Plant Terrarium Guide

Plant terrariums, created using sealed or semi-sealed glass containers, house miniature gardens or micro-ecosystems protecting them from the external environment.

Whether you’re into Boho, French-Farmhouse, Mid-Century Modern, or Dark Academia aesthetic design, plant terrariums make the perfect decor DIY.

With infinite choices for sizes and shapes, plant terrariums can be designed to suit a wide range of plant species, from tropical plants to succulents.

Plant terrariums present several advantages compared to other types of indoor gardens including low maintenance, humidity control, and the ability to grow exotic plant species far from their natural habitats.

Plant Terrarium Graphic with Dark Academia Castle
Terrarium Plants Forget Me Nots Myosotis Inside Glass Dome Terrarium On Wood Table

To create a plant terrarium, you’ll need a few basic materials layered from bottom to top in the following order (Amazon links included):

  1. Glass container with a lid or cover
    – Choose a container with an open top, but keep in mind that this will require more frequent watering and maintenance
  2. Layer of gravel or pebbles
    -Use to create drainage at the bottom of the container
  3. Activated charcoal
    -Place atop the gravel to help keep the soil fresh and prevent odors.
  4. Potting soil
    -Pick a soil that suits your plant selection
  5. Terrarium Plants or Living Moss
    -Select species with similar environmental needs that will fit comfortably within the container

Live Terrarium
Pillow Moss

Cute Farms
Moss Terrarium
Starter Kit

Tin Roof
Super Fairy

Geometric Glass
Moss Terrarium

Glass Plant Terrarium with Succulents, Moss Sea Shells and Leafy Plants on a coffee table with Brown Leather Couch and Bookshelves in Background
Large Plant and Moss Terrarium on Table
Plants and Moss Terrarium On Wooden Furniture with Dark Academia Interior Design Aesthetic, Muted Dark Blue Green Walls and Dark Butterly Wall Art

Base Mediums


Gravel is often used as a base layer in terrariums to provide proper drainage. The spaces between the gravel particles create channels that allow excess water to percolate down and away from the plant roots, preventing waterlogging which can cause root rot.


Activated charcoal, or horticultural charcoal, is another critical component in many terrariums, especially closed ones. It acts as a filter, purifying the water by removing odors and toxins, and helps to prevent mold and bacterial growth within the sealed environment.


Sculptures in terrariums, commonly made of materials like stone, ceramic, or wood, can serve more than an aesthetic function. Their surfaces, especially if porous, can support the growth of mosses and small plants.

Sculptures can add structural complexity to the environment, creating micro-habitats and focal points within the container garden. By maintaining adequate moisture levels and providing shade, moss can be encouraged to grow on these sculptures, enhancing the naturalistic feel of the terrarium and contributing to the overall ecological balance by offering surfaces for beneficial microorganisms.

Potting Soil

A specific potting mix suited for terrariums is vital for providing plants with the nutrients they need. This medium typically contains a blend of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite, creating a balance that holds moisture but is also well-draining and allows roots to grow easily.


Mosses used in terrariums serve both an aesthetic and practical purpose. They create a lush, green carpet that holds moisture and improves humidity within the terrarium.

Moss also helps to keep the soil in place and can contribute to the overall health of the terrarium ecosystem by providing a habitat for beneficial microorganisms.

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Plant Terrarium Gravel
5 Pound
3/8 Inch Pebbles


Organic activated charcoal for plant and moss terrariums
USDA Organic
Activated Olive Tree Charcoal


Meditation Buddha
Zen Garden
Terrarium Accessories


Moss Growing Soil Substrate for Terrarium or Bath Mat
Josh’s Frogs
Bioactive Substrate


Buy Live Moss Online for Moss Terrarium
Live Terrarium Moss
Natural Pillow Moss


Living Moss for Sale Online for Indoor Garden Growing or Outdoor Growing or Terrarium
Gardens Oy Vey
Indoor Moss Plant
for Bonsais


Terrarium Plants Forget Me Nots Myosotis Inside Glass Dome Terrarium On Wood Table
Plants inside a Modern glass Moss Terrarium with cottagecore aesthetic

Glass Terrarium Containers


This type of terrarium container is designed to resemble a miniature greenhouse with a rectangular shape and often has a pitched roof. It provides ample space for plant growth and allows for excellent light penetration, making it ideal for a wide variety of plants that benefit from a consistent temperature and humidity level, similar to a real greenhouse environment.


Geometric terrariums feature modern designs with various shapes like triangles, pentagons, and other angular forms. They are often constructed with glass panes joined by a metal frame. Their aesthetic appeal is well-suited to contemporary spaces, and they can accommodate plants that require less humidity due to their often open structure.


