- A clear glass jar, vase, bowl, glass, or whatever interesting glass container you have on hand - Rocks, pebbles or recycled glass chunks - Activated charcoal (sometimes called activated carbon) - Potting soil appropriate for your plants - Moss (optional) - Figurines, sticks or decorative items (optional) - Various small plants - A scoop, spoon or shovel - Scissors - Gloves
Source your containers from a thrift store or an antique store or scrounge around your house for an old jar. Even simple jelly jars or canning jars can make beautiful terrariums. They can be open or closed – it’s totally up to you. Everything else can be bought at your local gardening center.
As for the plants, the sky is the limit, but generally speaking look for small plants that you can fit inside your jar. Some plants will even have multiple stems so you can break them up even further. To ensure that your terrarium will be successful, keep succulents and cacti together and keep fern and tropical plants together, because they require different amounts of water and soil. You’ll want cactus soil for the succulents and regular old potting soil for everything else. The rocks act as a false drainage layer,
A terrarium is a miniature ecosystem. This project will demonstrate how the earth is a closed system and recycles air, water, and other elements in a continuous loop.
You Will Need:
One clear 2-liter soda bottle
Phillips head screwdriver
Activated charcoal, available at garden or pet supply stores
Small plants (Note: Only certain kinds of plants will thrive in the terrarium's moist environment. Try using mosses, very small ferns, or miniature African Violets)
Constructing the Terrarium
- Remove the colored base of the bottle.
- Cut off the top of the bottle, about 1/4 of the way down.
- Turn the clear, round part of the bottle upside down and punch four (4) holes into the round end. Use the hammer and screwdriver, punching the hole from inside out. These will be the ventilation holes.
- Fit the clear part into the base cap. You may need to slit the clear part and squeeze it together to fit it inside the base.
Planting the Terrarium
- Put about 1/4 inch of pebbles in the bottom of the base cap.
- Cover the pebbles with a 1/4 inch layer of charcoal.
- Cover the charcoal with 2 inches of soil. The soil should be slightly damp. Set your plants into the soil, pressing the soil gently around the roots.
- Spray or sprinkle your plants with water, then cover them with the clear top.
- Set your terrarium in indirect light, such as a north or northwest window.
Some helpful hints: