Tovah Martin, author of The New Terrarium, shares six tips for terrarium care and enjoyment.

  • The secrets to success with a terrarium lie in planting properly and selecting plants adapted to the humid environment inside. Opt for plants that remain small but also dote on high humidity and low light, and you’ve got terrariums covered. Tropicals work great.
  • Requiring only infrequent watering, terrariums fit workspaces ideally. Because they prefer low light (direct sun will scorch the plants within), they are custom-made for situations where most houseplants mope.
  • Engage your inner designer and apply all the rules you use when making an arrangement. Balance the height of plants, mingle textures, and think about color—keeping in mind that your terrarium will be displayed in a shady place. So chartreuse, blue-green, or snappy colors pop. Finding your mojo is half the fun.
  • Leave room for nature. Rather than filling your terrarium chock-full of plants, plan on slots where you can tuck in “finds” from nature hikes.
  • No need to mist a terrarium. If you water correctly, your plants will receive sufficient moisture. Misting doesn’t really wet the soil, it just makes the leaves damp—potentially causing problems.
  • Although a terrarium is low-maintenance, that doesn’t mean you should forget it. Look at your terrarium often and soak up the vibes. With a terrarium, anyone can have a garden.

“Every terrarium you make is a masterpiece; it’s the smallest garden you’re ever going to design. And like a garden—it grows on you.” –Tovah Martin

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