15 Distinctive Terrarium Design Concepts You Ought to Attempt


Houseplant developments are all the time evolving, and in the intervening time, terrariums are within the highlight. These mini-ecosystems present somewhat extra inventive expression in comparison with what you get from buying a houseplant, bringing it residence, and perhaps inserting it in an ornamental pot cowl.

For inventive indoor gardeners or those that simply need a enjoyable weekend challenge to attempt, terrariums are splendid. And for those who’re in search of inspiration past potting just a few appropriate vegetation in a jar, these 15 concepts will enable you out.

Play With Layers

Close-up of a glass round terrarium with a cork lid on a white background. The soil in the terrarium is covered in uneven layers, which creates interesting textures and shapes. The terrarium contains plants such as Ivy (Hedera helix) and moss among decorative stones.
Create curiosity by deliberately layering soil inconsistently in terrariums.

When layering your terrarium, directions will normally let you know to shake the glass gently between every layer to make sure the sections are even. Nonetheless, deliberately maintaining your soil uneven can really create extra curiosity, giving your terrarium a dynamic and pure look.

On this terrarium, a valley is created by increase the soil on two sides. The totally different heights make the options, together with the rocks and the vegetation, a lot simpler to see than they might be in a regular flat terrarium.

The one draw back is the show. It is advisable angle your terrarium rigorously to be seen from the open facet. In any other case, you’ll have folks asking why you’ve gotten a jar stuffed with solely soil on show in your house.

Geometric Succulent Backyard

Close-up of asymmetrically shaped glass decorative terrariums with metal edges. The terrariums are filled with succulent potting mix and several succulents such as Pachyphytum and Echeveria.
Debate exists on true succulent terrariums on account of drainage points.

Terrariums are supposed to be closed techniques which might be largely self-sustaining. Since succulents can solely reside in open jars (they’ll probably rot in a closed system), the existence of a real succulent ‘terrarium’ is up for debate. Nonetheless, they’ve turn out to be some of the standard choices because of their low upkeep, so with their many advantages, I feel we are able to let definitions and semantics slide.

In succulent terrariums, the geometric varieties and distinctive textures of the vegetation are normally the spotlight. However you may emphasize these sharp shapes extra with an angled vase. This isn’t solely good for design functions, however it additionally improves airflow across the vegetation, maintaining them completely happy.

Rising succulents in an enclosed area with out drainage is dangerous if you would like them to remain alive long-term. If you happen to’re going to attempt crafting a succulent terrarium, it’s important to water extremely rigorously to cease the soil from changing into soggy.

Forest In A Jar

Close-up of a large glass terrarium against a white wall. The following plants grow in the terrarium: Kokedama Ficus Bonsai, Nerve plant, Anubias barteri var. nana and moss. Kokedama Ficus Bonsai grows in the center creating a forest atmosphere.
Go for tropical vegetation with tree-like shapes for terrariums.

My favourite additions to terrariums are tree-like vegetation that make the complete jar appear to be a tiny forest. The peak and form created by these vegetation put all the things else within the terrarium into perspective, making a panorama look somewhat than a easy assortment of vegetation in a jar.

Bonsai timber appear to be the apparent alternative as they’re actually tiny variations of tree species, however you might run into some issues with long-term development in a terrarium. Bonsai timber require particular care and a focus to take care of their form, and that care could be extremely difficult when the tree is caught inside a jar.

As an alternative, I’d go for tropical vegetation which have a tree-like form. My go-to is the jade plant, though its succulent stems can rot shortly with an excessive amount of water. If you happen to do need to use a bonsai tree, go for beginner-friendly and humidity-loving genera like Ficus.

Pop Of Shade

Close-up of a large glass terrarium with Nerve plants and Areca Palm growing. Nerve plants, scientifically known as Fittonia albivenis, are distinctive houseplants prized for their vibrant foliage and intricate vein patterns. Their leaves are typically small, oval-shaped, and glossy, with prominent veins that create a striking contrast against the background of colorful foliage. The veins vary in color, ranging from white, pink, red, to silver.
Create vibrant terrariums with colourful vegetation.

