4 DIY Terrarium Tips for Beginners

4 DIY Terrarium Tips for Beginners

Are you preparing for your first DIY terrarium project? We’re pretty confident you’ll fall in love with terrarium gardening—from creating your miniature garden to maintaining it and enjoying the punch of green it adds to your home.

While creating a terrarium is pretty simple and straightforward, there are a few important details, such as how to water succulents, to keep in mind to set yourself (and your DIY terrarium) up for success. Here are our top four DIY terrarium tips for beginners.

diy terrarium tips and tools

1. Choose the right plants

Are you creating an open terrarium or a closed terrarium? It’s important to choose plants that will thrive in the style of terrarium you select. For example, succulents and air plants, which both require a dry, airy environment, should be planted in an open terrarium. If planted in a closed terrarium—a moist environment—succulents or air plants will be susceptible to rot.

It’s also important to consider the size and scale of your plants compared to your terrarium vessel. There are many small and dainty dwarf plants that are perfect for small DIY terrarium environments.


2. Remember a three-layer system

As you begin to build your DIY terrarium, remember to create a three-layer system. The bottom layer of your terrarium should be a drainage material, such as charcoal, rocks or sand. It’s very important to have a drainage layer so your soil doesn’t retain too much water, causing root rot in your plants. Plant rot can also be avoided by using best practices and knowing how to water succulents. 

diy terrarium drainage

Then, add a layer of moss on top of your drainage layer. Finally, add a layer of soil on top of the moss layer. Our DIY Terrarium Kit makes creating a three-layer system easy because it includes hydro stones, soil and moss, in addition to your glass vessel and lid! For more tips on building your terrarium, check out our post, 8 Steps to Make Your Own Terrarium.

3. Don’t overcrowd the plants

As you shop for your DIY terrarium plants, you’ll probably be tempted to get one of each. As fellow plant lovers, we totally get it: there are so many fun plants, and we want them all! But don’t forget that your plants will grow, and in a small environment like a terrarium, things can easily and quickly get overcrowded.

As your plants grow, you can prune them back to keep them to scale. You can also root prune your plants to help keep them small in your terrarium. To root prune your plants, simply cut around your plant’s root ball, removing roots and soil. To help maintain your DIY Terrarium plants, use our Terrarium Tools for easy access to care for plants.

4. Ensure proper sunlight + water

Once you finish building your DIY terrarium, it’s time to ensure you provide it with a proper environment to thrive. When it comes to sunlight, it’s important to remember that your terrarium’s glass will magnify sunlight, intensifying the heat inside your terrarium.

ensure proper sunlight for diy terrarium

Too much sunlight can cause a sauna effect in a closed terrarium and can actually burn your plants! To avoid this, place your closed terrarium where it will receive indirect sunlight.

As stated before, it's important to know how to water succulents. Keep in mind, it’s easier to over-water a terrarium than under-water. Because closed terrariums retain moisture—and create their own moisture—your terrarium can quickly become too moist leaving your plants susceptible to rot. To prevent overwatering, use a spray bottle rather than pouring water. If your terrarium gets too moist, leave the lid off for a few days until it dries out.

care for diy terrarium

Now that you know how to choose the right plants, how to set up a proper drainage system, how to organize your plants and how to water succulents, you are ready to start building your very own terrarium! Get started here: https://www.46spruce.com/collections/terrariums

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