Let’s Go Terrarium-Making! Here Are What You Need To Get Started

Let’s admit it, our condos aren’t really that spacious for a standard garden. Combine it with our mobile lifestyle, and we’re left with either fake or desiccated plants. However, there’s hope for urban dwellers like us who honestly love plants but couldn’t find the time and space for an urban garden. It’s all thanks to a fortunate stroke of serendipity that happened in the early 1800s, marking the development of the Wardian Case. Named after its inventor, Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, the Wardian Case is a predecessor to the modern terrarium.

Terrariums or terraria are much like aquariums sustaining an ecosystem, except that the glass vessels house a miniature garden that thrives even with little to no maintenance. Due to the low maintenance and small surface area required by terrariums, they have become popular household garden displays, and are especially advisable for condo dwellers.

condoliving terrarium-making

There are readily made terrariums in the market, some can even be bought via internet, but DIY-ing it gives you freedom in customizing your own mini garden in glass. So how do you create your own? Here’s what we learned from our friends at Cedarhills Garden Center.

Here Are The Materials You Need

Glass vase

You may opt for either open or closed vase in any shape and size. Closed terrariums are usually for plants that need humid and sheltered environments, such as moss, orchids, and ferns. Open terrariums, on the other hand, are for plants that require dry and temperate environments—the likes of succulents, cacti, and air plants.

Potting Medium

Use these three elements for your terrarium’s base: Carbonized rice hull (CRH) that neutralizes the odor in the glass container while allowing air retention for the plant’s roots and absorbs excess water; Pinatubo pumice stones that act as your terrarium’s drainage, as well as aid in air retention; and Klasmann peat moss that is a little loose compared to ordinary garden soil, is pH-neutral, and is perfect for those who are new to terrariums.

Planting Tools

Use a small scooper to put the potting medium and pebbles into the vase. To flatten and distribute the potting medium, use a wooden tool called dibber that’s long enough for your chosen glass. Use a stirrer to position the plants and accessories, as well as clear out the excess pebbles or soil.

condoliving terrarium-making


Your plants should be based on your chosen glass vessel and must have the same water and sunlight requirements. Also consider color balance to create a harmonious terraria design.


The common accessories placed in terrarium are driftwood or small dried up tree branches, jarlet made of clay or ceramic, and smooth stone. These elements do not only serve as décor, they also help stabilize the plants. Assorted pebbles are another element put to cover portions or the entire top-most layer of the potting medium.


Use a small sprayer to gently water the plants.


Use tissue, preferably paper towel, to handle prickly plants as well as wipe off the excess water inside the glass vase.

Now Here’s How To Do It

1 | Prepare your glass vessel. Make sure it’s completely dry and free from any unnecessary dirt.

2 | Using your small scooper, put the three layers of potting medium: CRH, Pinatubo pumice, and Klasmann peat moss. Form the three-layer potting medium until half the size of the glass container only. If you want to be more precise, you can put removable markings on the glass that divide the lower half of the glass into three.

3 | Use your dibber to smoothen the base.

4 | Remove your plants from their pots, make sure to get rid of excess soil from the previous pot, and start placing them in the terrarium. It helps if you prepare a design for your terraria beforehand, so you wouldn’t harm the plants as you fix them in their places. For cacti, use a paper towel to hold the plant safely.

5 | Use your stirrer to help position the plants and smoothen the soil.

6 | Add the accent pieces. When putting the assorted pebbles, use the spoon end of the stirrer.

7 | Gently spray water on the plants. Do this thrice a week.

8 | Wipe off the excess water to prevent the buildup of excess moisture as well as the growth of fungi.

9 | Place the terrarium in a place where there is bright, indirect sunlight.


Cedarhills Garden Center is located at 57 Mother Ignacia Ave., Diliman, Quezon City. Contact 0907-ORGANIC and 926-2707 or follow them on Facebook @cedarhillsgardencenter.

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