How To Create Your Own Plant Terrarium


Students will make terrariums using a container, plants, gravel, and soil.


Terrariums are miniature gardens grown inside a sealed glass or plastic container.

Making a terrarium is an easy and fun way to grow your own garden anywhere.

Learn about the water cycle by watching how water evaporates, condenses, and “rains” down the walls of your jar to moisten the plants inside.

Make a terrarium more personal by adding a toy or figurine and watch how the plants grow around it!

What You Need:

  • An enclosed container- (a big mason jar, a candy jar, a 2-liter plastic bottle with the top ¼ cut off)
  • Pea gravel or small rocks (aquarium gravel works well)
  • Potting soil
  • Sphagnum moss, or any kind of living moss (optional)
  • Aquarium charcoal (optional)
  • Small tropical or indoor plants
  • Small figurines, marbles, pretty rocks, crystals, shells (optional)

What You Do:

(photos below)

  1. Wash your container out with soap and water. Rinse well and dry.
  2. Put an inch of gravel in the bottom of the jar.
  3. Sprinkle a layer of charcoal on top of the gravel.
  4. Fill the container ⅓ full with pre-moistened potting soil.
  5. Plant your plants in the soil. 
Arrange moist moss on top of exposed soil.
  6. Place any objects inside.
  7. Seal your container.

Place soil in a container and add water and mix until it is moist but not wet.

Place gravel in the bottom of your jar. Sprinkle a layer of charcoal on top if you choose.

Fill jar ⅓ with potting soil.

Carefully place your plants into the soil. Add any moss on top of the exposed soil. Place any objects on top of the moss. Seal your container.

Put your terrarium somewhere out of direct sunlight, and watch it grow! You can trim the leaves of plants that get too big and wipe the inside of the container to keep it clean.

By planting a terrarium with your child, you’ll get to see their knowledge and interest in the biosphere grow along with the plant. You’ll also be teaching them to respect nature.

Photo credit: PB Hastings on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Jacob Palmer is a gardening and landscape design writer. When mowing lawns on his street as a child, he discovered a lifelong passion for landscape design. He now has three children who can all be found helping him most weekends with his next big garden project.

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