For the daring maximalists on the market, your terrarium can simply replicate your type for those who select your vegetation rigorously. A number of vegetation appropriate for terrariums have vibrant and attention-grabbing leaves so as to add a pop of shade to your private home. These colours are even brighter when grouped collectively, creating an virtually luminous show.

This terrarium options totally different kinds of nerve plant, scientifically often known as Fittonia. These vegetation are wanted for the contrasting colours alongside the veins that give the plant its widespread identify. There’s concord in leaf form and peak, emphasizing the distinction in shade between every plant.

One other nice colourful possibility is the polka dot plant, Hypoestes phyllostachya, with mottled leaves in pink, crimson, white, and inexperienced. Some flowering vegetation may also develop in terrariums with a bit of additional consideration, together with African violets and sure species of orchid.

New Orientation

Close-up of a glass terrarium with growing plants on a wooden table indoors. Glass jar in a horizontal position and with a screwed gray lid. Various plants such as Nerve plants and several types of moss grow in the terrarium. The terrarium also contains two small fungus figures with red caps and white legs.
Lay terrarium jars horizontally for extra plant area.

Who stated a terrarium jar has to sit down upright? You possibly can match way more vegetation right into a taller jar for those who merely lay it on its facet and plant horizontally. This terrarium options shorter vegetation – mosses and nerve vegetation with just a few ornamental components – that look good with out taking over an excessive amount of vertical area.

There are just a few caveats to contemplate when attempting this design. For starters, the opening of your jar must be lifted barely so you may plant with out soil spilling out. On this terrarium, the soil tapers off, so it’s not close to the opening, however that may not be potential for all jar varieties.

You additionally want to contemplate stability. In case your jar can comfortably sit on its facet and never transfer although it’s rounded, you’re good to go. If it tends to roll round on its facet, you’ll want to carry it in place and show it rigorously to cease your laborious work from tumbling into a multitude.

Add Stairs

Close-up of several glass terrariums on a black shelf indoors. Racteniums such as Bonsai Ficus Retusa, moss, Nerve plants, Croton, and others grow in terrariums. One of the terrariums has a decorative staircase made of stones.
Add miniature stairs for peak and perspective in terrariums creatively.

One other solution to rework your terrarium right into a tiny panorama is by including these cute stairs. Stairs add peak and perspective to a terrarium, particularly when paired with taller vegetation in a big container. They’ll immediately elevate your terrarium design with little or no effort.

These stairs are constructed from flattened pebbles, however you need to use any small and flat components that may mimic a stair-like construction. I’d warning towards utilizing untreated wooden, although, as it may rot and develop mildew. I attempted constructing stairs in a terrarium with tiny picket log rounds, and so they didn’t final very lengthy.

When constructing, begin by layering your soil at a slight angle. Make holes and plant first, leaving area for the place you need the steps to be. Then, slot the pebbles in final from the highest down so that you don’t find yourself masking them with soil.

Go Past Vegetation

Close-up of a Terrarium jar with decorative rocks indoors against the background of a light window. Plants such as x Fatshedera lizei, alocasia and moss grow in the terrarium. In the middle of the terrarium, a vertical, narrow stone is installed as decoration.
Improve terrariums with ornamental rocks and driftwood for construction and texture.

Vegetation are clearly the spotlight of any terrarium. However they’re not the one aspect it’s best to take into consideration when arising along with your design. Ornamental rocks or items of driftwood can turn out to be the centerpiece of your terrarium design, including a construction and texture that you could be be lacking in vegetation alone.

On this terrarium, two ornamental rocks are dotted between the vegetation. They anchor all the things in place, creating peak and a backdrop for the leaves to shine. With out them, the hole within the middle would look empty, making the complete terrarium seem sparse.

