A Complete Guide: What is a Terrarium?

A Complete Guide: What is a Terrarium?

What Is a Terrarium?


Have you seen a terrarium ? Do you know what it is? How do you take care of one? Grow one? Well, the terrarium is a sealed or open container, that is by far typically made of glass, in which plants are grown. Now do you recall something familiar? A glass with plants inside it! And surprisingly or not so surprisingly, the terrarium creates a controlled environment for plants to thrive,  so the maintenance requirements are often minimal. To have a basic overview read on further the Greenkin’s guide for managing terrariums. 



How Do Terrariums Work?

What is a Terrarium? - How do Terrarium Work


For the little goodness that life has to offer, most terrariums work by creating a self-contained environment that mimics the natural water cycle of the plant establishing a self contained plant care system. So, these containers are sealed, to trap moisture and allow for the recycling of water within the system.  This is fast, compact and easy to make plants a part of your everyday life. 

Here's a basic overview of how terrariums work:

  1. The Container:  The terrarium is typically a glass container, it is open and closed. Closed terrarium containers retain moisture, while open ones allow some airflow.
  2. The Soil: Obviously, every plant needs a bit of soil. So, the next thing of the terrarium is a layer of soil, one that provides a medium for plant roots and supports the overall ecosystem.
  3. The Plants: It is important to select those plants that thrive in the chosen environment. Tropical plants are common choices for closed terrariums, as they prefer high humidity. A perfect combination goes a long way. 
  4. Water and Light: Initially, you add water to the soil while preparing your terrarium. As the plants transpire, moisture rises and collects on the walls of the container followed by the condensation that occurs, and the water drips back into the soil, creating a closed water cycle. Isn't that brilliant? As for placement of the terrarium, keep it in a location with appropriate light for the chosen plants. Avoid direct sunlight for closed terrariums, as it can cause overheating.

The closed system minimizes the need for external watering, making terrariums relatively low-maintenance. Incredibly easy and so perfect, the terrariums need only a little bit of regulation in terms of the moisture level balancing. 


Checkout these Wall Art Frames to decorate your room.


Are Terrariums Good or Bad?

What is a Terrarium? - Good or Bad


The question is subjective, so Terrariums can be both good and bad, depending on factors like maintenance, plant selection, and personal preferences. 

Let me go ahead and tell you, why terrariums are good?


1. Low Maintenance and Easy to Care:


The best thing about a terrarium is that it requires only minutes of your time. Terrariums are often low-maintenance because they create a self-sustaining ecosystem with a closed water cycle.

Also Read: Easy to Care Low Maintenance Indoor Plants In India



2. Maining an Aesthetic Appeal:


Terrariums can serve as attractive and decorative elements, bringing a piece of nature indoors to your tabletops. 

So, what are the cons of Terrariums?



3. Overgrowth of Terrariums :


If not properly maintained, some plants may outgrow the terrarium or compete for space and resources. So, this might need to be kept in care.  



4. Having very limited Plant Choices: 


The closed environment may limit your choice of plants to those that can thrive in high humidity and low-light conditions. This might be a little challenging, as for terrariums. 



5. Risk of Mold while growing a terrarium:


Excessive moisture in closed terrariums can lead to mold growth, especially if there isn't sufficient airflow. If you enjoy a hands-on approach and are attentive to the needs of the plants, a well-maintained terrarium can be a delightful addition to your living space; however it is important to checkout for molds. 



What Supplies Do You Need to Make a Terrarium?

What is a Terrarium?


