Wintry Terrarium Ideas: How To Make A Mini Holiday Terrarium

By: , Freelance Garden Writer
A Mini Holiday Terrarium With Christmas Decor And Lights
Image by Olga Malinina

When the holiday season rolls around, and you are looking for unique gift ideas, take inspiration from nature. A winter scene terrarium or Christmas terrarium ornaments with live plants make pleasing, long-lasting gifts, especially if a gardener is on your list. 

A Christmas-themed terrarium can include mini houses, trees, colorful ornaments, deer, and artificial snow. Ideal plants include miniature tropical plants, ferns, and other woodland plants. 

It’s easier than ever to create a mini ecosystem, as a layer of rocks along the bottom are no longer needed or recommended. All you need are a glass container, potting soil and/or sand, and plants!

Here are more Christmas terrarium ideas and how to build them.

DIY Gift for Gardeners – Making A Christmas Terrarium with Live Plants

Creating a Christmas themed terrarium is easy with a few materials:

  • A DIY terrarium gift starts with a glass container. These can be as simple or ornate as you like. The trend today is to use an open glass vessel, but if you create a closed container, be sure to open it once a month to let fresh air inside. For the Christmas terrarium ornaments, look for hanging glass terrarium orbs.
  • Commercial houseplant potting soil and/or decorative sand (such as black) will serve as the base to hold the plants. 
  • Horticultural charcoal is optional for the ornament terrarium.
  • Plants that grow well in a terrarium include arrowhead, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, strawberry begonia, ferns, club moss, peperomia, nerve plants, air plants (don’t need soil), polka dot plants, and other petite, slow-growing plants. You may need to pinch back the faster-growing plants. For a closed aquarium, ferns and miniature orchids are ideal.
  • Decorative rocks, Christmas ornaments, miniature houses, Christmas minis, flameless tealights, artificial snowflakes, etc. 

Wintry Terrarium Ideas: How to Make a Mini Holiday Terrarium

Once your materials are gathered, follow these instructions:

  1. Place enough potting soil in the bottom of the container to cover the rootballs of the plants or about ¼ of the container. Add a layer of decorative sand. 
  2. For a mini terrarium or one just for the holidays, skip the soil and just fill with decorative sand. 
  3. For the hanging ornaments, start with a few spoons of horticultural charcoal, then soil, then a layer of sand. If you aren’t keeping them past the holidays, just use sand. 
  4. Arrange the plants in the terrarium, then carefully plant them in the soil/sand. 
  5. Add decorative rocks, pebbles, Christmas trinkets as desired. If you have a hollow house, a flameless tealight can be added for a nighttime glow. 
  6. Mist plants or water with a few spoonfuls. Do not saturate the whole terrarium. Water when the plants and soil are dry. 

Your DIY terrarium gift is finished and sure to please!

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