Basic requirements in small space gardening using terrariums 

Photo by Nielsen Ramon on Unsplash.

By Vina Medenilla

Anyone can practice gardening in any way that’s convenient for them regardless of size, shape, and technique. And if space and resources are scarce, one can still have their own garden through terrarium gardening.

Myrna Frago, owner of Forest Wood Garden, a landscape designer, and an artist, talked about the basic requirements for terrarium gardens during the AgriTalk 2020 Calabarzon leg that was held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute in Calabarzon (DA-ATI Calabarzon), Manila Bulletin, and Agriculture Online. 

Terrarium is a gardening technique that works best even in confined spaces. It is an enclosed miniature forest placed in transparent glass or plastic containers with soil and slow-growing plants. There are sealed terrariums that only demand monthly watering and there are open terrariums also with no removable lids, requiring water every three to six weeks.

Materials you need for a terrarium

Glass or plastic containers, rocks, moss, soil, plants, spoon, and long tweezers are the basic materials you’ll need to make a terrarium. As an alternative to long tweezers, you can use sticks or wire. Plants that, as per Frago, are excellent for terrariums are ferns like maidenhair (Adiantum), birds nest (Asplenium nidus), and button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia), and carnivorous plants like venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), pitcher plant (Nepenthes), and sundew plant (Drosera). Air plants (Tillandsia), succulents like Haworthia, and radiator plants (Peperomia) are other low maintenance plants that are suitable for terrariums.

Proper tender loving care

Tending terrariums allow you to water only when needed, to use artificial light, and to only use a small corner at home. Trimming your plants’ leaves can prevent them from overgrowing. Remove yellow and brown leaves and regularly check your terrariums for any presence of pests, particularly for open terrariums. For terrariums with lids, remove the cap once in a while.

Making a garden in a bottle

Making a closed terrarium is similar to dish gardens and the only difference is their planter. Unlike terrariums, dish gardens are normally open and are not enclosed or have a small opening. 

Begin by filling the bottom of your bottle with pebbles, add charcoal atop, then put your soil mix after. Make a hole in the middle of the soil and carefully insert the plant into the hole. Make sure that the plant you will grow fits into your bottle. Position the plant into the container and cover the roots with soil after. 


Maintaining a terrarium isn’t hard, and as per Frago, others spray water before closing a terrarium using a cork or lid. But for her, she prefers not watering them and lets water vapor form in the bottle to provide moisture to the plants. For open terrariums, watering is only practiced every three to six weeks. 


To watch the actual demonstration, watch the video here.


Making terrarium gardens can be challenging due to its inflexibility, but tending plants in terrariums is a win-win as it does not only make a space vibrant and healthy, but you also get to have a green, fun hobby.

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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