My antique milk jug terrarium

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Here is my new (and my only so far) terrarium made out of a friend's antique glass milk jug. I didn't alter the jug in any way. I put a Pilea 'Aluminum' and a Polka-Dot Plant 'Splash' in it so far, I'm gonna put rocks and some other little plants in it eventually. Does anybody have any advice or anything on my terrarium? I'm a noob, so do tell if I've done anything wrong with it, I can take constructive criticism fine.

I've put the lid on it, no cats can get in it. That one was investigating but she lost interest after I put the lid on. I think I may need to make some kind of wire mesh top or something so everything can breathe and it doesn't get all foggy on the glass from watering.

Thumbnail by shortleaf
Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Looks good so far. I don't know if you added any charcoal, but that's always a good idea to keep wet or damp soil smelling "sweet".

That's a large milk jug ... what is the size?

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks Cville. Charcoal, I'll see if I can get some. I asked my friend (who is also my roommate), the size and she doesn't know, I would guess 3 or 4 gallons. Everybody that's seen it has liked it.
I'm thinking about adding a 'Chocolate Chip' Ajuga to it that I have extra. I'd like to get a little Fern for it too.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

I should have said horticultural charcoal in case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the product.

I love the CC ajuga. I just bought a lovely ajuga with variegated foliage. Well, I can't remember the name at the moment but seems like it might be 'Sparkler' or something like that. Very pretty.

And, yes, ferns add a lot to terrariums, IMHO, They're naturals for it.

Looking forward to seeing more photos as you progress. :)

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

I saw some horticultural charcoal for sale at I bet it starts smelling pretty bad when I open the lid. I went to glasshouseworks to look at plants, and their names so I can try to find them much cheaper. I didn't expect to see so many Pileas there. I didn't see 'Aluminum' but I saw several others. It's funny that the cheap Pilea I got from Walmart (Aluminum) is a recommended species of plant for terrariums, it says it only gets maximum 12" tall. There seem to be many inexpensive plants for sale at Box stores for beginners at terrariums, like me.
I'll look for that Ajuga, I like variegated stuff too. I'm thinking I might redo this one as I forgot to put rocks in the bottom. I don't really expect their roots to be sitting in water, I don't water to excess.
I have one 'Chocolate Chip' Ajuga left, I planted 3 yesterday in the front yard and didn't think I had room for the fourth one so I have it extra.
Thanks Cville

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Yes, a layer of gravel with some charcoal mixed in on the bottom is highly recommended. You can even cover that with a layer of Spanish moss and then add the soil. Pretty layering when viewed from the side.

You are off to a great start. I'm looking forward to seeing more. ^_^

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks Cville. I'm probably gonna redo it soon, I've watered it once already, I'd like most of that water to dry up before I get everything out.

suburban K.C., MO(Zone 6a)

I got it redone, not without breaking 2 big stems off the Pilea though, (it wasn't coming back out very easy). That's alright I suppose, I need to keep it trimmed anyway I think. It's kinda hard to see in the photo but there is now about 3 inches of clear glass irregular shaped "marbles" at the bottom. When I took the lid off it didn't smell too noticeably bad so I'm gonna try to hold off on charcoal for a while. Now, I want to find another jar or something and put something else in it! Maybe I'll do those little succulents you see in the stores!

Thumbnail by shortleaf
Tyler, TX(Zone 8b)

I have used activated charcoal (fish dept. at walmart, etc) in my terarriums as well as when forcing bulbs in vases... it seems to work just as well. ;)

Bonita Springs, FL

I have also used activated charcoal over the bottom layer of gravel and then covered it with a layer of sphagnum moss to keep the potting soil on top from sifting through to the bottom. In addition to the plants you mentioned I use decorative moss which is sold by the bag at Michael's Crafts and comes in a variety of colors and textures.

Woodland Hills, CA

I did exactly what @239elaine did by adding a layer of sphagnum moss between the charcoal/lava rock drainage mix and the potting soil. Helps to keep all the media in its place.
If you don't mind my sharing, here's a link to a video I made for terrarium beginners:

"How to Make Your First Terrarium: The Basics"


Thumbnail by edenmaker

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