Terrarium Care Guide:


Terrariums are a popular art form that add a sense of peace and tranquility to indoor areas with limited space, such as an office desk.  Terrariums are mini gardens that are typically displayed in either sealed or open glass containers.  Sealed terrariums have a removable lid, while open terrariums do not.  Closed terrariums act as mostly self-sustaining ecosystems, while open terrariums require a bit more hands-on maintenance. 


Caring for Closed Terrariums

In a closed or sealed terrarium, water is recycled through the moisture in the plants and the soil.  The condensation on the terrarium walls trickles down and acts as rainfall, that waters the plants and keeps the soil constantly moist.  If the terrarium is kept sealed, this self-sustaining ecosystem will not require any additional watering.  The main ‘chore’ for a closed terrarium will be pruning the plants as needed to prevent the plants from outgrowing its container.  


Closed terrariums require a clear glass or plastic vessel in order for the plants to properly photosynthesize.  However, you should never place your terrarium in an area where it will receive direct/full sun.  The glass will magnify the heat from direct sunlight that can ‘cook’ your plants.  Too much sun can also create excess amounts of condensation, and too much moisture in your terrarium can cause plant root rot.  Place your terrarium in an area that receives indirect sunlight, such as a desk or shelf that is near a shady window.   


Plants for Closed Terrariums:

Moisture loving plants make the perfect companion for closed or sealed terrariums! Fittonias, ferns, and calathea are a few of our favorite plants to include in closed terrariums. 

Fittonias (Nerve Plants)






Jewel Orchid




Caring for Open Terrariums

Open terrariums are clear, glass or plastic containers that do not have a lid.  Plants that do not require constantly moist soil can live happily in open terrariums, since there is more air flow which allows the soil to dry out in between waterings.  Moisture-loving plants will also be suitable for open terrariums, if you’re willing to devote more time into watering and caring for your terrarium.  The most popular plants seen in open terrariums are succulents. 

The only difference in care for a closed vs. open terrarium is watering.  An open terrarium requires active watering, around once a week or so depending on which plant you choose for your terrarium. 




Creating a Terrarium

Equipment/Tools Needed:

  • Garden Shovel
  • Shears/Scissors for pruning
  • Spray bottle


Materials Needed:

  • Glass container with no drainage holes, with or without a lid
  • Plants
  • Cinder or gravel
  • Potting mix
  • Activated carbon/charcoal
  • Moss (optional)
  • Decorative objects (optional)

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