So, now you know all things terrariums and you ask me, if or not you should grow one. If you want to grow a terrarium, you'll need the following supplies:

  1. Container: First things first you need a container. Choose a clear glass or plastic container with or without a lid, depending on whether you want a closed or open terrarium.
  1. Small Stones or Pebbles: For decoration and proper seepage of water and other essential nutrients, place a layer at the bottom for drainage to prevent waterlogging.
  1. Activated Charcoal and Moss or Ground Cover: Keeping activated charcoal helps in filtering and purifying the air within the terrarium. Keeping Moss or Ground Cover adds a finishing touch and helps retain moisture.  
  1. Potting Soil: Select a well-draining mix suitable for the types of plants you plan to include. 
  1. Plants: Remember to choose small plants that thrive in the conditions of your terrarium (consider light and humidity requirements).
  1. Decorative Elements: Optional but highly recommended. Invest in some small figurines, stones, or other decorative items for aesthetics.
  1. Spray Bottle: A spray bottle is handy, and is useful for misting water and adjusting humidity.
  1. Long-handled Tweezers or Chopsticks: Having a pair of Long-handled Tweezers or Chopsticks helps with planting and arranging elements in the terrarium.


Also Read: Best Plants to Decor Your Balcony



How to Make Terrariums?

What is a Terrarium? - How to Make Terrariums?


Creating a terrarium involves several steps. The above mentioned ingredients need assembling. Here's how you do it:


1. Choose a Container:


   - Select a glass or plastic container based on whether you want a closed or open terrarium.

   - Ensure it is clean and has no residue.



2. Add Drainage Layer:


   - Now, the next step is to place a layer of small stones or pebbles at the bottom for drainage.

   - Sprinkle a thin layer of activated charcoal to help filter the air.

   - Add a layer of well-draining potting soil appropriate for your chosen plants.



3. Planting the plant: 


   - Choose small plants that fit the size of your container and have similar light and humidity requirements.

   - Consider using small ferns, moss, succulents, or other miniature plants.

   - Dig small holes in the soil to accommodate the roots of your plants.

   - Gently place the plants into the holes and pat the soil around them.



4. Use Moss and Decorative Elements:


  • Add a layer of moss or ground cover for aesthetics and moisture retention.

  • Optionally, include decorative elements like stones or figurines.



How to Care for Terrariums?


Caring for a terrarium involves maintaining the right conditions for the plants within the enclosed environment. By paying attention to the following aspects, you can maintain a healthy and attractive terrarium that requires minimal intervention:


1. Light Requirements of Terrariums:


Ideally you have to place open terrariums in indirect sunlight, and closed terrariums in bright, filtered light. Avoid direct sunlight for closed terrariums, as it can lead to overheating.



2. Watering Requirements of Terrariums:


Water sparingly, as terrariums are a closed system that recycles moisture. Use a spray bottle for misting or a small watering can with a narrow spout. If you notice excessive condensation in closed terrariums, proceed by removing the lid temporarily to allow excess moisture to escape..



3. Cleaning and Pruning Requirements of Terrariums: 


Wipe the inside of the container with a soft cloth if it gets dirty to prevent mold and maintain a tidy appearance. Also, trim plants if they become too large or start competing for space.



4. Ventilation Requirements for Closed Terrariums:


Periodically open the lid of closed terrariums to allow fresh air in and excess moisture out. This helps prevent mold and maintains a healthy environment.



5. Temperature Requirements of Terrariums:


Keep the terrarium in a room with a stable temperature. Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations to allow the plant to thrive at its fullest. 



Use of Terrariums


Whether used for practical or decorative purposes, terrariums offer a miniature world that can enhance indoor environments and provide a sense of tranquility and beauty. From gifting to creative expression here is a list of reasons why you should have a terrarium with you everywhere you go:

  • There's a decorative element that all terrariums have. Terrariums add a touch of nature and greenery to indoor spaces, serving as aesthetically pleasing decor.
  • They are relatively low-maintenance due to the self-contained ecosystem, making them ideal for those with busy schedules.
  • Terrariums can be a unique gift idea. terrariums make thoughtful and unique gifts, providing a miniaturized, living environment.
  • Terrariums can be educational, especially for children. They can be a fun way to learn more about plants, teaching them about ecosystems, plant growth, and the water cycle in a much cooler way.
  •  Terrariums can serve as unique conversation starters, drawing attention and sparking discussions about plants and nature. Help a friend, make them learn about terrariums. 
  • Creating and designing a terrarium allows for artistic expression, as you choose plants, arrangements, and decorative elements.
  • Terrariums provide a connection with nature for individuals in urban environments or places with limited access to green spaces.


