terrarium ideas

16 Terrarium Ideas To Grow A Piece Of Nature

A terrarium is essentially a mini garden sealed in a clear glass container. Terrariums provide a humid environment that makes it easy for you to monitor the plants grown. So, if you are a passionate plant lover looking to combine indoor plants with interior decor, read on as we explore some creative DIY terrarium ideas to inspire you. 

There are mainly two types of terrariums: the open terrarium and the closed terrarium. As their names apply, the open terrarium comes in an open container that allows good air circulation and sunlight. On the other hand, the closed terrariums come in a sealed container. 

Related Read: Apartment Gardening, Can You Recycle Plant Pots?

16 Creative DIY Terrarium Ideas

1. Terrarium Lamp

Why do conventional when you can try something unique? You can light up your small space with a DIY terrarium lamp. Designing one is also easier than it looks. 

You will need a lamp shade, lamp kit, and lightbulb to create your lamp and a clear glass container, moss, sand, small rocks, and gems to create a beautiful terrarium. 

2. Tiny Terrarium

If you're looking for fun and easy DIY terrarium ideas, a tiny terrarium is one idea you can explore. They can fit on worktops and mantelpieces. You can also use them as a pendant for your necklace or bracelet. 

You can use those old spice jars and miniature glass jars in your home to make a terrarium. Tiny terrariums can be great gifts for your family and loved ones. 

3. Cactus Terrarium

Cactus terrariums are absolutely stunning. If you love these desert plants, keep in mind that they do not thrive under tropical conditions. Closed containers are not a good match for the Cacti terrarium. Closed terrariums trap moisture within the container. 

You want to use open containers like big glass containers or fish bowls to ensure your cacti terrarium thrives. You also want to create a false bottom drainage layer using gravel, sand, or lava rock to drain excess water from plant roots.

While a drainage layer isn't needed for every terrarium project, it is essential for the cacti terrarium. You can also create miniature cactus terrariums using cactus terrarium plants like the Rainbow Pincushion. [ETSY LINK]

4. Air Plant Terrarium

Air plants come in many sizes and shapes, attaching their roots to tree branches and other plants. They absorb moisture through their leaves and thrive in humid environments. 

You will need empty glass or mason jars, some pebbles, sand and decorative rocks, and air plants to create a beautiful air plant terrarium. Moreover, use a spray bottle to water it regularly. 

5. DIY Moss Terrarium

Moss is a fluffy plant that can transform your dull terrarium into one full of life. Whether you're trying to create a grassland or a dense-looking jungle, you are likely to find moss for your DIY project. They are also excellent plants for a closed terrarium. 

You can use moss species like sheet moss, fern moss, mood moss, and so on. You will reap the moss terrarium's aesthetic benefits if well taken care of. 

6. Mini Light Bulb Terrarium

Are you thinking of unusual and creative DIY terrarium ideas? Well, you can transform your lightbulb into a little terrarium for your space. 

You will need a bulb, sheet moss, and sand to make a terrarium with a lightbulb. Then, use air plants, succulents, or cacti as plants. Remember to avoid potting soil as it contains moisture that can cause molds on your terrarium. 

To sustain your lightbulb terrarium, you can water them regularly using a spray bottle and put them under indirect sunlight. 

7. DIY Pumpkin Terrarium

If you want something more than the usual for Halloween, the pumpkin terrarium is one you can try. 

You will need a medium or large-sized pumpkin, moss, and succulents. With little succulents in your pumpkin, pumpkin terrariums can make an impressive garden centerpiece. 

8. Hanging Glass Terrarium

Who says your terrarium has to sit on a flat surface? You can switch things up by making a hanging glass or mason jar terrarium to beautify your home. Hanging terrariums can free up some space while creating an aesthetically gorgeous display. 

You can use a mini glass jar, mason jar, or even a dome clock and attach a twine rope to create a hanging terrarium. Inside the glass jar terrarium, you can use tropical plants, succulents, cacti, miniature trees, pebbles, potting soil, and other natural elements to create your own unique garden. 

9. DIY Tabletop Succulent Terrarium

If you're looking for a beautiful centerpiece for your tabletop, these terrariums are one you can try out right from your home. 

You will need a glass bowl, some pebbles for drainage, activated charcoal to manage odors and fungus, rocks and shells, succulent plants, peat moss, ferns, and other decorative materials of your choice. 

Keep in mind that succulent plants require sunlight, so you can place them on a windowsill to allow bright, indirect light. 

10. DIY Terrarium Table

Terrarium tables are fun DIY terrarium ideas you can explore. Interestingly, it isn't as difficult as you may think. However, you will need a lot of woodworking to make your table. 

Once your table is set, you can use different plants, pebbles, sea glass, gravel, stones, and decorative items to create a terrarium environment for your table. 

11. DIY Terrarium Ornaments

Instead of your conventional ornaments, you can up your terrarium game by going for greener decorative pieces. You can create beautiful hanging terrarium ornaments for the holidays. You can then attach them to your Christmas tree or New Year's decorations. 

Moreover, it is quite easy to create. You will need a small glass ornament, festive strings, ferns and moss, tropical plants, faux snow, and other decorative pieces. 

12. Fishbowl Terrarium

For one of the more unique terrarium ideas, if you have a fish bowl or a fish tank, you can convert them into open terrariums and create a mini-cactus garden. So, if you have a spare tank, fill it with semi-aquatic plants, soil mix, charcoal, mosses, gravel, and some decorative items for details.  

