How to create a terrarium with moss

How to Create a Terrarium with Moss

Terrariums can house any number of plants—from lush succulents to fragrant herbs. But one of our favorite ways to create a unique terrarium is to use live moss. Not only is a terrarium with moss easy to care for, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing, thanks to moss’ eye-catching textures and soothing shades of green.

terrarium with moss

While a terrarium with moss is low-maintenance, there’s a bit to learn when it comes to creating one. Mosses are non-vascular plants, which means they absorb water and nutrients mainly through their leaves. They don’t have proper roots like most plants you’re used to working with. Instead, they have rhizoids, which anchor moss to rocks, soil and wood. This means planting a terrarium with moss isn’t the same process as planting a terrarium with normal rooting plants. Luckily, we’re here to help with this simple guide on how to plant a terrarium with moss.


  • Glass container—such as our Footed Terrarium with Lid or our Prism Bowl
  • Rocks—choose any type that fits your style, such as polished stones or sea glass
  • Dried moss—like sphagnum or sheet moss
  • Soil—a peat moss mixture is ideal for its acid pH and resistance to mold
  • Live moss plants—foraged or purchased
  • Substrate—aka the surfaces your moss will grow on, such as rocks and wood
  • Tools—a long thin wooden dowel or terrarium tools, a bowl of water, a spray bottle with water, scissors


1. Gather your supplies

    Most of the supplies in the list above can be found at your local garden center, craft store and from yours truly, 46 & Spruce.

    You have a couple options for getting your live moss. The first option is to buy it from a local garden shop, if available, or to order it online from a live moss retailer. Your second option—which is free (and fun!)—is to forage it yourself, if you live in an area where moss grows naturally. Look for moss in shady, moist areas on the ground, on living trees, on rocks and on fallen logs. It’s best to gather moss when it’s moist, so wait until after it’s rained to do your foraging. Moss can be scooped off of its substrate—aka surface—using your hands (wear gardening gloves) or a trowel. Simply pry up the moss gently and pull it up. Give it a dose of pesticide to get rid of any bugs.

    steps to make a terrarium with moss

    2. Create rock later

      The first layer of your terrarium with moss is rocks. This layer aids in drainage and aeration. The amount of rocks you need depends on the height of your container. A smaller container requires a thinner layer, while a larger container can have a thicker layer.

      3. Add the dried moss layer

        Next, take your dried moss and soak it in a bowl of water for about a minute. Squeeze out the excess water, form it into a sheet and spread it over the rocks. This layer helps keep your terrarium fresh.

        terrarium with moss in cylinder

        4. Pour in the soil layer and add substrate

          Add the soil on top of the dried moss layer. Here you can get creative and add “hills” and “valleys” to your terrarium by shaping the soil with your dowel rod or terrarium tools. Then add your substrate rocks and/or sticks, if desired. Once finished, give the whole surface a spritz with your spray bottle.

          5. Add the live moss

            Play around with it! Trim your live moss into varying shapes and sizes using scissors. Firmly press the moss down onto the surfaces you want it to grow on. Use the dowel rod or terrarium tools to push the moss down and nestle it where you want it to grow. When finished, give your freshly planted moss a spritz of water. 

            6. Take care of it

              Your low-maintenance terrarium with moss will need to be misted with a spray bottle every two to four weeks. Keep it in filtered or indirect light.

              Now that you’re a terrarium pro, start planting! Be sure to check out our vast selection of terrariums at 46 & Spruce.

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