Gardening Under Glass


I consulted the almanac and decided that

since Spring is still a couple of months away,

February was the perfect month to

Garden Under Glass!


 An escape from the wintery weather outdoors

and a quick & easy project that anyone can do!


A miniature living landscape in the form of terrarium

that is self-sustaining, other than the occasional

checking for moisture & watering as needed!


This terrarium is one I’ve had for about 10 years from my retail days. I’ve never planted it until now, using it instead on a table as a miniature green house for books, botanicals & decorative seed balls, or a potted plant on occasion.


You can garden under glass with a closed or open terrarium. Closed terrariums should be placed where they will receive bright light, but no direct sunlight, which causes the temperature inside the container to rise and literally cooks the plants.


An open container can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much sun may burn leaves that are in direct contact with the sides of the container.


If your terrarium is closed, take off the top at least once a month to air it out. If you see lots of condensation or have added too much water, leave the top off until it has had a chance to dry out.


You can use any clear glass container with a lid or a small opening in the top, as long as the opening is large enough to get your hand in to plant.

 I spied a couple of terrariums at World Market recently that would be ideal since the glass comes off the base for easy planting.


No green thumb is required for this project!

Besides your container you will need:

~Potting soil with good drainage, I added some vermiculite to mine.

~Pebbles or small stones, for drainage

~Activated charcoal, to keep the soil fresh and prevent it from smelling like a swamp :) I found mine at Petco with the aquarium supplies.


~Moss and decorative stones if desired


Place a layer of stones in the bottom of your container, about 2 inches or so. Next add a thin layer of charcoal over the stones. I also mixed in about 1/4 cup of charcoal into my potting mix.


I found my plants at Lowe’s in the tropical plant section.  The mini orchid was $9.95,  just the right height and the blooms should last for several months.


I also picked up a Strawberry Begonia and a Polka Dot Plant which was on clearance that I could divide and give a little TLC, removing the few yellowed leaves, pruning & shaping it a little.


I soaked some sheet moss in water to rehydrate & refresh it and make it easier to work with and piece together for a top layer over the plants.


After adding your potting mix to the terrarium, place your plants in your glass garden starting with the largest first. I also watered my plants before planting. Gently pack the soil to remove air pockets.


I added a layer of moss and then watered lightly, maybe 1/4 cup of water total. A turkey baster works well, particularly in an open terrarium, to water your plants.


I misted everything with a spray bottle of water and then added  a few decorative stones.


You want to avoid over watering which will cause mold to grow. If your terrarium walls have more than 25% condensation, remove the cover until the walls clear.

I did this a couple of times the first week after planting. In a closed terrarium, there should be only occasional clouding.


 Prune as needed and remove dead leaves and blossoms promptly to keep your Garden Under Glass healthy.

Happy Gardening!


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  34 comments for “Gardening Under Glass

  1. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    February 4, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Very pretty Mary! I love all of the soft pinks, a nice pick-me-up in what can be some dreary days in February-enjoy:@)

  2. February 4, 2013 at 6:33 am

    I used to make terrariums to give as gifts. That was a very long time ago. Wonderful post, Mary. Great *gardening* project to hold us until spring has sprung!!! :D

  3. February 4, 2013 at 7:12 am

    How sweet, Mary. I have a tiny little greenhouse in our bathroom, and I’m using it to store my Mistral soaps. ;P

    Thanks for the tutorial because I had no idea how to put together a terrarium.

    What a sweet little garden you have there!

    Ricki Jill

  4. February 4, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Oh Mary, this brought back wonderful I made some many years ago! I gave one to my was wonderful for her at her elderly age…as well, I really loved mine. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial!


  5. February 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Your photos are whimsical and beautiful!

  6. February 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Hi Mary, I often think of the terrarium my Mom had–mid 70’s–and want to find it and replant. Thank you for the tutorial! The idea of moistening the sheet moss is excellent. I just made a huge dusty mess yesterday covering some primroses because the sheet moss was so dry. And I love that unique faux bois watering can you displayed with the books! Now I am inspired! Linda

  7. February 4, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I had a terrarium a long time ago. In fact my girls had terrariums they made, when they were little, from jars. I think I i will see if I can put one together. Yours is amazing, Mary!

  8. February 4, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Very pretty! I love orchids!…Christine

  9. kim
    February 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

    This is so pretty and maybe I will get around to making a terrarium this year.