I additionally like to incorporate items of driftwood as a sculptural aspect in the same solution to rocks. You need to use them for peak and even plant in any gaps within the driftwood or use them to anchor air vegetation in open terrariums.

Hanging Gardens

Hanging Terrarium Garden against a beige wall. Terrariums are medium-sized, glass, round in shape. Each terrarium contains one succulent with soil mixture. Succulents such as Fasciated haworthia, Aloe vera, and Ghost-plant grow in terrariums. Terrariums are hung on ropes.
Go for hanging terrariums for inventive design with succulents.

If you happen to don’t have any surfaces to relaxation your terrarium on, plant up a dangling terrarium as a substitute. There are hanging terrariums on the market on-line, however if you are going to buy simply the glassware, you may get inventive with the design.

These hanging terrariums function single succulents, having extra of an impression when grouped collectively. I’ve owned considered one of these terrariums previously, and you must water it rigorously and grasp it in a really sunny spot to stop stretching that may impression the general look of the terrarium.

If in case you have a bigger hanging jar, you may group just a few vegetation collectively. For open terrariums with holes on the edges, I would come with a trailing succulent, like string of pearls, together with a taller function succulent so as to add peak.

Tropical Oasis

Tropical Terrarium. Close-up of a large vase-shaped glass terrarium with a tapered top and closed with a wooden stopper. Fern and peace lily plant grow in the terrarium.
Create a tropical oasis with humid-loving vegetation like ferns and philodendrons.

Tropical vegetation are perfect for terrariums due to the high-humidity environments they create, replicating the jungle-like situations many houseplants come from. Use this to your benefit by combining lush, leafy vegetation to type a tiny tropical oasis.

Many vegetation within the arum household work effectively in terrariums, together with philodendrons, peace lilies, and alocasias. You can too use anthuriums in bigger jars so as to add a pop of shade, so long as they’re positioned in a vibrant sufficient space.

On this terrarium, tropical vegetation are paired with lush ferns – a go-to plant for terrariums on account of their love of moisture and excessive humidity. If you happen to wrestle to maintain your ferns alive on account of low humidity or forgetful watering, planting them in a terrarium will be the reply to all of your issues.

Desert Sands

Close-up of a terrarium with sand and cactus against a blurred night garden background. The terrarium is filled with several layers of sand of different colors. Two different cacti with spines growing in a terrarium.
Create a desert terrarium with succulents, gravel, and fantastic sand layers.

For nearly reverse situations to a tropical function, you too can create a tiny desert-like surroundings in your terrarium design. This type is appropriate for planting low-maintenance succulents and cacti that require little consideration.

The important thing to replicating the desert look, somewhat than simply potting just a few succulents in a jar, is the sand itself. The layers of gravel and fantastic, warmly-toned sand immediately remind us of sprawling deserts, with rocks and spiky cacti mixing in seamlessly.

A desert terrarium will want somewhat extra direct solar to cease the cacti and succulents from stretching. Keep away from including an excessive amount of water to the soil to stop root and stem rot. I wish to water with a straw in all these terrariums to focus on the moisture across the roots and stop unintended overwatering that’s virtually unimaginable to repair in a glass jar.

Terrarium Pendants

Terrarium Pendants on a wooden table on a blurred background. These terrariums are in the form of small glass flasks with stoppers and long chains. The terrariums are filled with white pebbles and green, fuzzy plants with long stems covered in small, thin, hairy leaves.
Wearable terrariums made with gravel, soil, moss, and pendant chains.

Take your love of terrariums to the acute by maintaining them with you always in a tiny jar. These cute terrarium designs will not be troublesome to place collectively. All you want is somewhat gravel, a tiny quantity of soil, and a few moss.

However what makes them totally different is the chain across the jar, permitting you to make use of these residing decorations as pendants. Use them as a necklace, grasp them in your wall, or use them as Christmas tree ornaments – their measurement makes them extremely versatile.

