How to make a jar terrarium at home completely free

Terrariums are so much fun and can be carried at no expense following very simple instructions which means almost anyone can do these in under 10 minutes. In this article, you will have step by steps instructions to make your own ecosystem in a jar. Terrariums in a jar require very little maintenance work depending on whether you keep the jar closed off from the outside world or leave it remaining open. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Building a terrarium without a lid may mean the initial plant life you place into the jar will survive. However, the terrarium will continuously require water to prevent the soil from drying. Creating a closed terrarium means that the terrarium can literally be left and forgotten about forever letting the organisms adapted to the ecosystem inside the terrarium thrive. However, at the first sign, that plant life and invertebrates may slowly begin to dwindle. This is a natural process, usually, in the jar, the temperature and environment are unlike their natural environment so organisms once adapted will come back. A closed terrarium requires no other maintenance, every now and then though a little clean or trim if fine to keep it looking clean. However, most tend to just leave the terrarium to be self-sufficient.


Video showing a visual process of how to make a free terrarium associated with this page.

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What jar to use for my terrarium?

Any jar is fine to use dependant on the look or what you have planned to place in the terrarium. In the video, the jar used was a previous coffee jar. Once empty the jar was cleaned and the label was completely pealed off. Regarding the lid, you can use the lid that is already attached to the jar or make your own. Making your own may consist of a bit of fabric placed on top with some string wrapped around to hold the fabric in place. Just ensure that under the fabric is some plastic to stop the water from escaping, a bit of an unused plastic bag will be sufficient. Obviously, if your jar is store-bought then this step can be skipped.

Step 1

Line the bottom of the jar with various stones found in the garden. This allows the moisture to circulate the jar easier whilst also creating good drainage. 

Step 2

At this stage, the soil can be added, it is best not to fill the jar more than halfway, try to keep the jar below half but above a third. This allows enough soil for the vegetation to root and for any other organisms that may like to burrow. Ensure that soil has been collected from nature such as a back garden this way seeds and other organisms will naturally be carried over through this process. Lastly, any earthworms are best to be removed as these jars will be too hot for them, the temperature inside the jar in elevated compare externally.

Step 3

This is where the fun starts, now it is best to collect small plants and different varieties of mosses. Moss is quite resilient so should last and create a good home for the small organisms whilst the addition of plants as well will keep the oxygen and carbon dioxide in balance allowing both the small organisms and the vegetation to be self-sufficient.

Step 4

To add a more natural look at this stage collected twigs, small rocks and dried leaves can be added. Using the surrounding environment from which you collected your soil will provide a more suitable environment for the organisms.

What insects (invertebrates) should I add to my terrarium?

Small organisms like springtails, white-worm, small worms, bean weevils and isopods are the perfect organisms for terrariums as these are usually referred to as the cleanup crew. These will naturally keep the terrarium clean and biodiverse. These species can be found naturally in the soil and some will likely be transferred upon transport. If an article around this subject would be beneficially just comment below your question.

How much water should I add to a terrarium?

Once you have added the final items you are ready to add some water, it is important to be careful here, to much water could lead to all the organisms becoming flooded whereas too much could lead to a mini drought. It is difficult to say how much depending on the size of the jar. The video might help, usually, these terrariums require less than more, just remember the water add to a closed terrarium will be the only water you ever need to add. This way the organisms will only populate dependent on the environmental amenities.

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