DIY-ers rejoice! Making your own terrarium might seem daunting, but let me put your mind at ease, it doesn't have to be. I'm here to teach you how to make your very own with 4 ingredients that you may already have in or near your home.
• Container with lid
• Fertilizer-free soil (peat or coco coir)
• Distilled or rainwater
First and foremost you are going to need a container, preferably clear glass or acrylic, with a lid. For the sake of this project I'm using a small fishbowl. Lids can be anything from a glass dessert plate to a repurposed lid from another container.
Next, you'll need a small amount of soil, fertilizer-free, to fill the bottom few inches of your vessel*. I like to use peat moss, or better yet, coco coir which is an eco-friendly peat alternative.
Now you will want to add any large decorations, stones, or landscaping you have on hand. For this project I am using a Doodle Bird Terrariums 4" Waterscape Kit. Note this this step is interchangeable with the next one, so you may choose to do it in either order.
Finally add live moss to the terrarium simply by setting it in place (see footnote below for an explaination of why it doesn't need the rootsystem buried in soil). At this point you may be asking where you are supposed to get the moss to begin with, since its not a plant you normally find at your local garden center. The simple answer? Go out in your backyard! It's likely that moss is already growing right under your nose. However, it can also be purchased online at a reasonable price either on etsy or ebay. My favorite varities to look for are Dicranum 'Broom Moss' and Leucobryum 'Cushion or Pillow Moss'.
Finish your project by generously spraying the moss with distilled or rainwater (keeps moss healthy and happy plus does not cause hard water stains). Wipe down the glass with a soft paper towel, cover with a lid, and you're done! See my easy maintenance tips here.
*Why no drainage layer or special planting instructions? You may be surprised to find out moss has no root system. Instead, it has something called rhizoids which are basically used for anchoring itself to surfaces. Almost all the water and nutrients it needs are absorbed through the leaves, much like a sponge soaking up soapy water when you do the dishes. That means there are no roots to rot, which is why a drainage layer is created in the first place. So unless you will be adding rooted plants, you don't need to use any pebbles in the base of your terrarium...unless you want to for aestetic reasons.