Should you buy a closed terrarium or build one yourself?

To buy a closed terrarium or to build one yourself is entirely your choice of course. Both ways have their advantages making them attractive to you. If you're building a closed terrarium yourself, you are making a piece of art and can freely decide on its look. If you're going to buy a closed terrarium, you won't have to think about any details concerning the building process. Details are a good keyword. We're going to take a look at them now.

If you want to know how to build a closed terrarium yourself, read the ultimate guide.

Which advantages does it have to buy a closed terrarium?

Since bottle gardens and closed terrariums have become such beloved decorative items, many manufacturers have decided to sell complete closed terrariums. Those are mostly offered in two variants.

Complete closed terrariums

One of these variants is the complete version. You'll get an already sealed jar filled with plants, stones and other decorative items and of course with the perfect amount of water. These manufacturers have experience since their closed terrariums are made in bulk. You can be almost certain that your closed terrarium will work right away.

In these complete closed terrariums you might even get some exotic plants you wouldn't find at home or in a forest nearby. Succulents or different ferns for example. You can of course find some of these in your local gardening center though.

Often you'll get a piece of advice for keeping the plants in your closed terrarium. There might be information about the best temperature, the daily amount of sunlight and tips for the winter. If you're using plants from your garden to build a closed terrarium yourself, you'll have to figure out all of these things yourself. With complete closed terrariums you'll know exactly which plants are inside. Here are some examples for complete closed terrariums.

Affiliate note: I receive a small commission for some of the products linked in this article, if you buy them through my links. This won't cost you any more than usual! I recommend all of these products based on my honest opinion and not because of the commission I receive. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn through qualified sales. For more information, please read this affiliate note.

I wrote a review about the Ecoworld Jungle Biosphere as well.

Closed terrarium - just add plants

Eine andere Möglichkeit ist die Just add plants Variante. Wie der Name schon sagt, musst du nur Pflanzen hinzufügen. Alles weitere bekommst du im Lieferumfang. Darunter zählen immer ein Gefäß und Substrat, und manchmal auch noch schicke Steine zur Dekoration. Anders als normale Steine in deinem Garten, bekommst du hier zum Beispiel auch Vulkanstein wie Bims. Obwohl der Name ausgibt, dass du nur Pflanzen hinzufügen musst, darfst du natürlich auch das Wasser nicht vergessen. ;) Hier hast du dann aber natürlich auch wieder keine besonderen Pflanzen wie bei der Komplettlösung. Ich persönlich finde, dass sich ein Kauf von Just add plants Varianten nicht lohnt. Du kannst alle Materialien auch viel günstiger selbst zusammensuchen. Hinweise dafür findest du in der ultimativen Anleitung.

If you want to buy a just add plants set regardless, you can find two of those here.

Why should you build a closed terrarium yourself?

Make a closed terrarium
Making a closed terrarium yourself offers endless possibilities for customization. Source:

If you've decided on building a closed terrarium yourself, you're met with many possibilities you wouldn't have with a complete version. You should choose this option for a truly personal closed terrarium design.

A personal design

You have so many possibilities with closed terrariums. From choosing your container, your false bottom to your substrate (including multiple layers). You can build elevations or trenches, place stones however you like and add insects or other animals. I personally really like the design process quite a bit more than just buying and watching a complete closed terrarium.

You might encounter the problem that you can't easily identify the plants from your garden. Some plants are really easy. You'll definitely recognize something like dandelions. But can you name every flower, weed or moss in your garden? Probably not. Me neither.

Generally speaking, you can keep to the conditions where you found the plants at. If the conditions in your terrarium are the same as in your garden, your plants likely won't notice.

A good exercise for students

Making a closed terrarium
Anyone can make a closed terrarium. Source: Karolina Grabowska on

Do you have children or care for them in elementary schools or kindergardens? If so, building a closed terrarium can be an exciting and safe exercise. Closed terrariums are also fun for birthday parties. Building one doesn't take longer than an hour if you have all the materials ready. You can cheaply buy containers, substrate and plants online, already have them at home or find them outside. You can also include the children in looking for nice plants. Take a bucket and shovel with you on stroll into the forest.

By building a closed terrarium, children can learn something about carefully handling plants and animals. They can let their imagination run free and will have a nice piece of art at the end with they can take home. A closed terrarium can look nice over months or even years (basically forever) and are interesting to watch since something's always changing. The children also won't have to worry about regularly watering it since that happens all by itself.

Here's the complete guide again. It's a little extensive for children though. You should read it first and remember the most important points. They are:

  • Thoroughly cleaning your container
  • Filling in a false bottom
  • Filling in a substrate
  • Placing stones and other decorations
  • Planting your plants
  • Carefully watering it
  • Sealing it airtight


Whether you buy a closed terrarium or make one yourself doesn't make that big of a difference in the end. When buying a closed terrarium you won't have to worry about hard questions regarding how to keep the plants and which substrate to choose. But you also loose the freedom to personalize it. If your going to make a closed terrarium yourself you can freely choose all details but will have to research the living conditions of your plants and animals yourself. Building a closed terrarium can be exciting for children's birthday parties and an exciting exercise for students. They can learn how to carefully handle plants and small animals.

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