Start the Guide
How to Make a Tropical Terrarium on a Budget
Tropical plants in a jar makes great decorations and great gifts!
Here's what we'll be creating!
Supplies: top left to right: tropical plants, seashells & sand dollars, glass stones, glass beads, sand, small pebbles. Also grab some chopsticks or cutlery, a jar, charcoal, soil and a funnel.
Plumosa fern (top back), nerve plant (red, also comes in white), brake fern (bottom left), English ivy (middle bottom), club moss (bottom right), pink polka dot plant (right).
Use a glass container! I bought one plastic container because I loved it's shape and lid and when I woke up, it was broken. It may have been the pressure next to the rocks in a condensed container. :(
Place your rocks at the bottom of the jar. These are glass stones from the dollar store. You can also use rocks from outside. Stack a couple layers to provide drainage and a nice look.
Put a layer of charcoal next. This helps keep the jar mould-free. I bought a bag from a garden centre for about $8 which was enough for 10-15 jars.
Add a layer of soil on top of the charcoal and push it down. The soil was $2 for a bag that lasted for about 11 jars. Add a layer of glass beads or sand if desired- only around the edge.
This is a photo from a different jar with purple sand. I made a funnel out of paper to direct the sand to the edges. I got the sand, glass beads and pebbles from the dollar store for about $1.25 each.
Place a layer of soil on top of the sand/bead layers. Put enough soil to dig holes for the plants. Plant as many or as little plants as you'd like. Use chopsticks/cutlery for hard to reach places.
You can even break apart some plants if their roots allow. Each mini tropical plant was $1.79 and I was able to separate some of those.
Check with a garden centre employee or research what types of plants can go in a terrarium and make sure you specify if you have a lid or not.
Decorate with seashells, rocks, figurines, pebbles, etc. If the plants get too big, trim them!
Here's another jar I made.
Experiment with different colours, plants and jars!
Lightly mist the plants when needed and keep the lid on only at night. Do not place in direct sunlight or they'll fry! Look at drainage & soil colour for moistness test. These types can't dry out.
I got the jars from a discount home goods store and from the dollar store. I estimate each completed terrarium cost under $10 each.
Check out other guides by this author!