Terrariums are beautiful, fun to make and easy to care for. Our
favorite Brooklyn plant expert, Summer Rayne Oakes, guides us through the
process step-by-step in this episode of Plant One on Me.

Summer covers which plants, tools, containers and soil mix you’ll need. Plus, how to water, the number one reason people kill plants.

If this terrarium seems too large to start with, go with a
smaller version.

You don’t need a green thumb for this DIY project, promise.

Getting Started

First of all, choose a glass container. It’s easiest if the
container is big enough to fit your hand inside. Next, choose plants that have
the same kinds of light and water requirements. Check the plant tags to make
sure they’ll be compatible. Generally speaking, terrariums are best in bright,
indirect light. Full sun can be magnified by the glass and burn foliage. Base
the container size on the number of plants you’d like to include.


Summer uses a set of aquarium tools for her terrariums. It’s
a clever idea because they are extra-long. Having said that, it isn’t really
necessary to buy this type of set when starting out. A long pair of chopsticks
does a great job. She also uses a spoon and a narrow garden trowel. A watering
can with a thin spout is handy to direct the water.

Soil Mix

The soil for terrariums needs to be a light, free draining
mixture. Espoma’s
organic Cactus Mix
combined with perlite makes the perfect
blend. If plants are small you can start with a drainage layer of an inch or so
consisting of small rock and or charcoal. In this case, she didn’t use a
drainage layer because the plants were relatively large and would have rooted
into the drainage layer too quickly.


Add an inch or two of the soil mixture to your glass
container. Play around with the plants until you have an idea of how you’d like
them to look. Every plant won’t be blooming all of the time so choose ones with
different textures and foliage to create the terrariums subtle beauty. Plant
around the edge first, adding soil around the plants as you go. Plant the
centerpiece last.


Terrariums create their own humidity which means they’ll
need to be watered less frequently than houseplants in pots. Water sparingly
and keep an eye on them. If plants seem to be wilting, water them. As time goes
by, you’ll find the right watering schedule for your terrarium. Once every two
weeks is about average.

Plant List

Here is a list of the plants Summer used in this video:

  • Monstera siltepcana – light and dark varieties
  • Peperomia trinervula
  • Hemigraphis/Strobilanthes alternate
  • Pilea asp.
  • Begonia conchifolia
  • Peperomia caperata

More Information

Here are links to other videos and blog posts we think you
may find interesting:

to Make an Easy Terrarium

Terrarium Ideas

Old Can be New Again with Terrariums

Where to Buy

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