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Fairy Garden Terrarium Tutorial

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Fairy Terrarium in Glass Cloche

A miniature fairy garden enclosed under an elegant glass cloche is enchanting and oh so easy to care for.


This beautiful turquoise bowl was a gift from a friend. It moved from place to place in my house, often filled with nothing more interesting than detritus from my pockets, odd keys, and coupons I would never use. When another friend gifted me with a beautiful garden cloche, a blissful union was made. Terrariums don’t need drainage holes! It was meant to be!


Add some washed pebbles. The depth will depend on the depth of your bowl or container. In this bowl(13" wide x 3" deep) I’ve made the pebbles about an inch deep.


Add some horticultural charcoal or activated charcoal, it is said to keep the potting mix smelling sweet. It is recommended that you wear gloves when working with the charcoal and potting mix but… pictures don’t lie, so it is obvious that I did not! Don’t do as I do, do as I say! For this terrarium I added about a 1/4 cup of charcoal and mixed it with the pebbles.


Add a good quality potting mix.  Note: a good quality mix is a light-weight mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite and won't have any actual "soil" in the mix. In this situation, I made a volcano-like mound of potting mix to keep the edges clear for the cloche and still provide room for the roots of the plants.

Add small terrarium plants that like low-level light and high moisture such as ferns and mosses. 

close-up of trimming roots of terrarium plant

It will most likely be necessary to slice off some of the root ball for the plant to be planted at the proper level. It’s ok, just take a sharp serrated knife and do it. It is hurting you more than it is the plant! Continue adding plants appropriate for a terrarium and firm the soil around the plants. I like to add some nice stones for interest. 

Sprinkling water to moisten terrarium

Sprinkle the planting with water. Easy does it. The potting mix should be damp, like a rung-out sponge, not wet and soggy!

close up of fairy in terrarium

It wouldn't be a fairy terrarium without a fairy!  This adorable fairy is no longer available, but you can find a large selection of miniature fairies here.


Place the cloche over the planting. Place the terrarium in nice bright light, but out of direct sunlight. You can tell almost everything you need to know by just looking at the Fairy Terrarium. Moisture will begin condensing on the inside of the terrarium, if no moisture collects after 24 hours, the soil may be too dry. If mold begins to grow on the surface of the soil, it is too wet. Remove the cloche and let it breathe for a few days. If the plants are stretching out and getting leggy, the terrarium needs brighter light. If the plants look scorched, you may have placed the terrarium in direct, harsh sunlight and burned the plants.


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