Terrarium FAQ's

Terrarium FAQ's

Terrariums: Frequently Asked Questions

For nearly 30 years, H Potter has been designing and selling terrariums in the U.S.. With years of experience, we have heard (and experienced) almost every question or common difficulty that the home gardener could possibly have about these little glass eco-systems. With that in mind, we hope to provide some answers to questions that you might have had or that we have solved over our time in the business through a couple of posts to our blog here.

How Often Should I Water My Terrarium?

Terrariums act as their own closed ecosystem, recreating the water cycle within the glass enclosure to make taking care of terrariums one of the easiest forms of gardening. However, while you don’t have to water your terrariums every day (or even every week) making sure your plants have enough water to prevent them, and the terrarium environment itself from drying out are critical to the health of the terrarium garden. Most gardeners will suggest that you water your terrarium plants approximately once a month, but if it looks like there is a lack of water in the system, easily check the health of the terrarium, testing the soil itself. If moisture exists an inch or two beneath the surface, the terrarium has ample water, dry soil within the first inch or so is likely a sign that your terrarium is underwatered.

water your terrarium plants approximately once a month

What Kind of Plants Should I Put In My Terrarium?

Typically gardeners will choose to fill their terrariums with smaller plants. This decision is often a result of the size of the terrarium itself, most of which don’t have the space to grow larger plants and flowers, however, most of these smaller plants are also better suited to the environment of a terrarium. When you are deciding what plants should go in your terrarium, make sure these plants are able to thrive in the humidity of your terrarium. Examples of plants that might go well in your terrarium include:






Air plants


Give these plants, another terrarium class, or a personal favorite a chance to shine as the centerpiece of your wardian case.

How Do I Take Care of My Terrarium?

Taking care of your terrarium involves just a few more steps than watering once or twice a month. Proper care of the ecosystem and the plants will create a space that allows plants to thrive rather than survive in your terrarium.

First of all make sure to regularly prune your plants when they start looking a little too large to your terrarium. As different plants become too big for the terrarium, their health and the health of the terrarium system will start to decline. Also keep an eye out for any discolored leaves that might be signs of an unhealthy growth, and always keep the terrarium space free from mold. If the terrarium is fully enclosed, make sure to occasionally let it breathe, to bring in new Oxygen. Conversely, if the terrarium is open, monitor the space for bugs and other pests that could be harmful to your plants.

How Often Should My Terrarium Breathe?

Enclosed terrariums are incredibly efficient gardening tools, in that they not only recycle water, but also oxygen. However, it is healthiest to occasionally refresh the oxygen in your terrarium to prevent stagnation in the system, and promote growth for your plants. For the best health, we recommend opening your terrarium at least once every 2 to 3 weeks and allowing the terrarium to breathe and refresh the oxygen in the system for several hours. Once you have given your terrarium a breath of fresh air, feel free to seal the terrarium again for a few more weeks.

Open your terrarium at least once every 2 to 3 weeks

Why Does My Terrarium Smell?

Yikes! Although funny smells don’t spell disaster for your plants, a terrarium definitely should not smell bad. Smells are likely due to some sort of rot, mold, or stagnant water, present in your terrarium. So if your terrarium starts to smell funny, it might be time to refresh the soil, clean out the terrarium itself and replant to renew the system.

Hopefully this short post has been able to answer some of your questions, be on the lookout for more answers in the coming weeks, or check our blog for more articles on terrariums. And if you are just looking to get started with terrariums, check out our terrarium page here. Happy Gardening!

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