  10. February 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I have always wanted a terrarium! This inspires me to FIND ONE now and plant it. I know I can keep it going here in this house, the old house was too dark. Thanks so much for the detailed “how to”. I am going to see if I can order one now. Have a GREAT week. XO, Pinky

  11. February 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Some great tips! Hobby Lobby has some darling vintage inspired terrariums right now. Would be perfect for your petite plants. Thanks for the inspiration. Susan at Romancing the Home

  12. February 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Yet another creative project in the potting shed. Thanks for sharing all the tips. It’s been years since I had a terrarium. Frequently had one in my classroom. ‘-)

  13. February 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Dear Mary, this is beautiful. Everything you do is flooded with beauty. I last gardened under glass in 1978 when I was in high school. This begs the question-are you bad at anything? Do you ruin your laundry? I am teasing of course, hugs, olive

  14. Pat
    February 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    This is a lovely orchid under glass, Mary! i love the mini glass greenhouse you used! My new house lacks deep windowsills and I am basically without plants –very unusual for me as i love indoor gardens. As soon as i’m more settled I want to find a good plant shelf furniture and begin again!

  15. February 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Lovely. Your glass terrarium is beautiful…My son used to work as manager of the greenhouse in a big nursery in Atlanta (Little 5 Points area) and he used to make many open terrariums for sale – he used fish tanks, large bottles, anything that would hold them. They sold quite well…

  16. February 4, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    love your birdie gh, so adorable! and the pail…duh!

    your cup scoop shames any working gh, so love your girlie touches. i gardened all morn, omg, so not the girl with the hat and dress pretty image i can see you being, i was head to toe sopping wet mud, in plain sight on the street. the kind of dirt that even a shower can’t find your face :-( it was called humilatating, i need some pretty time like you!

  17. February 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I love your terrarium…and I am bookmarking this post for future reference…this is such a great tutorial Mary!…just fantastic!..Thanks so much!

  18. February 5, 2013 at 5:22 am

    I made a terrarium once for school when I was growing up and have never thought about doing one since. Now, you’ve inspired me. Of course, if my indoor gardening skills match my outdoor ones, I highly doubt that anything I do would look as great as the inspiration.

  19. February 5, 2013 at 8:31 am

    What a pretty terrarium, Mary! I remember making one a looooong time ago. This is a wonderful tutorial on how to go about it. I am longing for Spring & you’ve provided some botanical respite today. Thanks for sharing!


  20. February 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I had a terrarium in the 70’s. I did great but found it easy to overwater and the plants could get bugs like mites. I never heard of using the activated charcoal- that may have helped lot. I should try one again. Your terrarium is really attractive and I like the plants you chose for it! It will be growing inleaps in bounds in no time! Thanks for the tutorial and inspiration!

  21. February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    What a wonderful way to beat the winter blues! I miss being in my garden. That is a beautiful terrarium you’ve used!

  22. February 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I have a terrarium and it looks pitiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. February 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    What a magnificent terrarium. I wish you great growth!

    Wonderful to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    – The Tablescaper

  24. February 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Your terrarium is beautiful! I have a similar one but have never put plants in it. I’ve wondered…can you have too many cloches and glass topped things? I don’t think so. :)

  25. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life
    February 12, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I love your almanac under the cloche, how fun and your terrarium is gorgeous. Great tutorial too. Thanks so much for joining the party. Hugs, Marty

  26. February 13, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Just beautiful, Mary! The precious mini orchid just adds that extra pop of color! Looks like Spring is just around the corner!!

  27. February 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm


  28. February 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Just beautiful!

  29. February 17, 2014 at 7:30 am

    This is great tutorial! I’ve been thinking lately that maybe a terrarium is just what I need to combat the long winter blues. :D

  30. February 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Your terrarium is so beautiful. I’m going to give this a try as my first attempt a couple of years ago didn’t last. However, with your tips and instructions, I’m sure I’ll have better results. Thanks!

  31. April 2, 2014 at 9:13 am

    whoah this weblog is fantastic i really like studying your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You recognize, a lot of people are hunting round for
    this info, you can aid them greatly.

  32. December 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    How old is the terrarium with the bird on it? Thank you

    • December 19, 2014 at 6:21 am

      I’ve had it about 15 years.

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