Tabletop Terrariums – The Perfect Indoor Gardens

Creating a terrarium is the perfect way to add a touch of green as well as charm to your home. And after an absence of many years, they are back in fashion as a tabletop accessory.   One of the earliest science projects I remember doing with my Mother’s assistance was creating a  terrarium in a glass rectangular container that was first used for our guppies and goldfish!   While the variety of shapes and sizes of glass containers today is virtually  endless,  a “themed” terrarium can easily be created for most anywhere in your home, porch, or even in an outdoor room or on a porch.  Ferns, succulents, kalanchoes, African violets, miniature orchids, and tropical green plants are excellent plant selections for indoor gardens.  Great sources for containers include craft stores, antique shops, and thrift stores.   Tabletop gardens, economical and surprisingly easy to create, are fun projects for both adults and children alike.


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To create your own miniature tabletop garden, you will need:

*  Glass wide-mouthed container

*  Gravel or small stones

* Activated charcoal

* Potting Soil and/or sand

* Gloves


*Large plastic syringes

* Plants


Recently my talented friend, Janet Loftin, created a couple of terrariums, and even included got her  precious grandson in on the fun.

First arrange all materials for the project.


Add a layer of gravel or stones, followed by a layer of activated charcoal.

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We used a combination of potting soil and sand since we were using succulents. Carefully place the plants as desired.

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Next use a clean brush and/or a large syringe filled with water to clean dirt or sand off the plants’ surfaces.

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Place sheet moss carefully around the plants.

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Be careful not to overwater the terrarium.


The terrarium, placed on its stone base, will add a touch of spring to any corner in your home.  Try placing a decorative bird, rabbit, etc. around your garden.


A large cyclinder is another perfect way to create a tabletop terrarium.  I especially love the copper accents.

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Sweet five-year old Ellis need only hear the words “dirt”, “charcoal” and “rocks” to know that he wanted to get involved in this project.  Of course the most appealing part of this was creating a special birthday gift for his Mother.  Since younger children often do not have a long attention span, this project is ideal since it can literally be done in minutes!

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A couple of weeks after our afternoon of creating terrariums, I was cleaning out the attic at my parents’ Mississippi home.  Amazingly, I unearthed my old science project beneath a couple of shutters. Truly a gift and an unbelievable surprise after at least forty years!

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Another treasure I found was our original guppy aquarium that had also been used for terrariums as well.  Lisa Mann, a master gardener and DIY extraordinaire, suggested I create a fairy garden using the vintage container from my childhood.  A quick trip to the craft store provided everything I needed to create this magical little garden.



Miniature succulents were the perfect choice for the terrarium.

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Place the miniature garden implements as desired.

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Multicolored crushed mosaic tiles creates perfect magical walkways.


I added a miniature bridge to the garden as well.


Create your own timeless enchanted miniature fairy garden, and enjoy its whimsical magic..

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Tips for maintaining a terrarium:

1.  Terrariums need diffused light and thrive in low light areas.

2.  Avoid overwatering.  Mist with a spray bottle of water as needed. Light watering once a week is generally sufficient.

3.  Rotate the container every few days.

4.  Avoid overcrowding the plants so as to leave room for them to grow.

Use your imagination to create a tabletop terrarium that your family, a friend, or a  shut-in can enjoy throughout the year.  Better yet, share the joy of creating an unforgettable gardening memory with a child..



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