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.

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 the 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.

The jar measures 9.6 x 9.6 x 14.4 inches. It does weigh 10 pounds, empty. So, if you have trouble lifting or have limited space, you might want to opt for one of the other Anchor Hocking lidded jars that are a bit smaller; Amazon has several to choose from.

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 a another use for the charcoal, buying a smaller amount might make sense.

Additionally, Marineland PA0371 Black Diamond Activated Carbon
comes in 5, 10, 22 and 40 ounce size packages.

When I wrote this post, the 10 ounce container was less than 20 cents more than the 5 ounce and several dollars less than what I paid for 11 ounces.


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.

These stones from Amazon would be near the top of my list – 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.

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.

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.

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