3 terrariums created by filling jars with dirt, moss, rocks and plants and placed on a wooden table next to a bag of moss

Create a Terrarium Inspired by Nature

Terrariums are a little bit magical; they capture a scene in nature within a tiny space, transporting you to another place whenever you peek inside. While any store-bought model is sure to look pretty good, a homemade terrarium can be made to remind you of the places that mean the most to you. Plus, you can customize them to perfectly complement your home decor! Here’s how to make a terrarium that’ll surely become your favorite decor item in your home.

tropical inspired terrarium summerwinds california

Step 1: Explore!

Part of the fun of this project is taking your inspiration from nature. Bring someone special and make a day of exploring your favorite areas near home. Perhaps the sights and sounds of Yosemite Park will capture your imagination, or maybe there’s something you want to recreate about the shores of Big Sur. Take lots of photos, make lots of memories, and soak in the feeling of the area. Where permitted, take a few keepsakes (like a small jar of sand or a few pretty pebbles) to make your terrarium feel that much more like a little piece of nature.

jar for terrarium summerwinds california

Step 2: Choose Your Vessel

Once you’ve got an idea for your terrarium, think carefully about the shape, size, and location you want for your final product. A bubble-shaped vessel is perfect for an ocean-inspired theme, where a triangular vessel echoes the shape of forest trees.

Make sure the vessel has a large enough opening to place your plants and other decorations inside without damaging them, and consider the amount of airflow you’ll need for the environment you’re trying to create. A small opening will retain more moisture, which will suit tropical plants alright but might suffocate your succulents! Larger, or multiple, openings promote more airflow, which is ideal for plants that need to stay dry.

Where you plan to keep your terrarium will also influence your choice of vessel. If you want to show off trailing plants, go for a vessel you can hang in front of a window. Prefer to decorate a desk or mantel? Make sure the bottom is flat and stable to prevent your creation from getting knocked out of place!

assembling terrarium summerwinds california

Step 3: Pick Your Plants

Now that you’ve chosen your “canvas,” it’s time to start putting together your work of art! Visit a nearby SummerWinds Nursery location to explore tropical plants, cacti, succulents, and more in every size imaginable. Bring your vessel with you, or choose one while you’re there so you can plan and visualize your arrangement. If you’re arranging multiple plants in your vessel, stick to plants with similar light, soil, and water needs so they’ll live harmoniously together!

Speaking of soil needs, make sure to grab the right soil! Standard potting soil retains too much moisture for cacti and succulents, and some plants prefer certain blends over others. Our team is always around to help if you have any questions about choosing soil for your terrarium.

farm figures on moss terrarium summerwinds california

Step 4: Get Creative

Now for the fun part—putting it all together! Along with your plants, soil, and keepsakes from your adventure, you may want to add some more fun stuff like painted rocks, recycled pieces of ceramic, or plastic figurines.

assembling terrarium summerwinds california

When you’re ready to assemble, plant your plants first, then build your artwork around them to create your tiny ecosystem. Remember, you’re creating your own little world, so there are no rules!

Once your terrarium is all set up, it’s ready for display. Show it off by snapping a photo on Instagram and tagging us at @summerwindsca! We’d love to see the incredible creations you come up with this summer.