How to make a simple Terrarium

Terrarium step by step

Terrariums are ideal if you don’t have much space or want to bring some greenery inside. They are low-maintenance, a great introduction to growing under glass and a good desk companion. We’ve put together some simple steps to help you create your very own terrarium. Or you can always watch our video on how we made our greenhouse terrarium at Torberry.  

You will need: 
Glass container of choice (obviously we had to choose the greenhouse one!), sand, small stones, activated charcoal, succulents, soil, terrarium plants, moss and decorative stones.

Step 1. 

The first layer in your terrarium will be sand to act as drainage. You don’t need too much of this – 1 to 2 cm will do. 

Step 2. 

After you have packed down your sand, take your smallest stones and gently lay them on top trying not to move the sand too much. This adds another layer of drainage, as succulents don’t like to be soggy! These do not have to be your standard stones, you can get a wide variety of colours in garden centers. 

Step 3. 

At this stage you can add a very small layer of activated charcoal to your terrarium – this helps fend off bacteria to keep the environment fresh. This step is more important for a closed terrarium, so don’t worry if you can’t source any. 

Step 4. 

You will now need to add a thick layer of soil for your plants to grow in. It’s best to buy succulent/cacti soil ideally but again, this isn’t essential. Make sure you have enough soil so that your plants can be comfortably planted in. 

Step 5.

Now you can add your plants! We’ve gone for a variety of succulents but you can also add air plants, cacti and ferns. 

Step 6. 

After your terrarium plants are feeling at home you can add some moss to the corners of your terrarium. Moss is especially important as it helps to stabilise humidity. 

Step 7. 

Finally, add in your decorative rocks, we’ve used a mixture of small white rocks and large grey stones -and then the fill in the gaps with the leftover small stones from the second layer. 

Once you’ve mastered the open terrarium, you could always try your hand at a closed terrarium. These are self-sufficient mini eco systems that can be left for long periods of time. The longest recorded closed terrarium lasted for 53 years without any intervention! 

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