13. Sand Art Terrarium

You can use various dark and bright colors of sand to create a sand art terrarium. It takes quite some practice, but if properly laid, it can form a beautiful foundation for your flora. 

Materials like aquarium gravel and sand create a false bottom drainage for excess water. Ensure that when layering your sand, it is very dry. You want to avoid overwatering so as not to disrupt the sand patterns. 

14. Resin Terrarium

Want to create beautiful water terrariums? Well, resin is the magic potion for a bespoke miniature garden. You can use resin dyes to create fake waterfalls and water bodies. You can pair this with hardscape and mosses to create a rainforest terrarium as well as other types of water-based environments. 

15. Herb Terrarium

Nothing sounds more exciting than growing your own herbs within a terrarium. Not only do you get your own produce, but this herb terrarium idea can also serve as a greenhouse to amplify your lighting and create a consistent ecosystem for your herbs. Garden herbs like basil and chamomile are great options for your herb terrarium. 

16. Indoor Tabletop Terrarium Water Garden

Lastly, you can add some greenery to your tabletop with an indoor tabletop terrarium water garden. For this terrarium idea, you will need water plants like water hyacinth, duckweed, water lettuce, rocks, charcoal, potting soil, and pure water. This pure water could be rainwater or distilled water.

Best Plants For Open And Closed Terrariums

Terrarium plants are small, slow-growing plants within a container. Choosing a terrarium plant will depend on whether your terrarium is open or closed. Here are a few terrarium plant options you can choose from: 

1. Air Plants

air plants
Photo by Sabrina Rizzo on Unsplash

An air plant attaches itself to surfaces like wood or stone and doesn't require any soil to grow. They absorb nutrients and water through their leaves but can drown from too much humidity. This plant is best for open terrariums and comes in shades of green and brown. 

2. Mosses

Photo by Artem Makarov on Unsplash

Mosses are just perfect for closed terrariums. These tiny plants thrive in low light and moisture and grow slowly. They also do not contend with other plants and do not take up much space vertically. There are various moss species you can choose from. 

For example, the Java mosses and carpeting mosses are great for layering your terrarium and giving it a woodland look.  

3. Succulents

Photo by 8kka ame on Unsplash

Do you forget to water your plants? Well, succulents may be an excellent option for you. They are typically thick and fleshy and can thrive in scarce water. Furthermore, they stay small even for many years. The jade plant, burro's tail, Hens and Chicks, Echeveria, etc., are all examples of succulents you can try on your DIY terrarium idea.

Additionally, you can buy realistic faux succulents these days. It's not a bad option if you don't trust your green thumb or might be worried about the ongoing care of your terrarium.

4. Cacti

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

Cacti is an excellent plant choice if you want to create a terrarium with a desert landscape. The cacti thrive more in open small terrariums and look great on windowsills and tabletops. Additionally, these plants won't do well in closed terrariums because they require regular airflow and low humidity. 

5. Nerve Plant

nerve plants
Photo by Lorenz Hoffmann on Unsplash

Nerve plants are slow-growing plants that love humidity and warmth. In fact, you will need to water them regularly to avoid wilting. They come with red and white flowers with colorful veined leaves. Consequently, they are usually the main plant in terrariums. 

6. Zebra Plant

zebra plant
Photo by Thomas Quine on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original)

Zebra plants get their name from their green leaves and white veins. They thrive in humid environments and may even sprout bright yellow flower clusters in proper conditions. Moreover, they grow in organically rich and well-drained soil and prefer bright indirect lights. 

7. Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair Fern
Photo by Ryan Hodnett on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original)

Maidenhair ferns thrive in high humidity, making them an excellent choice for closed terrariums. They are pretty small but can grow up to two feet tall when mature. 

Moreover, they prefer bright to medium indirect sunlight and constantly moist soil.  

How To Care For Your Terrarium

man creating terrarium
Photo by Timothé Durand on Unsplash

Terrariums are relatively easy to maintain if you can find the right balance. Here are a few care tips to help you care for the terrarium ideas you will create: 

Choosing Plants

The first step to keeping a healthy terrarium is to choose the right plant for the correct terrarium. For example, succulents thrive better in open terrariums, while mosses are best for closed terrariums.


You want to avoid too much or too little lighting with a terrarium. If you place your terrarium under very bright light or direct sunlight, the glass could magnify the light, burning the plant. On the other hand, your plants need enough light to survive, so you don't want to keep your plants entirely away from lighting. 

Keep your terrarium in a well-lit location that allows it to receive indirect lighting. If your terrarium isn't getting enough lighting, you may want to supplement your lighting with fluorescent or grow lights.  


Of course, your plants need water, but overwatering could be challenging to recover from, especially if you're using closed containers. To avoid this, use a spray bottle to water your plant. In other words, a little moisture is all you need to maintain your terrarium. 

Furthermore, include false bottom drainage when building your terrarium to take out any excess moisture. 

Trim and Remove

Finally, as your plants grow, keep an eye on plants that grow out of your container and trim them regularly. If you observe that your plant is dying or diseased, remove them quickly, as they may infect other plants. Remove them carefully and replace them with one of a similar size. 

Conclusion: Terrarium Ideas

Overall, terrariums are great for bringing that natural element into your home or office. With proper care, terrariums can last for several years. If you're a plant lover, you can create a terrarium to suit your home in many ways. You can go through some DIY terrarium ideas above that you can try out right at home. 

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