Posted in category: Terrariums.

Making a Terrarium – Where to Buy the Supplies

terrarium-suppliesOne would have thought that a well-supplied gardening center would have everything you need for making a terrarium. Little did I know when I decided to embark on making a terrarium that it would take several trips to various cities and towns to assemble everything I needed. I cringe to think of the money we spent on gasoline driving here, there and everywhere.

I could have saved myself a ton of headaches and just gotten everything online from Amazon – even the plants.

It might have arrived in separate packages but, all in all, it would have been oh so much easier than what I did.

So, if you would like to build a terrarium, similar to mine, here’s what you are going to need. If you want to read about my mis-adventures in terrarium building and see my finished terrarium, please check out How to Build a Terrarium, while avoiding my mistakes.

Terrarium Container

From all of my research, a terrarium container should be clear glass with a lid. There’s some terrariums that are open (i.e. no lid) but for what I was planning I needed something lidded and fairly air tight. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune because the jar was designer this or decorator that. I just wanted a nice lidded jar. I also didn’t want to drop a whole lot of money on a multi-piece glass canister set when I really only wanted a single jar.

It took a bunch of searching, but I found an Anchor Hocking 2-Gallon Heritage Hill Jar with Glass Lid. Let me just say, that I absolutely love it. It looks beautiful. It is quite heavy and strong glass that looks like it will hold up a long time. I chose it knowing the lid isn’t 100% air tight but it appears perfect for a terrarium. Sadly, their 2 gallon jars now have metal lids – which could rust over time. But, there are alternatives still available – though not all of them are from Anchor Hocking; but all of them have gotten great reviews.

Before falling in love with one of these jars, please be mindful that they can be quite heavy empty. My jar, with the lid, weighs 10 pounds. The slightly larger one I’m suggesting weighs just under 11.

2.5 Gallon Lidded Jar for Terrariums

  • Pretty curved shape.
  • The prettier design of this jar does come with the downside of a smaller opening than their more square-shaped cousins.
  • Timeless design that goes with any home decor.
  • For reference, this jar can hold 10 pounds of flour; with room left over.
  • Jar measures 9.6 inches wide by 13 inches tall and weighs almost 11 pounds, empty.

Set of 2 Lidded, 1 Gallon Jars for Terrariums

  • American Made by Anchor Hocking
  • Wide mouth for easy placement of terrarium plants and decorations.
  • Each jar weighs 5 pounds, empty; and can hold 4 pounds of sugar.
  • Jar measures 9.54 inches tall by 7″ wide.

apothecary Jar for Terrariums

  • Stylish, yet simple enough to keep focus on your terrarium
  • Perfect terrarium jar for desktops and other smaller areas.
  • Wide mouth for easy placement of terrarium plants and decorations.
  • Each jar weighs 3.27 pounds, empty; and can hold 1 pound of coffee.
  • Jar measures 11.8 inches tall by 5.9″ wide.

Granulated Carbon/Charcoal

This was the one component that I had the most trouble finding. I ended up buying an 11 ounce box from a national pet store chain here in town. I used around half of the box. So, unless you have have another use for the charcoal, buying a smaller amount might make sense. In fact, some growers suggest simply enhancing the soil with some activated carbon. Doing so, would also help to avoid a bit of the mess I had from making an entire level of the stuff in mine.

If you wish to make an entire layer or plan on making a number of terrariums, I would recommend using Marineland PA0371 Black Diamond Activated Carbon.

However, if you don’t plan on adding an entire layer of charcoal and just plan on adding it to your soil, this option is more economical and actually a bit easier/cleaner.

Activated Carbon for Terrariums

  • 3 Pack of Premium Grade Carbon Sachets
  • Simply rinse carbon while in the sachet.
  • Once rinsed, cut bag and pour granules into soil.

You’ll actually need only a small amount of charcoal. I totally overdid it. Were I to make another terrarium, I would use a small amount and simply mix it into the soil. Just, don’t forget to rinse it first.


Were I making a terrarium knowing what I know now, I would use much smaller rocks. The tiny pieces of charcoal are sinking in between the rocks and I think it looks messy. Using a barrier between the two might have helped but I was leery of putting too many extra layers that might inhibit moisture flow.

You can get stones the same size I did but I will definitely be shopping in the aquarium section for both the charcoal and the stones if I opt to make a second terrarium. I also think the stones seem overly large in comparison to the mini size of the plants and decorations I used in making my terrarium.

Salmon Bay Pebbles for Bonsai. It has good reviews, the size sounds like it wouldn’t look so much like fish gravel as to be silly and the colors seem nice.

Colorful Pebbles for Terrariums

  • 3 pound bag
  • Perfect terrarium pebbles for drainage and surface decoration.

Another option would be to go with all black gravel for a dark, primeval forest look. This bag of tiny black lava rocks also offers a great growing surface for your moss.


Yes, indeed, you can buy all sorts of dirt from Amazon. Some of the options are “Add-On” products, which means they can only be purchased on an order that exceeds $55. But, since you are buying everything you need, or at least most of it, for making a terrarium from Amazon; you’ll have no trouble meeting that threshold.

I would strongly recommend that whatever you do, you make sure the dirt is pest-free before adding it to your terrarium. I learned this lesson the hard way with the Miracle Gro dirt that I used – more on that in a later post. The most important thing is to select dirt appropriate for the types of plants you plan on adding to your terrarium.


Year’s ago, the suggestion was to use old nylon stockings in between the dirt and gravel layers when making a terrarium. At that time, I can remember the ladies of my family having drawer-fulls of usable, semi-usable and totally ruined stockings. Most households had plenty of old ones to craft with. I think Mom even stuffed a few pillows with them. She might still have a few but for the most part, our house is pantyhose-free.

I ended up using the net bags my stones came in but it was a fussy endeavor. My recommendation would be to get your hands on some nylon toule. It’s fairly cheap and you can get a roll from Amazon or just about any arts and crafts store. The one pictured here, 25 yards of Expo Classic Black Tulle, has way more than you would need to set up a terrarium but you could use it to make bows, tutus or other decorations with.

Terrarium Plants

Amazon has a number of vendors that are offering miniature and terrarium plants for sale. You can find everything from miniature orchids, ferns, tropical plants, live moss and even lichens to include in your terrarium on Amazon. Below is one of the many choices…

Mini Terrarium Plants
  • 6 Different Small Terrarium Plants (2" Pot Size)
  • |Order Multiple Sets for more Variety| Orders with 2x 6 Plants will receive 12 Different Plants. Orders with 3x 6 Plants will receive 18 different plants. Orders over 3 Sets may receive Duplicates.
  • Easy Care Varieties
  • Perfect For Terrariums/Fairy Gardens
  • Low-Light Tolerant
  • 6 Terrarium plants in 2″ pots
  • Selection varies seasonally
  • Low-light level plants – prefect for terrariums
  • Would recommend waiting until average outdoor temperatures are above 38 or below 95

You also might want to check out our miniature plants section where we showcase some of the great plant finds on Amazon.

Save Time & Gas

Who would have thought that Amazon offered everything you will need when making a terrarium. You don’t have to chase hither and yon to assemble everything like I did. Make decisions from the comfort of your home and let someone else do all of the driving.

You also might want to check out our article on Terrarium Starter Kits with Plants. All you’ll need to provide is the container!

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