How to Plant Terrariums that Rival Anthropologie's for NICKELS!

You know what terrariums are right?  If you walk into Anthropologie right now, you can see a host of them for $48-$298 each.  (WHAT?!  Yeah...I know...ridiculous right!  I'm not kidding can see them right HERE...and um you must excuse me -THIS terrarium is $1450.00  $1450.00!!!!  NO JOKE!).  Basically they are a tiny little greenhouse in a glass container.  You can use any type of glass container, but you have to be able to close up the top, so you want your container to be larger at the bottom, but narrow at the top.  Anthropologie uses regular old glass soda bottles and apple gallon jugs among others, but you can use whatever recyclables you have laying around.  I am using two glass containers that I purchased for pennies at an auction.  (Mine usually have glass plates that cover the top: not pictured)

You can fill them with any type of plant, but I like to use hardy plants that I don't have to worry about.  That is part of the point of a terrarium...very little watering and care and the green just keeps on going.

I fill my terrariums with a very light and dry soil mix.  If the soil is thick, heavy, wet garden soil, it might be too wet and will drown your plants, as a terrarium does not really dry out.  I then line the "floor" of my terrariums with moss.  I harvest it from my backyard under an old pine tree.  If you don't know how to harvest moss, you can see the full technique of how I scrape moss off the soil RIGHT HERE.

My succulent "farm" that I take cuttings from. 
This pot comes inside every winter and the plants survive.

I put the soil and moss at an angle to give it a bit of a "hill" effect and then start adding in plants.  I use succulent cuttings that are super hardy and simply stick the tough stems down through the moss.  By using these easy to root succulents, I can make bunches and bunches of terrariums using one base plant.  These 4 types of succulents cost 25 cents each last year at Lowe's, so both of these terrariums were made for under a buck.  That is a bit better than Anthro's 14 HUNDRED and 50 bucks, right?

What creative containers have you used as planters or terrariums?


Miss Kitty said…
Amy, those are just beautiful! You find/create such great looks for bargain basement prices. Do you keep the tops on them most of the time?
hanks!! I leave the lids/plates on all the time unless I'm taking pictures for the blog ;)
Becky Jane said…
My mom made one using an old glass gallon milk jar! Your terrariums are great!
Andrea said…
Those are beautiful. I can't imagine the 14hundred and fifty price for those. A real terrarium is supposed-to-be a microclimate which can stand on its own for a long time, so it is covered. The transparent glass ensures light to get through, and do they have the source of CO2 so the plants can manufacture their own food? These open 'so-called terrariums' are called that but they are actually modified dish gardens. Because real terrariums are what i described above. If they can produce that i wonder what the price will be, maybe 3X the original! LOL.
Hi Amy! This is fabulous, I think I just might make me one of these today - I have a fishbowl shaped vase that might work. Thanks once again!
Hey Andrea! Thanks for the info!

Mine actually are capped most of the time. I took the tops off so I could photograph them better, but after the first week or so of adjusting the amount of water, I no longer have to water them...they are their own little microclimate. I started out with very dry soil and slowly added water until the system sustained itself. If you start out with too much water, things get moldy (not that I would know that from experience or anything... :)

Heather and Becky Jane - I'd love to see pics!!!
Make handmade said…
Great idea and tutoriral! thanks for sharing...
Anonymous said…
Well, the funny thing is that the link to the $1,450 terrarium isn't a terrarium. The description says that they are handcrafted blown-glass and the plants are not included. So you wouldn't be paying for the terrarium but really only for the glass.
kalabear 1 said…
In your blog... you simply stated that these plants do well in your terrarium, but you did not list the names if the plants. I have about 50 containers here in which to plant my terrarium, but have no idea which plants to start off with. Basically my question is which plants are the best (in your opinion) to plant in terrarium? I need to get started, my husband is having a fit about all the unused glass in my house! Lol. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
Amy Renea said…
Hi kalabear! ANY type of succulent should work well in a dish garden like this (with the top removed most of the time). If you are going to do a true terrarium (sealed so that the mist re-waters the plants), then you should stick to tropicals naturally found in wet forests - think mosses and ferns or warmer tropical houseplants.