Closed Terrariums and Water Terrariums

13 Materials
1 Hour

Terrariums are a beautiful way to get your green on in the winter months when it’s too cold to grow anything outside. Closed terrariums are lower maintenance as they utilize the water cycle (yeah, that one you learned about in science class) so there’s less watering. And water terrariums are mesmerizing and just as easy to care for. Both add that trending, living element to your home décor.

For the closed terrarium, you’ll need: (affiliate link on my blog earn proceeds which are all donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations. By shopping through these links, you can help raise funds for these donations ❤):

A large glass container with a glass lid, small rocks, activated charcoal, potting soil, decorative rocks , moss, or ferns, and a spray bottle.

You’ll also need plants. I love succulents for terrariums. Some plant blogs say that succulents aren’t good for closed terrariums but I use them and they grow huge and out of control in the humid environment. But you can also use mosses, ferns, and other humidity-loving plants.

Start by adding an inch layer of small rocks on the bottom of the glass container.

Then add a layer of activated charcoal on top of that.

Next add at least an inch of dirt.

Tamp down gently with your fingers.

Add the plants.

Top with decorative rocks or moss…or both.

Add water to the spray bottle and spritz the dirt around your plants. You don’t want to soak it but you do want to give a few decent sprays.

Close the lid and place the terrarium in a spot where it gets plenty of light but the sun isn’t beating down on it all day. Mine sits in a window where it gets partial sun and plenty of indirect light.

I spritz the dirt once a week or when I notice that there’s not a lot of condensation on the glass anymore.

You’ll also want to leave it open once a week and let it breathe for about 20 minutes. Clean out any algae growth as you see it.

For the water terrarium, you’ll need:

A glass container, decorative rocks, and distilled water.

Water plants - aquarium plants and marimo moss balls work really well!

Place the plants into the glass container.

Add enough decorative rocks to anchor the plant and hide all of the roots.

If you’re using moss balls, add those after the rocks.

Add distilled water and fill until the plant is covered.

Place it in a well-lit area with indirect sunlight.

Change the distilled water once a month to keep the terrarium looking fresh and clear.

And enjoy!

Watch the easy-to-follow video tutorial below! Proceeds from this video (and the entire On The Fly...DIY channel) are also donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations. Watch, like, subscribe, and share to help raise funds for these donations ❤

Resources for this project:

See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  3 questions
  • Sylvia Velazquez Sylvia Velazquez on Jan 17, 2021

    Have to be distillate water always?

  • Carole White Carole White on Jan 19, 2021

    These are so pretty, so is your pooch!! What is the purpose of "activated charcoal "? I've actually never heard of it...

  • Shelly Moore Shelly Moore on Apr 13, 2021

    What about a recommend? Or Jar? where the plant floats on top of the water where the Betta lives. Any plant species you reccomend?


Join the conversation

2 of 3 comments
  • Lynne Lynne on Jan 18, 2021

    awesome idea!

  • Karolyn Fredette Karolyn Fredette on Feb 12, 2021

    Nice. Also it is great to read plain, simple directions. These look like a great winter project for those of us suffering from gardening withdrawal.