Starting and maintaining a terrarium...

Step 1: Pebbles

Medium to small sized pebbles are placed on the bottom of your terrarium to form a sump for water to drain into.

Step 2: Activated Charcoal

Activated or Horticultural Charcoal acts as the Terrariums filter removing impurities from the water and the soil.

Step 3: Screening (optional but helpful) Putting a second layer of pebbles or a mat of Sphagnum Moss on top of the charcoal is helpful to stop the potting media washing through to the bottom. Always ensure that Sphagnum moss is from a sustainable source.

Step 4: Potting Media

This is the layer that you will plant into. Potting mix is fine too but avoid mixes with fertilizer added. Palm peat is a good mix to use with carnivorous plants.

Step 5: Top layer

Finish off with a layer of Pebbles or under plant with mosses or small plants like Babies tears.

Suggested Plants:

For an open dry terrarium (no lid) cacti, succulents or wide leaved Tillandsia (Air Plants) work well. In humid terrariums (with a lid) try ferns, mosses, Babys Tears, Pot bellied figs or the range of small indoor plants available. Carnivorous plants will also work well.


A properly layered terrarium should be quite easy to care for. Place your terrarium near a bright window away from direct sun and give a good misting when condensation stops forming on the sides of the glass. A terrarium without a lid will need to be misted more frequently. If you have planted cacti or succulents, let the terrarium dry out properly between watering and ensure you use a vessel with no lid. Never pour water into your terrarium instead mist slowly until water has just started to collect in the bottom layer. Rotating your terrarium every 2 weeks will keep the moss green and growing evenly.

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