For those of you interested in making your very own indoor terrarium, you’re in luck! Today we will discuss the proper way to make a healthy terrarium with various plants and succulents. Now, there are a few different types of terrariums. First you need to decide what level of difficulty you want to begin with in your green endeavor. Plants from the succulent family, also know as cacti, are generally the easiest to care for and do not require much water or moisture. Terrariums with mossy floors and moisture-sensitive plants are slightly trickier, but not by much. Terrariums are beautiful additions to a home. Whether it’s on a desk or a coffee table, a terrarium is sure to bring joy into your life. Check out our easy step-by-step instructions on how to build your own terrarium.



Before you begin, you need to collect a few different materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A glass container, jar, vase, or fish bowl
  • Activated charcoal pieces
  • Potting soil
  • Small pebbles or stones…marbles work too
  • Gloves
  • Terrarium plants
  • Sheet moss/reindeer moss
  • Watering can or squirt bottle
  • A trowel or a spoon


Mason jars are fine to use for your container, as are shallow glass bowls. We recommend using a glass fish bowl or a container with a cork.


Reindeer moss can be found in areas near water or in the forest, depending on where you live. When we made our terrarium, we harvested natural moss from the bank of a creek. However moss can be found at most garden stores or online.


If you are particularly nervous about keeping plants alive, you can purchase artificial moss at any craft store. Artificial moss seems to work best if you decide to use cacti as a base-plant for your terrarium.


Gather your stones or pebbles outside or they are available for purchase at any craft store.


Now decide which plants you want for your terrarium.

Assemble the Materials

Step 1:

Cover the floor of your container with a thin layer of pebbles. Then pour about 2 inches of charcoal at the base of your glass container, just on top of the pebbles. Activated charcoal is one of the most important aspects of your terrarium because it helps remove toxins and odors. Toxin removal is the main purpose for the charcoal. However the live moss will help with this as well.

Step 2: 

You can use your gloves during this segment or use a trowel. Mix some charcoal with a few cups of potting soil and use enough of it to fill the container 1/2 of the way to the top. Be sure to pack it down every inch or so to avoid large air pockets.

Step 3:

Now you can start adding your plants! Remove each plant from it’s pot by tilting the pot upside down and removing the plastic bottom gently and carefully as not to damage the roots. Place each plant with a few inches of room on either side in a circular area within your container. Depending on how large your containers is will determine how many plants will go in it. You can always make more than one terrarium. Don’t overcrowd the plants!

Step 4:

Once you have placed all your plants just on top of the soil, use the rest of the soil/charcoal mixture to cover the roots of the plants, then press down gently to tuck them into the soil. Then you can take your moss and lay it just on top of the soil. It will root on the top after a while. Spray your terrarium with a few spritzes of the squirt bottle or water a little with the watering can. Viola! Your terrarium is finished!


Caring for Your Terrarium

Watering schedule will depend on the type of plants you use in your terrarium. For example, cacti only need watering once every 3 weeks to a month. Moss needs to be moist at all times. For all non-succulent plants, you should check the soil and if it is moist, let it be. If it is dry, you can water or spray it. Remember to only use moss with other wet-climate plants. Keep your terrarium in a sunny place for most of the day. Don’t leave it outside. If you have mossy plants, you can cover it to create a little greenhouse environment. If covered, let it air out for a few hours each day.

We hope that this article by Protect America has helped you successfully create your very own terrarium!