6 steps to make an open terrarium

1. Pick an open container

First comes the selection of your container. There are a few things to consider, mainly the size & shape. Think about the plants you plan on using. For a closed terrarium it is important that the terrarium is completely closed, this way no moisture can escape. For an open terrarium, obviously it should have an opening. 

2. Making a false bottom

To make sure the roots of your plants won’t be sitting in the water we will start out by creating a false bottom (drainage layer) with the clay balls. We do this so the roots will never sit in water, as this will kill any succulents and cacti. The water can leak through to the drainage layer and slowly evaporate without drowning your plants. 

3. Create a filter layer

Next comes a layer of sphagnum moss, this acts as a barrier for the substrate. It will prevent the soil from falling into the drainage layer. Make sure to spread it evenly. After that we will add the activated carbon, this acts as a natural filtration system. The carbon absorbs any chemicals, mold and other nasty stuff.

4. The substrate layer

Now we will add the substrate mix. We recommend to add more soil to the back to make it higher, this creates a sense of depth and will make the terrarium look larger when viewed from the front.

You can buy the materials here.

5. Planting your terrarium

Now the real magic happens! It is time to put in decorations. You can use cacti, succulents, sand, rocks or anything you think will look good. Let your creativity run wild! These plants are all suited for open terrariums.

6. Caring for your terrarium

Caring for an open terrarium can be a little tricky. The biggest issue is watering too much, and risking root rot. Succulents and cacti prefer lower humidity. We  recommend watering a little bit around the base of the plants, so only the roots get wet. Water once every 1-2 weeks in spring and summer, and once every 3-4 weeks in fall and winter. Put your terrarium in the brightest spot in your house, this will ensure that when you water it evaporates as quickly as possible. That’s it!


Once you are done, share your creation with us! We love to see what you made. Tag us on Instagram @Sybotanica and we will repost it in our story. If you have any questions about terrariums or plants reach out to us at info@sybotanica.com

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