. Because as the plant blooms, its leaves turn various colors of orange and ultimately red.

Tillandsia brachycaulos

Because the leaves of Tillandsia Brachycaulos air plant are not packed together as tightly as those of other air plants, it has a more open and spacious appearance. It is an option worth considering if you want to endow your terrarium with stately air.

Tillandsia Maxima

Tillandsia maxima is a gorgeous plant that should be considered for larger terrariums. Tillandsia Maxima features lovely coral red foliage and showy purple blooms. Tillandsia Maxima has the potential to grow to a height of 6 inches and a width of up to 4 inches, making it an impressive focal point for a large terrarium.

Tillandsia maxima

Tillandsia Capitate

Tillandsia Capitate's delicate plant gives the impression of having been excavated from the ocean's depths when seen for the first time. But you may rest easy knowing that it's an air plant.

Tillandsia Capitate

The rosette-shaped leaves of the Tillandsia Capitate plant are delicate and beautiful, and they develop a pink hue when the flower opens. Like other species of Tillandsia air plants, the Tillandsia capitate displays the genus' signature purple flowers.

A word of advice: if you have a small terrarium, search for little specimens that are no more than three inches in size.

Tillandsia loliacea

The Tillandsia loliacea is a dainty plant that exudes much allure despite its diminutive size. Because of its dense, upright growth and emerald-green leaves, the Tillandsia loliacea plant exudes an air of effortless beauty.

Tillandsia loliacea

The Tillandsia Xerographica Species

The Tillandsia Xerographica Species air plant has leaves that look like ribbons and are flat and twist around one another. It is unique among air plants because it has gray-green leaves, which makes it an excellent option for arranging with other types of air plants found in terrariums.

Tillandsia Xerographica

Tillandsia Fuchsii Var. Garcilis

Tillandsia Fuchsii Var. Garcilis light and the airy plant may have a name that is difficult to understand. But it makes up for this shortcoming with its delicate and supple leaves, which enable it to cover a greater area than other types of air plants.

Tillandsia Fuchsii Var. Garcilis

Tillandsia kolbii

Tillandsia kolbii air plant can reach a height of up to 3 inches when grown erect. Its fuzzy leaves and bluish-purple blossoms give it the appearance of being an exotic plant, yet it does not require the kind of care that exotic plants do.

Tillandsia kolbii

Tip: If you want to cultivate this one, you don't need to move anything out of the way; you need to make sure it gets enough sun - bright, indirect light is ideal.

The Tillandsia Stricta Species

You can find Huge pink and purple flowers on the Tillandsia stricta plant, which works wonderfully for terrariums containing a single specimenIts pineapple-like appearance lends it a luxurious feel, and the base it provides for its blossoms is a gorgeous shade of green.

Tillandsia Stricta

Inspirational Terrarium Ideas

Are you giddy with anticipation at the prospect of owning a terrarium? When you think about the numerous terrariums available, things get even more enjoyable. Here are some ideas that should get you thinking.

Glass Bubble Terrarium

Glass Bubble Terrarium

Glass Bubble Terrarium's time-honored silhouette for terrariums is unlikely ever to become unfashionable. In addition, the container features a hole in the side that makes it simple to add water and rearrange the contents, should this become necessary. In addition to that, it offers adequate ventilation.

Lightbulb Terrarium

Lightbulb Terrarium

The lightbulb terrarium is just about the smallest size that terrariums can be. A lightbulb doesn't require a lot of materials; you only need some miniature plants. And, of course, steady hands. You will adore this one if you're a fan of ships-in-a-bottle puzzles.

Coffee Pot Terrarium

Coffee Pot Terrarium

Have you been meaning to get rid of that old coffee pot? You should clean it before being used as a glass container for houseplants. Coffee Pot Terrarium is a fantastic illustration of how you can create terrariums out of regular household items.

Shot Glass Terrarium

Shot Glass Terrarium

You've never owned a terrarium, have you? A standard shot glass is required to make one quickly and easily. Because there is not a lot of space available for plants, you will need to get inventive.

Demijohn Terrarium

Do you happen to have an extra demijohn lying around the house? You could turn it into a sizable terrarium and fill it with succulent plants, and it's not as difficult as it might first appear.

To compact the layers within, you need to use an item such as a stick with a rounded tip, a thin backscratcher, or something similar.

