Bookish DIY

DIY / Make Your Own Terrarium

June 29, 2016
Sarah Jane Abbott
Riveted Editorial Board

Deb Caletti’s The Last Forever is a botany-loving YA reader’s dream. Every chapter starts with a fascinating fact about a different seed and a rare plant is a main character! In the wake of her mother’s death, Tess’s most cherished possession is Pix, a one-of-a-kind pixiebell plant that belonged to her mother and has been in the family for generations. When the plant starts to whither, Tess will do anything to keep it alive—with the help of a cute guy named Henry she meets at the library.

Reading this book inspired me to bring more plant life into my apartment. I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb, but I’ve always been pretty successful with growing plants in terrariums. It’s like a tiny greenhouse! They’re fun and easy to make and are a great way to bring some greenery into your room.

Follow these steps to create your own terrarium:

1. Gather Your Supplies


For this project you’ll need:

  • Pebbles
  • Glass Container
  • Potting Soil
  • Small Shovel (but a large spoon could work great too!)
  • Little Plastic Critter (for decoration)

Some guides also advise adding potting charcoal as a layer in terrariums, but I’ve had terrariums that did fine without it (and it’s quite messy!), so I skipped that ingredient. Feel free to try it though—it can’t hurt!

When choosing plants, make sure to pick something that likes lots of moisture and humidity. A good list of plants that thrive in terrariums is here. I’ve used succulents in the past and they do really well and come in lots of interesting shapes and sizes. This is my first time using an herb (basil) so we’ll see how it goes—I’ll probably leave the lid off most of the time so it doesn’t get too humid in there. Make sure to look up how much humidity your plants like, as this should impact whether you use a container with a lid or one that has open air flow.


2. Drainage

Terrarium2Since terrariums don’t have a hole in the bottom like most pots do, it’s important to make sure excess water has somewhere to drain to. To achieve this, make a sizable layer of pebbles at the bottom of your container. If you are using charcoal, layer it on top of the pebbles.



3. Plants and Soil

Terrarium3Put a layer of soil over the pebbles. Then, carefully remove your plant or plants from their pots and place them where you want them in the terrarium. Make sure to leave enough space between your plants. Then surround them with more potting soil and pat it down gently.



4. Decorations

Terrarium4I added my little plastic Hercules beetle to my terrarium, but you can get really creative here. Some people like to add pebbles or sand on top of the soil for a cleaner look. You can also add any kind of rocks or decorations you want.



5. Watering

Terrarium5I always give my plants a good watering after I’ve re-potted them. However, because the terrarium has no drainage, make sure not to over-water it.




6. Enjoy!

Terrarium6Pick a spot for your terrarium that gets an appropriate amount of sunlight for the plants you chose. Don’t forget to water it and remove any leaves or plants that die. Enjoy!





Terrarium7For some extra inspiration, here is my first terrarium, featuring succulents and a geode. Still going strong months after I planted it!




Have you ever made your own terrarium before? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below! And don’t miss the chance to read The Last Forever by Deb Caletti!

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