How to Plant a Terrarium Garden

Posted by Arcadia Garden Products on

Want to plant a garden...but have a black thumb?

A terrarium garden is the easiest, prettiest, most foolproof way to bring the outdoors in!

You love the idea of gardening, but it's just not coming to you as easily as you'd hoped. Maybe you don't have enough time for a lush garden landscape. Or you live in a one-bedroom flat in a bustling city and simply don’t have the room. Perhaps you just want that chic appeal of a cute succulent garden but don’t quite know where to start.

Or you've decided that you must have a "black thumb."

Guess what? You don't have to give up on your gardening dreams. You can still get some "plant therapy" without the hassle by planting a cute and easy terrarium garden.

One appealing thing about terrarium gardens is that there are very few supplies needed. Most can be found at your local gardening supply store or even a craft store.

Let's get started!



There are two main types of terrariums: closed and open. The type of terrarium you choose should be based on the type of plants they will be holding.

Closed terrariums are best for moisture-loving plants (such as ferns) as water has a much more difficult time evaporating from inside the container. Some terrariums are even so watertight that you only have to water them once, but it can be difficult to arrange your plants in this type of container. We prefer a style with a larger door that can be opened and closed to fit your preferred plants.

Open terrariums are similar to bowls in shape, with a large opening. These are best for drier desert plants, such as succulents and cacti.

Within each type, you will find many different styles to choose from. Visit our online shop to find your favorite!



Once you have selected your terrarium, you'll want to pick some plants. This is the fun part!

The best terrarium plants are small (you don't want them to be crammed against the side of the container) and able to tolerate high humidity and low light.

Succulents, cacti, and air plants are the most common choices for terrarium gardens, but feel free to think outside the box. The point of a terrarium garden is to grow flowers and foliage that you love!


How to Plant a Terrarium Garden

Now that you have your container and your plants, it's time to put it all together! 

You'll need:

    • Your terrarium
    • Plants
    • Pebbles
    • Sand/Charcoal (optional)
    • Cactus/Succulent Soil (it is specially formulated to help these types of plants grow)
    • Herb cutters (to trim stems that may be too large or have some brown spots)

    Line the bottom of your terrarium container with pebbles. This will create a built-in drainage system and prevent root rot. 

    Next, spread a layer of sand or charcoal on top of the pebbles. This step is optional but recommended, as it acts as a filter for the soil.

    Finally, add the soil. (Note: if you are filling your terrarium garden with air plants, you will not need to add sand, charcoal, or soil. Just a base of pebbles for drainage with the plant on top.)

    Next, decide how you'd like the plants in your terrarium to be arranged. Smaller, terrarium-sized plants have shallower roots, so you should have no problem putting them inside their new home and rearranging them as you see fit.

    Once you have arrived at an arrangement you like, you're ready to plant! 

    The soil should cover your roots up to a few centimeters below the first set of leaves. Create a small hole for the plant to sit in and pack the soil loosely around it. Remember not to crowd your plants too much. They need room to grow.

    If you have extra room (and feel so inclined), you can add some decor. Try some of our fairy garden decor for a cute option, or visit your local craft store for some ideas of your own.


    Caring For Your Terrarium Garden

    The wonderful thing about terrariums is that, if you set them up correctly, they hardly need care!

    For succulents and cacti, set them in a sunny window and add a few teaspoons (yes, teaspoons) of water every 2-4 weeks as the soil dries out.

    For closed terrariums with moisture-loving plants, place near indirect light and keep the soil moist (but not over-watered).

    And that's it!


    Benefits of Terrarium Gardens

    Terrarium gardens aren't just a trendy new way to display your succulents, they are the perfect introduction to gardening, as they require very little care.

    They also take up much less space than typical vegetable or even container gardens, making them a perfect addition to an end table, kitchen windowsill, bathroom, or office.

    Study after study has shown the positive effects that houseplants can have on our lives. Because they're so easy to care for and fit into your home, terrarium gardens are the most efficient way to add some greenery into your decor. 


    Ready to Plant Your Terrarium Garden?

    Creating a terrarium is a quick and easy way to plant a garden. Much like a full-sized outdoor garden, it's a great outlet for your creativity. But unlike an outdoor garden, terrarium gardens are smaller and require a lot less maintenance.

    Whether you don’t have time for a full garden, you're short on space, or you just want to add a little greenery, a terrarium could be an awesome choice for you.

    Let us know if you have any questions. We are here to help.

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