Want to Build Your Dream Terrarium?


We stopped by our favorite local, family-owned, nursery in Mount Pleasant, Abide A While, so Michael could finally fulfill his green thumb dreams. He asked for advice on the color of decorative pebbles and how to get his hands on this so-called "bag of charcoal." If you're a local, we highly suggest stopping by and picking up one of their own "how-to" instruction sheets. If not, we've included our own experience in fulfilling his dreams and what that charcoal is really for...they told us ourselves.


  • Pick your favorite clean, clear, colorless glass container - with or without a lid. We chose to go lid-less because it is easier to plant.

  • Grab a bag of potting soil. You will need about 2-3 cups, or about 3 inches of depth, for a medium-sized terrarium.

  • To add a decorative element, purchase a bag of pebbles. We went with more earthy-tone pebbles. You will use 1 cup of pebbles, or about 1 inch, to cover the bottom of the container.

  • To reduce possible unpleasant smells, use 1 tablespoon of charcoal. Ask your local nursery, because they usually have some on hand.

  • Now the plants. Pick your favorite 3-5 dwarf miniature slow growing plants that can tolerate low light and humidity.

Step #1: Prepare The Base

Spread the pebbles 1 inch deep into the the bottom of the container. Now add the little bit of black magic and sprinkle charcoal evenly over the top. Many don't know charcoal removes toxins and odors, and provides a drainage system so the roots don't rot. Add 2-3 inches of slightly moistened potting soul and gently tap it down.

Step #2 - Add Your Plants

The plants selected should include a variety of height, color and texture. Ian said to think of designing your own mini-garden scene.

Abide A While taught us a simple formula for achieving a great look - plant a vertical plant, a bushy plant and a ground cover.

Plant them at the same depth as in their original pots to avoid damaging the root system and dig a small pocket to place your first plant in firmly. Note: Make sure no roots are exposed.

Continue to plant the rest in order from bushy to low ground cover. Also, try not to crowd the plants against each!

Step #3 - Add Decorative Focal Points & Water Your Terrarium

Add small amounts of water from a spray bottle, but don't over water! It should only be moist (yeah - we hate that word too), but not wet. Also avoid getting the foliage wet.

We added decorative elements by including pebbles to the top layer of soil. Michael learned lots of sprinkling is involved in terrariums.

Step #4 - Relish in Fulfilling Your Green Thumb Dreams

We could not have done this without the help of Abide A While! View their "Planting A Terrarium" guide if you need additional help. For all my (Michael) fellow non-green thumb friends, you can do it! Now get out there and make something beautiful, because I Love That For You.