Closed terrarium - The perfect decoration for people without much time

Closed terrarium, ever heard of it? Plants offer some green for any room in your house. Most people would never want to miss out on their beloved plants. But if you're anything like me, you'll soon forget watering them and will have to watch your green friends wilt away. Cacti are a good remedy that don't need a lot of water. But you're pretty limited with design choices here. You'll also have to watch out for your cat, if you have one. No one wants to find their cat ontop of a cactus.

Closed terrariums are the better choice here by far. Closed terrariums offer more diversity (they can also have cacti) and are completely safe for your pets. But what are they?

Closed terrariums - independent ecosystems

The name closed terrarium tells us quite a lot already. The definition is a closed container filled with plants and insects which you only need to care for once (when building it). Maybe you already know them as bottle gardens. They just grow by themselves day after day. You can just lay back and look at them. In the beginning you'll see day by day progress.

Closed terrariums offer different ways of making them. I myself enjoy collecting plants from my garden or the nearby forest and creating small, decorative sceneries with them. These landscapes will overgrow over time. You'll see plants rising, decaying and new plants forming again. Some species will thrive in your closed terrarium while others may even die out.

Another possibility is just filling your closed terrarium up with soil and waiting for something to grow from it. Fresh potting soil isn't really good for that. Although it's full of nutrients, there are no seed inside. People usually don't want weeds growing between their flowers. Soil from your garden or a forest however, offers a large selection of different species. The famous quote "My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." fits quite well here.

Why I built my first closed terrarium

I originally got the idea to built a closed terrarium in 2016 through the YouTuber SlivkiShow. You can watch the video here (although I originally watched the German version). SlivkiShow also coined the term ewiges Terrarium (German for eternal terrarium). It took quite a while until I built my own closed terrarium.

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I built my first closed terrarium inside a candy jar in December 2020. The jar had been sitting inside our living room for quite a while and I couldn't stand looking at it any longer. I went through the neighborhood to collect some small stones and ground up some charcoal from the summer. What exactly the charcoal was for is covered in this article. I put in some moss, a wild strawberry plant, an acorn and a few largers stones from my garden into the jar as best as I could. I then added a bit of water and the terrarium has been thriving ever since. If you don't count charcoal and the jar (since I already had those), it basically cost me nothing.

Closed terrarium in a candy jar

Well, it wasn't that easy. I had to open it up a couple of times to make sure everything's alright and to fix some stuff. One problem was the the right amount of water. I'll sum up everything I've learned so far in this blog so you don't make the same mistakes as I did. I'll of course also try to answer your questions as best as I can.

If you're still a beginner, you could start by reading how closed terrariums work.

Why don't you build a closed terrarium yourself?

Everyone's home looks different and green might not always be the most fitting color. But you can make closed terrariums in many other colors! Earth's different climate zones offer many different colors, one of which will definitely fit nicely into your home!

Three terrariums
Three closed terrariums in jars

The usual closed terrarium is mostly made up of the plants' green and the substrates brown shades. That alone looks quite nice and will fit into most homes. You can see some examples right here. If you'd like to use something lighter, you can consider white sand as a substrate. Sand is also available in other colors such as gray, black or red as you can see down below. Sand by itself doesn't make a good substrate. What exactly is needed to mix a good substrate ist covered in this article.

Your own fantasy is the limit when building your own closed terrarium! If you want to make something truly exceptional, you could build a closed terrarium with carnivorous plants.

When you're finished building your closed terrarium you can chose a place for it like any other decorative item as long as it gets a few hours of sunlight everyday. My closed terrariums are on my desk right next to my windows. If you're really crafty, you can also incorporate a closed terrarium inside a piece of furniture like the YouTuber SerpaDesign. If I was successful in inspiring you, you've reached the right place to continue! If you want to keep going right away, I recommend reading the ultimate guide.


A closed terrarium thrives all by itself and is easy to make at home. It doesn't need any care after initially building it. It will sprout new life for years to come. You'll continue to see new plants and insects living out their daily lives. There are many options for customization here. Choosing your cintainer, substrate, plants and insects is only limited by your imagination.

Do you already have one?

Falls du bereits selbst ein ewiges Terrarium hast, schick dir doch gern ein Bild an oder bei Instagram an! Schöne Bilder teile ich gerne mit deinem Profilnamen mit der Welt. 🙂

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