If you happen to don’t need to use moss, you too can preserve tiny succulents in small jars, as we’ll see subsequent.

Succulent Pendants

Close-up of a glass bulb pendant with succulents growing inside. This terrarium has a copper chain. Rattail crassula growing inside a flask with other small succulents. Soil mixtures of sand are poured in layers.
Tiny succulents in pendant terrariums don’t final lengthy however make nice decorations.

Tiny succulents are splendid candidates for short-term terrariums, offering a distinct look from the mossarium earlier than. A mixture of sand and gravel with somewhat moisture will preserve the succulent alive for a number of weeks, excellent for a residing ornamental show.

Sadly, these terrariums don’t final lengthy. Most succulents don’t keep that small for lengthy and can shortly fill the remaining area. However you may run into one other downside earlier than that occurs that may kill off the plant altogether – rot.

If you happen to’re completely happy in your terrarium to solely reside for just a few weeks, you may give this show a attempt. Select succulent species with small pups, as these are perfect for eradicating and potting right into a terrarium.

Coloured Gravel

Close-up of two large glass terrariums with white and brown gravel. Plants such as two types of ferns and Nerve plants with colorful leaves grow in terrariums. The soil mixture is poured in layers alternating dark brown mixtures with white gravel.
Rigorously layer terrariums for a hanging distinction.

So as to add some further creativity to your terrarium design, play with the layers within the jar, not simply the vegetation themselves. These jars do have pops of shade within the vegetation used (nerve vegetation are the spotlight once more, as within the terrarium earlier than). However what actually stands out is the layers of white gravel that create a dramatic distinction towards the darkish soil.

I do have one warning about attempting designs like this: getting the layers excellent will not be a straightforward process. I could be fairly impatient with finicky actions, and seeing tiny stray items of gravel in layers they weren’t imagined to be in was extremely irritating.

However for those who’re prepared to go sluggish and thoroughly place every layer to create these outlined traces, the impact is effectively well worth the effort.

Bulb Vase

Close-up of a Bulb terrarium on a stone stand. The bulb holds potting mix and growing tiny plants and moss.
Plant in outdated lightbulbs for a singular terrarium design.

One vibrant concept for a singular terrarium vase – excuse the pun – is planting in an outdated lightbulb. I’ve made hanging vases from lightbulbs, and it’s not as troublesome because it may appear, though you do must deal with it rigorously to keep away from injury to the glass (and your palms).

When you’ve eliminated the tip and within the bulb, fill it with soil and toss just a few tiny vegetation in. Moss sometimes works greatest as a result of restricted area contained in the bulb. You possibly can grasp the bulb the other way up from the ends or glue it to a steady floor to maintain it upright.

This terrarium design is an effective way to recycle outdated used bulbs that might in any other case go to waste. Seal the ends or preserve them open to vary up your design in a while.

Carnivorous Terrarium

Close-up of a Carnivorous Terrarium on a wooden surface. The terrarium is large, round in shape, glass. Plants such as moss, english ivy plant and Venus flytrap grow in it. The Venus flytrap features a rosette of short, broad leaves with spiky, tooth-like structures along the edges, giving them a menacing appearance.
Surprisingly, Venus fly traps thrive in open terrarium shows.

One plant you might not have thought of maintaining in a terrarium is the Venus fly entice, some of the iconic carnivorous vegetation on this planet. These vegetation come from lavatory environments the place the soil is persistently moist, making terrariums a surprisingly splendid surroundings for them. 

This show combines just a few totally different vegetation, however the spotlight is undoubtedly the Venus fly entice. The open jar permits for further airflow to stop rot and likewise makes it simpler so as to add extra moisture because the soil begins to dry out.

Plus, maintaining the jar open permits the traps to do their job of clearing out annoying flying bugs in your house, offering important vitamins on the similar time.

Ultimate Ideas

These are simply a few of the many distinctive terrarium concepts even freshmen can attempt at residence. Use them as inspiration to create your individual inventive show.

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