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How to Plant a Terrarium for under 5 bucks

Updated on March 10, 2012

Okay, so I was watching TV one day, and saw this terrarium lying on a coffee table in a chic' modern upscale house. WOW! I had to have it! I searched the web looking for this terrarium, and was shocked- a price tag of $500. After a little research, I got my creativity flowing and discovered some shortcuts to create a similar terrarium for UNDER FIVE BUCKS!

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First things first- THE JAR. The only requirement is a lid. Look around your house now, I'm sure you have a candle holder, or old mason jar hanging around. Take a look in your recycling bin for some old glass also! I found the jar in the picture for $1.05 at the thrift store. The funkier the jar- the bigger the statement your terrarium will make in your home!

The GROUND. You will need soil, sand, and pebbles. Most potted plant containers provide some sort of drainage- your glass does not, so we will create it easily! I simply went outside and gathered some sand and soil separately. If you want you can sift the sand and dirt to take out the bigger chunks of debris. For pebbles, I got a little creative and used my massive collection of sharks tooth instead. Look around outside and im sure you can discover some pebbles. Make a game out of it for the neighborhood kids! ( the sand, dirt, and pebbles can all be found at Walmart if you perhaps live in a more urban area)

THE PLANT- This is the fun part. It is totally up to YOU! Have some fun adding different sizes of leaves and an array of colors. Just remember to keep it small and minimal. You can find some sprout-lings possibly outside, or visit a garden store, home depot, etc. I found my little plants at Walmart for a grand total of $2.12

ORNAMENTS- I have seen nearly everything in these terrariums! Moss would create a wonderful forest theme, or how about a little porcelain frog or deer?! My terrarium has a cute snail shell and piece of bark- all right on my front lawn!



1. The substrate- The sand will go in first, followed by your pebbles, and lastly soil. The total of all the substrate should fill about a 1/4 of your jar. Remember, we need to keep that soil drained so those roots don't rot! sand, pebbles, soil is the key to success!

2. Plant- Pretend your a florist for a minute. Create an "arrangement" with your tiny plants that suits your taste and theme for your terrarium. Keep in mind the space inside your jar, and try not to overcrowd. Go ahead and plant inside the jar, ensuring the roots are covered.

3. Ornaments- By now your terrarium should be coming to life, and now its time for the finishing touches of your choice to make it really stand out. Let your creativity run wild!

Click thumbnail to view full-size


The top on your glass jar will create condensation on the sides of the glass. You only need to water once a week, just a few drops. ( distilled water is preferred to keep smudges off your glass). Your soil should be moist, not wet. There should also be no water collecting at the bottom in your sand. It is better to underwater, than OVER water.

Some occasional sunlight will also be necessary. Read up on your individual plant to ensure it receives the correct amount of sunlight.


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    • Paradice profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Update: My little 5 buck terrariums are still at it after 4 years. I have had to prune occasionally, and it's amazing what a couple drops of water does! Pictures to follow.

    • Paradice profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Thanks! I had so much fun making this! :)

    • Myfanwy profile image


      7 years ago from Tennessee, USA

      Such a cool idea! Thank you for sharing! :D


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