DIY / Grow

Making a Terrarium

Learn how to make a terrarium with these simple materials

Making a Terrarium


An Ecosystem is an area in which living and non-living things coexist. Every area in nature contains both living and non-living organisms. Ecosystems can be very small or very large. For example, a backyard is an ecosystem, and so is an entire desert. 

There are rainforest ecosystems, and underwater ecosystems in oceans, rivers, and lakes. The city or town that you live in is an ecosystem. All living things depend on nonliving things such as water, minerals, sunlight and air, to survive.


  •  45 minutes
  • Glass jars (large enough to hold at least 1 liter, or one large glass container per class)
  • Small rocks and pebbles
  • Charcoal
  • Organic potting soil
  • Small plants
  • Journal
  • Pencil



1. Clean the container using soapy water and rinse well. Dry completely.

2. Add a layer of pebbles to provide drainage at the bottom of the container.

3. Cover the pebbles with about two inches of charcoal, and then a thick layer of about two inches of potting soil.

4. Place a few rocks in the terrarium.

5. Add small plants and decorate with branches and moss.

6. Slightly moisten the terrarium with water. Be careful not to use too much water.


Choose plants that are small, slow growing, and perform well in humid environments. How the plants are arranged will depend on the size and location of the terrarium. If the terrarium will be viewed from only one side, then place the tallest plants in the back and shortest plants in the front. If your terrarium will be viewed from all sides or if you plan to rotate it, plant the tallest plants in the middle and the shorter plants along the outside.

Another option is to take cuttings/divide plants you already have or start plants from seed. With closed-top terrariums, avoid planting cacti or succulents.

Some recommended plants are African violet, artillery fern, nerve plant, Swedish ivy, small philodendrons, strawberry begonia, spider plant, small ferns, and prayer plant.