Dome terrariums have a rounded top that can either be spherical or part of a sphere. This design allows for even light distribution and can create a magnifying effect on the plants inside. The curved shape helps to circulate humidity uniformly, which is excellent for mosses and ferns that thrive in moist conditions.


Originating from the French word for “bell,” cloche terrariums are bell-shaped and typically have a single piece of glass that covers the plants entirely. This design creates a microclimate with high humidity, ideal for moisture-loving plants. It’s also a classic design that can highlight a single plant specimen or a small, intricate arrangement.
Black Dome Geometric
Glass Moss Terrarium


Handblown 10″ Cloche Style Glass Dome Terrarium Air Flow Opening


8.7″ Tall Gold Glass – Glass Greenhouse Terrarium with Lid


8.66″ Tall Geometric Glass Terrarium Planter with Door


Large Plant and Moss Terrarium on Table Inside Dark Academia Interior Design Living Room with Muted green leather Couch, dark green walls and plants in the background
Forget Me Nots Flowering Plants Inside Glass Terrarium Growing in Moss Medium
AI Generated Art of Glass Moss Terrarium

Step 1: Choose Your Plants

The first step in creating a successful terrarium is choosing the right plants. Consider the amount of light available in the space you are planning to put your terrarium. Some plants require more light than others, so be sure to choose plants that will thrive in the environment you have available.

You should also take into account how much moisture each plant needs. Succulents and cacti typically need less water than tropical plants, for example. Once you’ve chosen your plants, make sure you get them from a reputable source.

Step 2: Gather Supplies

Once you have chosen your plants, it’s time to gather the supplies necessary for building your terrarium. This includes a container (glass is best), potting soil, charcoal (for drainage), rocks or gravel (for drainage), and any decorations or figurines you may want to add.

Step 3: Prepare Your Container

Before adding soil and plants to your container, it’s important to make sure it is completely clean. Use warm water and mild soap to wipe down the inside of the glass container and remove any dirt or dust particles.

Step 4: Add Soil & Charcoal

Once your container is clean, it’s time to add soil and charcoal. Start by adding a layer of charcoal at the bottom of the container for drainage purposes. Next, add enough potting soil so that when you place your plants in their pots they will sit at least an inch above the top of the soil.

Step 5: Arrange Plants & Decorations

Now that everything is in place, it’s time to arrange your plants and decorations in whatever way pleases you most! Be sure not to overcrowd or over-water any of your plants – this could lead to rot or disease.

Step 6: Care & Maintenance

Your terrarium should now be ready for its new inhabitants! To keep it healthy and thriving, make sure you provide enough light (if needed), water regularly but not too much (as this can cause mold growth), and prune back any dead leaves or branches as needed.

AI Generated Art of Moss Terrarium in Glass Tank

Low Maintenance:

One of the primary advantages of a plant terrarium is that it is relatively low maintenance. Because the container is enclosed, the plants can recycle moisture and nutrients, which means that they require less watering and fertilization than traditional potted plants. This makes them a great option for people who don’t have a lot of time or who are new to gardening.

Humidity control:

Due to the enclosed nature of the container, the terrarium can help to regulate humidity levels. This can be especially beneficial for certain plants that require high levels of humidity, such as tropical plants or ferns.

Certain types of plants thrive particularly well in a terrarium environment, compared to a regular indoor environment.

Large Plant and Moss Terrarium on Table Inside Dark Academia Interior Design Living Room with Muted green leather Couch, dark green walls and plants in the background
Moss and Plant Terrarium Encased in Glass Jar
Plant Terrarium with House Decor and Moss in Glass Jar
Moss Terrarium
Indoor moss terrarium inside glass container with dark academia aesthetic decor

Plant Varieties for Terrarium Gardens

Mosses and Miniature Plants

A terrarium can be a great way to grow mosses and miniature plants, which may not be able to survive in a regular indoor environment. With their small size and low light requirements, these types of plants can be the perfect choice for a terrarium, creating a miniature forest or garden that can be enjoyed up close.

Tropical Plants

Many tropical plants prefer warm, humid environments, and a terrarium can provide just that. With its enclosed structure, a terrarium can create a humid microclimate that can support the growth of tropical plants such as ferns, bromeliads, and orchids.

Succulents and Cacti

While some succulents and cacti can thrive in regular indoor environments, others may require more specialized care, such as a drier environment or more intense sunlight. A terrarium can provide a controlled environment that is better suited to the needs of these types of plants, allowing them to thrive in an indoor setting.

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