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How to Build Your Own Terrarium

This is what we have found works best for the materials we use and the enviroment of our hometown, Tomball TX. We've also included general information we use to ensure the terrariums we sell stay healthy and flourishing. We will update this page as we learn and make mistakes! Let us know what you've found works for you!

Terrarium Layers and their Functions

When it comes to crafting your terrarium, you've got nearly endless options for building it up. But to make sure both your terrarium and plants stay in good shape, you've gotta begin with a good foundation of soil layers.


Drainage Layer

The drainage layer is a fundamental component of a well-structured terrarium. Its primary function is to manage excess water and prevent waterlogging. By allowing water to pass through freely, this layer ensures that the roots of your plants don't become waterlogged, avoiding the risk of root rot and other water-related issues. It creates a buffer between the soil and the standing water, promoting a healthy balance of moisture for your plants. Utilizing materials like small rocks, pebbles, or activated charcoal for this layer is common, as they provide adequate space for water drainage and prevent soil from settling into the gaps. Pea gravel is a great choice, as is Lave stones, Leca balls or even just marbles!

Barrier Layer

The Barrier layer plays a crucial role in maintaining the seperation of terrarium's  drainage layer and the soil, preventing the finer soil particles from falling into the gaps among the drainage materials. This separation helps maintain the integrity of the drainage layer, ensuring its functionality over time. This can be done as simply as a piece of a window screen. We prefer to use dried Sphagnum Moss. Moss is a highly efficient absorber, capable of retaining excess water and gradually releasing it back into the soil as needed. Beyond its moisture-regulating function, moss is highly anti-bacterial and helps reduce mold and other harmful growth.  Additionally, the presence of moss on the surface of the soil can contribute to the overall aesthetics of the terrarium, creating a lush and natural appearance.


Soil Layer

The soil layer is the foundation on which the health and growth of your terrarium plants depend. Choosing the appropriate type of soil is very important, as it directly influences the availability of essential nutrients and the retention of moisture for the plants. A high-quality potting mix specifically designed for terrariums is recommended, as it typically offers a balanced composition of organic matter, minerals, and sufficient aeration for the roots. The right soil consistency ensures that water is evenly distributed throughout the root system, allowing your plants to access the moisture they need without becoming waterlogged. It is crucial to select soil that matches the specific needs of the plant species you intend to cultivate, as different plants have varying preferences regarding pH levels, drainage, and nutrient content. Feel free to call us if you want help making your own soil or finding a good one for sale. 

Plant Layer

The plant layer is undoubtedly the heart of your terrarium. Selecting the right plants is critical for a successful and sustainable terrarium environment. Before choosing any plant, it is essential to consider the lighting conditions, humidity levels, and space available within the terrarium. For open terrariums, which have better airflow, plants that prefer lower humidity and require more air circulation are preferable. In contrast, closed terrariums, with higher humidity and limited airflow, are better suited for plants that thrive in such conditions. Succulents and cacti are popular choices for open terrariums, while ferns and other tropical plants often flourish in closed terrariums. The variety of plant species you choose contributes to the overall diversity and aesthetics of your terrarium, creating a miniature ecosystem that captures the beauty of nature within a confined space.

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