How to make a moss terrarium

A few friends have inquired about my moss terrariums so I thought I’d post this guide.

What you need:

  • Pebbles – available in small quantities at any garden centre, Dollar Store, Home Depot
  • Charcoal – the kind used for orchids; also available at your garden centre or the garden section at Home Depot
  • Soil – I used ordinary potting soil but you can Google “terrarium soil” for other options
  • Moss gathered from your surroundings. Different varieties of moss are also available online. I order mine from They sell Terrarium Moss Kits for $19.95. I like the look and texture of Cushion moss and Rock Cap moss. They come dried so you’ll have to soak them in water for a couple of minutes before using.
  • Small plants
  • Accessories – bark, rocks, shell, miniature decor, etc. I got my miniature rain boots, watering can, bike and squirrel from on Mt. Pleasant Rd. in Toronto.
  • Spray bottle
  • Container – basically any glass container with a lid. I got a couple of nice ones from Home Sense. Loblaws also sells glass cookie jars in their home section for about $12. These glass jars from Heath Ceramics are beauuuutiful! I want a few for Christmas ;)


  1. Cover the bottom of your container with a layer of pebbles, about an inch thick depending on the height of your container. This will help in draining any excess water.
  2. Place a layer of charcoal on top of the pebbles, approximately half an inch thick. OK, time to confess. I’ve read that charcoal filters the air in the terrarium and keeps it from developing a foul smell but I didn’t have any charcoal when I made my terrariums. So far, my terrariums are doing OK. I just got a bag of charcoal this past weekend and will use them for future terrariums. So, if you want to make a terrarium and charcoal isn’t available, I say go ahead and make it! :)
  3. Put some soil on top of the charcoal. Play around with level of the soil. Depending on the terrarium landscape you have in mind, you may leave your soil flat or you can form slopes and mounds. It’s up to you.
  4. Spray the soil with water then lay down the moss. Make sure the moss is in contact with the soil.

After you’ve assembled, watered and covered your terrarium, place it where it gets indirect sunlight. When it’s gray outside, I place mine on the kitchen counter under the fluorescent lights. As the water in the soil condenses it will turn back into moisture and run down the sides of your container, watering the plants. If you notice too much moisture, leave the lid ajar then close it up again after the moisture level is just right. It is normal for your terrarium to get fogged up.

Hope this helps. Don’t forget to share your photos!

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