Moss Terrarium: How To Make One In 5 Easy Steps

A moss terrarium is the easiest terrarium you can make yourself. With a moss terrarium you can bring a piece of nature into your home without spending a lot of time and money. I'll show you how to build a DIY moss terrarium step by step!

All you need for your moss terrarium is a jar, an afternoon of time, and some moss, soil, and rocks from outside in the garden.

Well then, let's get started!

A picture of a moss terrarium in a clear glass jar with moss and other plants and decorations inside. The jar is placed on a wooden table in a bright living room with a window and a sofa in the background. The image was shot with a wide-angle lens to capture the entire scene and give a sense of depth and perspective. The lighting is natural and soft, with warm and earthy colors dominating the palette.
A finished moss terrarium

A moss terrarium is the best beginner terrarium

Moss is a type of plant that has no roots, flowers or seeds. It is super adaptable and can adhere to many different surfaces such as stones, wood or soil.

Especially for beginners a moss terrarium is ideal, because you can do nothing wrong with the placement, watering or lighting. Moss can withstand virtually anything.

Of course, your moss can also be attacked by pests and germs. Most of the time it recovers all by itself. If not, you can simply clean your terrarium and add some more moss.

Strict haircap moss polytrichum strictum
Strict haircap resembles a flower meadow. Source: Kristian Peters on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Which moss is the best for a terrarium?

There are different types of moss that you can use for your terrarium, depending on the effect you want to achieve. The best moss is of course what you personally find the most beautiful!

There are different types of moss that you can use for your terrarium, depending on the effect you want to achieve. The best moss is of course what you personally find the most beautiful!

  • Pin cushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum): Pin cushion moss forms green, silvery pads that look like pillows. It works well for terrariums with a forest or fairy tale theme.
  • Haircap moss (Polytrichum): Haircap Moss has long, hair-like leaves that sit over the stem like a cap. It is well suited for terrariums with a tropical or exotic theme.
  • Fern moss (Thuidium): As the name implies, this moss has fine, fern-like leaves that form a delicate structure. It is wonderful for terrariums with an elegant or minimalist theme.
  • Carpet moss (Hypnum): Again, the name is quite descriptive. This moss has flat, soft leaves that look like a carpet. It works well for terrariums with a rustic or natural theme.
  • Spikemoss (Selaginella): This moss has small, scale-like leaves that look like needles and is well suited for terrariums with a winter or magical theme.

For even more types of moss, check out this article: 11 types of moss for your closed terrarium.

To prepare your moss for your terrarium, you should first clean and sterilize your jar to remove any pests or pathogens.

You can rinse your moss with water, then soak it in a solution of water and vinegar for a few minutes, then let it dry off well.

How to create a moss terrarium in 5 easy steps

Now you are ready to create your own moss terrarium. Follow these simple steps to create a beautiful and healthy terrarium. You can also try some variations and alternatives for each step to customize your terrarium.

1. Choose a suitable container for your moss terrarium.

It can be any clear glass or plastic container that has a lid or can be covered, such as a simple canning jar.

Make sure it is clean and dry before you use it. You can also use an open container if you prefer more air circulation and less humidity, but you will have to water your moss terrarium regularly.

A transparent glass jar with a metal lid on a wooden table in a greenhouse. The jar is empty and closed. The table is surrounded by various plants and flowers in pots.
A canning jar is perfect for your moss terrarium

2. Prepare the base layer for your moss terrarium

This consists of small pebbles or pebbles for drainage, activated carbon for filtration, and peat moss or coconut fiber as a separation layer for the soil above.

Add each layer evenly and gently to the bottom of your container. You can also use sand or perlite instead of pebbles or gravel for drainage.

This layer is important to prevent standing water from forming in your moss terrarium. You can read more about this in the article about the double bottom.

A canning jar with a flat metal lid on a wooden table in a greenhouse. The jar is partially filled to the bottom quarter with gravel. The table is surrounded by various plants and flowers in pots.
A layer of gravel in the canning jar

3. Add the potting soil for your moss terrarium

You can theoretically use any soil you find. Your moss will feel comfortable just about anywhere. Put a good layer of soil over your base layer.

However, do not press the soil too hard so that it can still be well aerated. In addition, your moss can root easier.

Closed Terrarium Container Ideas
Here you can see several layers. Source: Karolina Grabowka at

4. Plant your moss in your terrarium

If you have found a few nice species of moss, you may now place them in your terrarium. Just put it on top of the soil and press it gently down on it.

Everything else your moss will do on its own in the next few days. It will take root and start growing happily while you watch your moss terrarium.

Buying a closed terrarium or building a closed terrarium
Building a closed terrarium yourself can be a lot of fun. Source: Karolina Grabowska on

5. Decorate and seal your moss terrarium

You can add some natural or artificial elements to make your moss terrarium more attractive and personal. For example, you can use stones, shells, twigs, cones, figurines, fairy lights, etc. Be creative and have fun!

When you're done decorating, spray a little water on the moss and put the lid on top. Voilá! Your moss terrarium is ready. It was easy, wasn't it?

FAQ: How do I care for my moss terrarium?

How much water does a moss terrarium need?

Your moss terrarium doesn't need very much water because it forms a closed ecosystem. Normally you never need to water a moss terrarium.

The water should condense on the glass wall in the morning and disappear in the afternoon. If this is not the case, you have either added too much or too little water. You can read more about this in this article:

How much light does a moss terrarium need?

Your moss terrarium does not need a lot of light, but it likes indirect bright light. Do not put your terrarium directly in the sun, otherwise it can get too hot.

A window sill or shelf near a window are good locations.

How often do you need to clean your moss terrarium?

Normally, you never need to clean your moss terrarium unless mold or rot develops. This can happen if you have added too much water or too many plants.

Carefully remove infested parts with tweezers or a spoon. Algae can also be unsightly, but do not need to be removed. They are a sign that your terrarium is alive.

How can you clean your moss terrarium?

If you need to clean your moss terrarium, you can use a mild solution of a little vinegar, tap water and citric acid. Spray the solution on the glass and wipe it with a soft cloth. Avoid touching or damaging the plants too much.

How fast does moss grow?

Moss grows very slowly, on average 0.1mm to 10mm (1/253in to 1/4in) per year. But this also depends on the type of moss and the environmental conditions.

Some mosses can grow faster than others. If you want your moss terrarium to look more lush, you can add more moss or mix different species.

What temperature does a moss terrarium need?

Your moss terrarium is quite tolerant of various temperatures, but it prefers it between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Temperatures that are too high or too low can affect the growth and health of the moss. Do not place your terrarium near heaters or air conditioners.


Moss terrariums are quick to make and easy to maintain, making them the best terrariums for beginners. They are a great way to bring some nature and beauty into your home. Why don't you try it out and see for yourself? Let us know how it goes and share your photos with us on Instagram or

If you want to plant even more plants in your terrarium, read on right here: The Ultimate Guide to Terrarium Plants.

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