Make a large Jug Terrarium

Plants In Egg Shell

You might want to keep the eggshells the next time you prepare an omelet and use them for something else. You can use them as the foundation for a straightforward and entertaining little open terrarium.

Plants In Egg Shell

You can create a half dozen at a time and keep them in an egg carton once finished.

Big Jar Terrarium

Big Jar Terrarium

The best solution isn't always the most complicated one. The idea of creating a terrarium out of a large jar does an excellent job of illustrating the point. Choose one with a wide opening at the neck for the best ventilation.

Plastic Bottle Terrarium

In most cases, Glass is the material of choice for the containers that hold terrariums. One alternative is to use a plastic bottle as the container for the terrarium, and it will be much simpler to arrange the plants if you cut the bottle in half.

How to make Plastic Bottle Terrarium

Vintage Terrarium

Vintage Terrarium

However, if you want your terrarium to have a more classic appearance, you should use some wood. The vintage terrarium concept requires a little bit of additional work. But despite that, don't you agree that the results are well worth the trouble?

Hanging Jar Lamp Plant Holder

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Upcycling discarded jars into lights is exciting, but why stop there? Create a unique and exciting terrarium by including some plants, rocks, dirt, and other natural elements. Because the lightbulbs provide light for the plants, you won't have to sun them.

DIY Terrarium Making Instructions

It might enhance The satisfaction of owning a terrarium because your two hands created it. Making your terrarium is an easy and pleasurable procedure that you can do independently.

It's far more straightforward than the vast majority of people would imagine. You don't need to have any prior experience with terrariums, plants, gardening, or landscaping to get started, and all you need is some basic knowledge.

Things That Are Necessary To You

  • A jar or other container made of translucent Glass that allows light to pass through it
  • Pebbles of various sizes used for drainage
  • Activated charcoal to preserve the cleanliness of the water and ward off potentially hazardous germs
  • stones or rocks used for decoration
  • Soil for planting, either plain or explicitly formulated for the types of plants you intend to use.
  • Small plants like succulents or air plants
  • Primitive instruments for gardening (optional)


How To Assemble A Terrarium In Detailed Steps

  1. If the glass container you've picked has been used for something else in the past, clean it.
  2. To ensure that the container has adequate drainage, spread a layer of stones measuring one and two inches thick across the bottom.
  3. Put down a skinny layer of activated charcoal at the bottom of the terrarium to protect the water from potentially harmful germs and maintain its clean state.
  4. Place the potting soil around the plant in a layer at least 2 inches thick, so the roots have plenty of room to spread out and support the plant.
  5. Add the plants, beginning with the largest one. After creating a space in the dirt that is large enough to accommodate the plant's roots, carefully insert the plant into the ground. You can skip this step if you choose to use air plants instead.
  6. Make an artistic arrangement using the plants. When planting a small terrarium, start at the back of the container and work your way forward. In that manner, you'll have sufficient space without causing any harm to the plants.


  1.  Can be used Pebbles or other small rocks to embellish the dirt. You are free to be creative with this part and add any other decorative elements or little branches that strike your fancy.
  2. Give the terrarium a very little misting of water.
  3. Position the terrarium so it will be exposed to indirect sunlight for most of the day. However, you should pay attention to the specific light requirements of each plant.
  4. When growing plants in open pots, you should water them frequently enough to prevent the soil from becoming entirely dry, typically once every two weeks. You can accomplish this task with the help of a straw or a laundry sprinkler.
  5. In most cases, you do not need to add water to containers with a lid. However, you will likely need to break the seal to expel surplus moisture.

Watch the video provided below to get an in-depth walkthrough of constructing a terrarium on your own.

Make an AWESOME Terrarium for FREE!

Children's And Adult Best Terrarium Kits

You always have the option of purchasing a terrarium kit if you do not possess the necessary components to construct your terrarium. Have a look at the products that have received the highest ratings.

Large Glass Succulents Terrarium

Large Glass Succulents Terrarium

The traditional appearance of a Wardian case inspired the design of this giant grass terrarium that was handcrafted. It has Victorian air, which helps it stand out as a stunning piece of furniture or ornament for the home.

You will love the impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail in the construction. Take note that you'll need to purchase the soil and the plants in separate transactions.

Key Features:

  • Elegant design
  • Solder made without lead
  • Resin that is resistant to rust as the base
  • Ideal for succulents

Fairy Garden Terrarium Display Case

Fairy Garden Terrarium Display Case

Are you looking for a terrarium that has a more antique appearance? The fairy garden terrarium has a stunning design and impressive detailing.

