Quick to make, this terrarium provides long-lasting, elegant décor for your house. Because it’s planted in a terra cotta pot, you’ll need to grab a cork trivet with a plastic bottom to put under the pot to protect your furniture. It’s easier than ever to find the type of glass cloche that forms the top of the terrarium. Though this container came as a top and bottom set, you can browse through home-goods stores and garden centers and find two pieces that fit together. (Hint: Check the aisle with glassware
for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. Sometimes you’ll find cloches that go over a cheese tray.) You can also mix and match the plants inside the container—no need to stick to the exact plant list here. This project would look equally beautiful with an assortment of ferns under glass.

Note: Even though this project is quick in terms of assembly, it’s still messy, and unless it’s really cold outside, you will probably want to complete it in your garage or backyard instead of at the kitchen table.


This elegant terrarium would make an excellent centerpiece for a dining room table.


Main materials

Clockwise from top left: polished stones, activated filter carbon, preserved reindeer moss, rinsed pea gravel.



Because you can’t see what’s in the bottom of this container, I used pea gravel instead of polished stones. Bagged pea gravel can be dusty, so I rinse it before using it so it isn’t messy. Find polished black stones and preserved reindeer moss at the craft store or in the houseplant section at the garden center. Activated filter carbon or activated charcoal is in the aquarium section of the pet store. You don’t need a large container of it unless you plan to make a lot of terrariums.


The container for this project is a Campo De’ Fiori aged terraria with a terra cotta base and hand- blown glass cloche. You can create the same look without the branded container, just test the cloche to make sure it fits the pot. (It should sit just inside or right on the edge of the pot.)

Potting Soil

Use sterilized potting soil for this terrarium project.



Eugenia myrtifolia ‘Nanum’, Teenie Genie miniature brush cherry



Hypoestes phyllostachya, green-and-white polka dot plant


Ficus pumila var. quercifolia, creeping fig


The glass cloche is perfectly sized to fit over the terra cotta container.

Elegant Cloche Step by Step

Cover the bottom

Cover the bottom of the container with pea gravel to a depth of 1 /2 inch.


Top the pea gravel

Top the pea gravel with activated filter carbon. This layer should only be 1 /8 inch thick.


Add potting soil

Add potting soil, leaving 1 inch between the top of the soil and the top of the container.


Plant the plants

Plant the plants, starting with the largest plant first. Fill in with soil around the plants, leaving at least a 1 /4 to 1 /2 inch of space between the top of the soil and the top of the container.


Add decorative moss

Add decorative moss around the plants, if you want to dress it up a bit.


Care and Maintenance

This terrarium requires more frequent watering than a fully enclosed terrarium in a glass or glass-and-plastic container. That’s because the terra cotta pot is porous and water will evaporate from it. You will still need to water it less than a normal potted houseplant. Check the soil every couple of weeks by sticking your finger in it. The soil should remain evenly moist. If it is dry, water the terrarium.

Water the plants

Water this terrarium as you’d water a normal houseplant—until the top inch of soil is damp like a wrung-out sponge. The terra cotta pot will permit more evaporation than an enclosed glass container, so you don’t have to be as worried about overwatering.


Mulch with decorative stones.


Place the glass cloche

Place the glass cloche on top of the container. Set the container in an area of the house with bright, indirect light.