Friday, August 7, 2009


Since the environment outside it way too hot and dry for anything to grow successfully (we are in a water-restriction so no outside watering allowed), I thought the kids might enjoy making terrariums. They were so simple to make, and everybody had fun doing it.

Here's how we made them:
1. You will need clear containers with lids. (We bought inexpensive glass cookie jars with lids from Wal-Mart for about $5 each.)
2. Layer 1" of small pebbles in the bottom.
3. Add 1/2" of activated charcoal. This will filter your water.
4. Add 1" or so of moss.
5. Add several inches of dirt. (My kids added way too many rocks and moss so our jars are almost too full).
6. Add your plants - usually 2 or 3 to a jar. Make sure whatever you choose won't grow over 6 inches tall so they don't outgrow their jar. We used African Violets, ivy, and ferns.
7. Add a small amount of water and the lid. Over the next day you should see water droplets form on the glass. If you don't, add more water. If you have too many droplets or soggy soil leave the lid off for a few days to let some evaporate.

That's all there is to it. These are great to observe since they are their own self-contained ecosystems.


  1. This looks really interesting! Does it mean that terraniums don't need watering at all after receiving that first watering, or do you still need to add water occasionally?

  2. As long as they are sealed tightly terrariums need watering no more often then once every month, usually even longer. We have had terrariums go as long as 4 or 5 months between waterings, depending on how waterproof the jars were.

  3. what a great idea to use an old cookie jar for a terrarium! we've been thinking of making one, but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    glad i visited your blog - lots of fun learning for the kiddos! i'll be back, thanks!

  4. Wow! I really want to do this! It looks so much fun. But, I am wondering if my two year old would really understand what we were doing. Hmmmm..

    Also, where would one buy the moss and charcoal? TIA!

  5. M enjoyed the planting process and she enjoys looking at "her jar" on the table but I think the actual lessons on the water cycle and plant growth are more understandable for J.

    I found both the charcoal and moss at Home Depot in the nursery section. You can get small bags (you don't need much) for about $4 each.


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