A word of advice: while you're about it, you might want to look into some ideas for fairy gardens.

Because the roof is movable, it is simple to water the plant. Leaving the top open will allow you to utilize it as an open-air terrarium.

Key Features:

  • Rod used as a support when opening the roof
  • 2" deep tray
  • Glass accents
  • Durable build

Urban Born Glass Terrarium

Urban Born Glass Terrarium

Urban Born Glass Terrarium captivating terrarium reminds one of the greenhouses popular in bygone eras. It is an excellent option for succulents and air plants due to its chic appearance and ease of usage.

Key Features:

  • Aesthetic design and layout
  • Handmade Glass
  • Door with a hinge that allows for simple spraying
  • Urban Born Glass Terrarium Has a weight that is lower than 4 pounds

Air Plant Terrarium Kit With Stand From Bliss Gardens

This air plant terrarium kit is the perfect example of how hanging terrariums can give a touch of elegance to any environment. Air Plant Terrarium Kit With Stand From Bliss Gardens includes a geode crystal, two air plants, small pebbles, moss, and an oval-shaped glass globe. In a nutshell, everything you require to construct an attractive terrarium in under an hour.

Key Features:

  • Fun hanging design
  • Ionantha and Caput medusae air plants included
  • Instruction and care sheet

Six-Sided Glass Terrarium For Succulents

Six-Sided Glass Terrarium For Succulents

Six-Sided Glass Terrarium For Succulent's lovely terrarium is roughly the same size as a standard flowerpot, yet it exudes a much higher level of sophistication. Succulents and other air plants that grow vertically would thrive in this environment because it is easy to handle and durable.

Key Features:

  • Ventilation and watering access via the roof's hinges
  • The glass top is simple to remove.
  • Careful detailing
  • Compact design

DIY Terrarium Kit

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This DIY terrarium kit is perfect for those who want to make their little indoor garden but don't want to spend much money. A glass container with a cover, hydro-stones, soil, and moss are all included in this set.

Key Features:

  • The whole package (except for the plants)
  • Kid-friendly design

Grow 'n Glow Terrarium For Children's Creativity

Grow 'n Glow Terrarium For Children's Creativity

You are looking at one of the easy terrarium plants for parents to get for their children. Everything from the potting mix to the seeds of wheatgrass and chia to the river stones is included in the price. Appropriate for children six years old and up.

Key Features:

  • Simple in terms of its assembly.
  • Blueprints and step-by-step instructions fuel the creative process.

Creativity for Kids Grow N Glow Terrarium Kit for Kids
Easy to assemble
Easy to use
Value for money

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is It That You Put In A Terrarium?

A terrarium is essentially a tiny garden grown inside a container made of clear glass. A terrarium's plant life and soil give off water vapor, which condenses on the terrarium's glass walls and drips back down onto the plants. Terrariums can either have their lids open or closed.

How Do You Make A Terrarium?

A terrarium can be made by covering the inside of a jar with a layer of pebbles, adding a layer of activated charcoal, and then adding some potting soil. After that, you can place the plants into the dirt, starting with the largest one. In the final step, decorate the area with stones and other elements.

How Exactly Do Terrariums Function?

Terrariums contain soil and plants, which cause the soil to exhale water vapor. This water vapor condenses on the walls of the terrarium, and the water then drains back into the soil, re-creating the natural cycle of water in the environment. While this is going on, a layer of activated charcoal maintains the water's freshness. Terrariums that are open to the elements merely need to be hydrated, in contrast to enclosed ones.

How Can I construct A Terrarium Without Spending Any Money?

To create a terrarium, you will need a clean glass jar, stones to line the bottom, some activated charcoal, and a layer of soil that is significantly thicker than the rest. Place a few young plants into the soil, sprinkle on pebbles or other ornamental features and add some water. Either place a lid on the jar to prevent moisture loss or leave it open and water the plant regularly.

The Pursuit Of Joy In A Terrarium


A terrarium is a unique living thing, regardless of its size or whether it was handcrafted or purchased from a shop. It is possible that there will not be as much activity as in a vivarium or planted aquarium. However, the experience of seeing plants flourish in a small self-sustaining ecosystem that you have constructed can be highly satisfying. If you buy a terrarium or make your own, you'll soon realize why they're so popular.