Easy DIY Terrarium


I am a big fan of house plants, what I am not a fan of is remembering to water them regularly. I usually wait for them to tell me they are thirsty by looking sad and droopy. If you’re a “lazy plant Momma” like me this pretty terrarium is just the thing for you. I have been making these guys for years so I am pretty experienced with the upkeep so when I tell you never have to water them I am absolutely serious. Okay maybe “never” is extreme but you really can go months in between waterings. Basically what you’re creating is a tiny green house that holds in the moisture and keeps re-circulating it, perfect for the “lazy plant Momma.”

So here is what you’ll need to get started… DIY TerrariumDSC03651For your jar I recommend something fairly large especially if you want two or three plants since you don’t want you plants pressed up against the glass. My favorite jar for this is a large 2 gallon cookie jar from Target that runs  about $14. If you want something a little different TjMaxx carries a great selection of apothecary jars that will also work. What ever you like, as long as it has a lid and remember the lid does not need to seal tight.

Now that you have all of your supplies your ready to get started.

– Start with about a 1-1/2″ layer of gravel. You can get creative here if you like, aquarium gravel, marbles, colorful rocks you choose as long as it’s nonporous.

– Next is the activate charcoal (activated carbon) this is what is used in water filters and can usually be found in aquarium supply stores or pet shops.  Filtering is exactly what it will be doing in your terrarium, filter the water and prevent mold and algae from growing . Pour in about 1′ of this. If you are using larger rocks it will probably filter down between them, that is fine.

– Last layer to go in will be about 2″-3″of potting soil. If you don’t have enough once you get your plants in you can add more then.

Now for the plants. Like I said any plant that love moisture will work here, think rainforest. If you would like a better idea about what plants to use you can read more HERE. When buying your plants don’t overestimate how big a plant your jar will hold. My plants came in tiny 1-1/2″ pots and were just perfect.
DIY Terrarium– Once you’ve selected you plants give them a test in the jar. Do you need to trim them up? Does the arrangement work? I also added some of my moss to see how it looked.

– Plants are all settled? Your ready to plant! If you need to add more soil at this point to cover the plants that is fine. You can use a long spoon if you need to shovel it around or if your like me, just use your hands.

– Add moss. You can find moss in most garden centers but I just went out into the woods and collected some.

– For a finishing touch I like to add a ceramic figurine to change the scale and make my terrarium look like a little forest.

Finally,  just add water, but not too much, just enough to moisten the soil but not drench it. I like to use a watering can with a long spout to let the water run down the inside of the glass. This keeps the plants from getting unsettled and cleans off any dirt that may have gotten on the glass.


DIY Terrarium

The finished product, a perfect little Eco system that will sustain itself for years. That’s right years, I have had some of these grow right up to the top of the jar and fill every nook and cranny available. I guess at that point you might want to give the plants a little trim…

These guys are great in just about any place without direct sunlight. My favorites are in the kitchen counter/island or the coffee table as a low maintenance center piece. If you decide to make one you might as well make two or three. They are the perfect house-warming gift!

DIY Terrarium


  1. Really cool DIY. When I’m back home I will definitely try and create a terrarium like this. They look so cute and fun. xx

  2. thedaydreamerdiary says:

    Hi Maggie, I always wanted to have a terrarium like yours – and it so happens that I have the exact same glass jar at home, empty from the day we stopped making home-made granola (no time anymore, argh). A terrarium would be a lovely conversion, don’t you think?

  3. Robin Dragon says:

    A very nice house-warming gift indeed!! Thank you- looks great in my new kitchen :).

  4. I’ve always wanted to make one of these!

  5. Where did you get the charcoal? I live (I think) in the same area as you. obi?

    • Hi Sam, Yes I am in Heilsbronn. I saw your comment on the Ansbach classifieds. If you message me through my CONTACT tab here I have some other thrift/antiques shopping recommendations, too many to list there. Now for the Terrarium questions, I was unable to find the charcoal here in Germany (or might not be able to read the labels correctly) but it is not absolutely necessary. It does not help the plants but keeps the jar from smelling musty but since I never open the jar it really does not need it. For the moss you can just take a quick walk out in the woods. I planted my Terrariiums back in April and have yet to water it and don’t think I will need to anytime soon. Just make sure you use water loving plants and you should be fine.

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