Today in this glass open terrarium with DIY stand post I’m sharing this simple terrarium that started with a bubble style glass vase. This glass bubble open terrarium sits on a fun DIY stand that takes this terrarium for ordinary to extraordinary! Let’s chat about terrariums and then I’ll take you through the DIY stand.
What is a Terrarium
Terrariums are a fun way to have an indoor garden to enjoy year round. Glass globe open terrariums featuring live plants are easy to make and care for even for those with brown thumbs. A terrarium is a miniature garden that is typically housed in a glass container. Most are sealed (closed) but some are considered open terrariums like the one Im sharing today. Closed terrariums are fully functioning ecosystems that are for the most part self-sustainable with the plants watering themselves through a process of transpiration and condensation. I mean, how cool is that?? Open terrariums as pictured above do require more care as the air interrupts the sensitive ecosystem. More on that below but first let’s dive into terrarium types.
Types of Terrariums
- Open terrarium – An open terrarium has (as you would expect) an opening in the container and is not sealed. As mentioned above the air circulating in the container interrupts the ecosystem requiring the owner – ahem, I mean the at home gardener – to keep the terrarium maintained and hydrated.
- Sealed terrarium – Sealed terrariums are the way to go if you are interested in have a self-sustaining terrarium. There are specific steps and supplies needed to create this system. Check out this post, 5 Key Elements to a Terrarium Ecosystem (Self-Sustaining Terrarium) from Terrarium Tribe for details on making a sealed terrarium. Just a warning, bugs are recommended to create the most effective self-sustaining terrarium.
- Succulent terrarium – Yes you can even make a terrarium with succulents! Succulents prefer dry soil and the environment in a terrarium is usually quite moist. With a few tweaks you can create the optimal environment for succulents. Drainage will be important as will using succulent specific soil or cactus soil. You can learn more about succulent terrariums in this post from Gardening Know How.
- Air Plant terrarium – This type of terrarium is by far the easiest to set up and care for. Air plants draw water from the air requiring no soil, moss, drainage stones. Just create a decorative environment and drop an air plant in and voila!
The best open terrarium plants
As mentioned above air plants are sure winners and are especially suitable for those who have deemed themselves without a green thumb. However if set up correctly even plant-challenged folks can do well with terrarium care. Terrariums create moisture so it makes sense to choose plants that thrive in a moist, humid environment. Tropical plants are sure winners as are ferns and mosses. Most terrariums include an assortment of plants. I like to choose different shades of greens, a variety of textures with some having unique variegated leaves.
Pot size is important when choosing your plants and planning your terrarium. Most terrariums require smaller plants which can be hard to find. Most garden centers will carry a collection of small potted terrarium specific plants. You can also purchase some on Amazon and on Etsy. Larger terrariums can often handle easy to find 4″ pots whereas tiny terrariums should start with 2″ pots.
Supplies Needed for your Glass Open Terrarium
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- Glass container – I used a 12″ bubble ball vase. The container is to “house” the plants.
- Plants – Depending on the size of your container choose a collection of terrarium ready potted plants that will fit. For this large bubble ball I used 5 smaller plants.
- Live Moss – You can use just one type or a collection of mosses. Reindeer moss works well as does sheet moss. Live moss supports a moist environment and is decorative as well.
- Potting soil – Regular potting soil or African violet soil will work well in your open terrarium. This is for planting the terrarium plants in.
- Gravel or small rocks – used for drainage at the bottom of the container.
- Charcoal – The main reason for adding charcoal to a terrarium is for toxin removal. Charcoal removes the chemicals from the soil, water and air that can accumulate in a terrarium and damage the plants.
- Plant Mister – Optional
- Decorative Rocks or mini figures (optional) – Just for fun
Pro tip: DIY terrarium kits that come with everything you need (except the plants and container)are available on Etsy.
Variations and Special Considerations
Terrarium containers: There are so many options! I chose a simple bubble ball. You can use mason jars, vases or other types of jars. A container with a larger opening is easier to plant than say a demijohn or bottle with a small opening. With a container that has a small opening much of the set up requires a funnel and some sort of stick or very thin tongs to place the plants in. It’s a very delicate process that requires patience but boy are they beautiful when done!
Succulent or cactus terrarium: As mentioned above with a few tweaks you can plant cacti and/or succulent terrarium. Use cactus soil instead of traditional potting soil. Cactus soil allows for optimal drainage and is a specifically made for these plants as they can get moldy fast. Layer your terrarium in this order: gravel, charcoal, moss, then cactus soil. Succulent or cactus plants would not do well in a closed terrarium environment and containers (or dishes) with large openings are best.
Decorative elements: Get creative! Add decorative rocks or little figurines to your terrarium to create a fun display! For a woodland feel add some twigs and extra moss. For a beach theme add seashells and beach pebbles. I share how I placed twinkle lights in this lightning bug lanterns featuring succulents post.
Steps for making a glass open terrarium
- Starting with a clean glass container begin by layering the rocks, moss, charcoal, moistened soil. Make sure the open terrarium layers are thick enough to see the contrast between them when looking through the side of the glass container.
2. Remove plants from their pots and place the plant roots in the soil. Be sure to space plants 2″-3″ apart when possible. If needed add more soil to cover the roots. Water to moisten.
3. Add more moss and/or other decorative items to decorate your terrarium.
4. Place near a sunny window and enjoy!
Caring for Your Open Terrarium
Now that you planted your terrarium all that is left is to care for it. Follow these guidelines for best results:
Light: Place in a spot where the terrarium will get natural light. Indirect light or filtered light works best whereas the glass magnifies the sun. You will have to be especially careful with direct sunlight in the summer.
Water: Watering can be tricky and you will not only have to get to know what you terrarium requires in terms of water you also may need to adjust through the seasons. It is best to start with little bit of water and add more as needed. The trick is to never let the potting soil dry out. You may also use a spray mister to keep the terrarium moist. When it comes to water and humidity – think moist not wet.
Maintenance: Once you get to know where your terrarium is happiest and how much water it requires you will find it is pretty low maintenance. Keep the glass clean by spritzing and wiping and prune or replace any plants they grow too big. Over time you may find that certain plants need to be replaced.
Check out these other great plant projects:
- Lightening bug lanterns featuring succulents
- DIY topiaries using a grapevine wreath
- How to make a pretty indoor DIY self-watering planter
DIY Stand for 12″ Glass Bubble Ball Terrarium
- Wooden bowl (similar linked)
- 4 small wooden finial ball feet
- E6000 glue – clear
- White chalk paint
- Sandpaper- small piece any grit
- Paint brush – any type
- Clear wax
- Waxing brush
How to Make a DIY Chalk Painted Stand
DIY Stand for 12″ Glass Bubble Ball Terrarium
- Place the wooden bowl upside down. Dab a small amount of e6000 glue to 4 ball feet and place them on the bottom of the wooden bowl. Let dry overnight.
- With a paint brush, paint the outside and inside bowl and ball feet with white chalk paint. let the first coat dry and then paint for a second coat. Let dry.
- Using sand paper distress the stand by "scuffing" the chalk paint at different points.
- Using clear wax and a waxing brush using circular motions wax the stand. You will see the distressing become more pronounced as you add the wax. Let dry overnight.
- Place your planted terrarium in the stand.
Watch the Instagram Reels for this project here.
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This low-maintenance garden is such great DIY project that you can make for yourself or it would be the perfect gift for a friend! Thanks for visiting the blog today!