Also Read: Best Plants According to Vastu



Different Types of Terrarium


There are basically two types of terrariums, each with its unique characteristics and design.


1. Open Terrariums: 


Open terrariums have an opening or are completely open, allowing for more airflow. So, they are well-suited for plants that prefer drier conditions.


2. Closed Terrariums:


Closed Terrariums are sealed or mostly sealed to create a self-sustaining ecosystem with high humidity. Ideal for plants that thrive in tropical or humid conditions.  

When creating a terrarium, consider the environmental preferences of the plants you choose and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. Mixing and matching elements can result in a customized terrarium that suits your taste is of supreme importance. 

Checkout these Gifts for him and Gifts for Her



How to Choose Perfect Terrarium Plants?


Choosing the perfect terrarium plants involves considering factors such as the type of terrarium (open or closed), light conditions, humidity preferences, and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. Here are some quick tips to follow while picking your perfect terrarium plants: 

  •  Select plants that won't outgrow the container quickly.
  •  Mix different plant varieties to add visual interest and create a dynamic, miniature ecosystem.
  • Consider succulents, air plants, or plants that tolerate occasional neglect.
  • Tailor plant selection to fit the theme, whether it's a desert landscape, woodland scene, or a whimsical fairy garden.





That wraps up our guide about Terrariums. It is important to ensure that the selected plants for your terrarium are compatible in terms of light, water, and soil conditions. By considering these factors, you can choose a combination of plants that not only thrive in your chosen terrarium environment but also contribute to the overall aesthetic you envision. Checkout Greenkin to know more about plants.




Q1. Do terrariums need sunlight?

Ans. Terrariums benefit from indirect light. Assess the light requirements of your chosen plants and place the terrarium accordingly. Yes, terrariums generally need sunlight, but the amount depends on the types of plants.

Q2. How often do you have to water a terrarium?

Ans. The watering frequency depends on factors like the type of terrarium (open or closed), the plants within it, and the environmental conditions. In general, water sparingly to avoid waterlogging.

Q3. How long do terrariums last?

Ans. The lifespan of a terrarium varies based on factors like plant selection, maintenance, and environmental conditions. With proper care, a well-maintained terrarium can last for years.

Q4. Do terrariums need air?

Ans. Yes, terrariums need air circulation, especially for closed terrariums.

Q5. Are terrariums hard to maintain?

Ans. Terrariums can be relatively easy to maintain, especially if you choose low-maintenance plants and regularly monitor environmental conditions

Back to blog

15,000+ Smiles Delivered

Greenkin is just awesome. If you are a plant lover and love to have exotic, good quality, healthy indoor plants just blindly go for Greenkin.

- Sayanti Sikder

Both plant and pot are very good quality. I am impressed with Greenkin. Had ordered 3 plants, all are very healthy.

- Shobhit Gurung

I'm totally blown away with the packaging and handling of the plant. They are practically treated with care like one would extend to a child.

- Asmita Patwardhan

At last! Pleased that I finally received what I hoped for. My plant is glowing. Thank you for giving me hope.

- T. Mullick

I had ordered 4 Aglaonema plants a month ago. The plants were very healthy and well-packed. Plants from other sellers have never lasted so long.

- Kamesh

Very nice packaging. The plant is very healthy and super! This is my new favorite site.

- Dinesh Yegireddi

Bought 2 Anthurium plants. Received the plants in perfect condition with beautifully crafted cotton vase. Simply loved it.

- Debdip Roy

I am beyond delighted to see that the plant was perfect. It came in excellent condition. It looks healthy and gorgeous.

- Prachi Awasthi

I was so happy with my purchase that I immediately placed another order for a bundle of plants.

- Vinod

I tried Greenkin for the first time, and what an experience! superb quality plant and very nice packaging. You are my new favorite place to order plants online.

- Ratna Shah

Best Selling

1 of 3