Building your own terrarium


I have phases of obsession, most recently this has taken the form of building terrariums. Supposedly very popular in the 1970s, terrariums add oxygen and a little green to any indoor space. They also make perfect sentimental gifts, including for those lazy friends, as they are easy to maintain, requiring little watering (depending upon the season and conditions in which they are kept), as well as making good use for any recycled jars hoarded in those kitchen cupboards. Here is a step-by-step guide to building your own terrariums: 


  • Clear jar, vase or container

  • Activated charcoal

  • Potting mix

  • Pebbles and decorative stones

  • Spray bottle with water

  • Small spade

  • Succulents: choose plants that can happily coexist


  1. Choose a container: Pick a clear vase, jar or bowl and give it a good clean. Containers with lids are ideal as this encourages humidity, a condition in which succulents thrive.
  2. Base: layer a base with pebbles or gravel. This is for drainage. Follow this with a second layer of activated charcoal to keep the soil fresh, which can be topped with sphagnum moss, preventing the movement of the charcoal pieces.
  3. Soil: add potting soil on top of base layers. In some gardening centres you can purchase soil specifically packaged for terrariums. The thickness of soil you should be looking for is about 3.5 centimetres.
  4. Plant: Carefully nestle the plants into the soil, grouping the taller plants first in the middle. Be sure to leave enough space for further decorations or accessories such as pebbles.
  5. Water: Lightly spray the plants with water so the soil becomes damp. Only water again when soil becomes dry which should be every 1 to 2 weeks.
All, D.I.YEllaShop, Succulent, Terrarium