Book review: Terrarium Craft.

Terrarium Craft:  Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant (2011, Timber Press, Portland)

Terrariums have experienced a resurgence in popularity during the past couple of years, and for great reason:  easy and fun to make, a terrarium can be created in a few short minutes and are beautiful accessories to any home decor.  These are also great projects for children!  In Terrarium Craft, you’ll find fifty step-by-step “recipes” for making pretty and fanciful terrariums using succulents and air plants, as well as some examples that substitute dried plants or other natural objects such as shells, wood, and rocks.

Terrarium-making requires surprisingly few supplies – a glass container is a must, but as the authors point out, the sky is the limit as to what size and shape you choose.  Most of the terrariums in this book are open, as excessive humidity brought on by a sealed container will cause the live plants inside to rot.   Soil, sand and gravel make up the “foundation” of the terrarium and are discussed at length, including the roles each plays in keeping plants alive in their new home.   Decorative elements such as shells, seedpods, and glass are mentioned as well.  A key chapter covers types of plants suitable for terrariums (air plants, succulents, carnivorous plants, mosses and lichens) and details their care – including all of the necessary cultural maintenance including light requirements, feeding, air circulation, and watering.

And then there are the projects themselves!  Sumptuously photographed, they include an exotic Asian-inspired creation in a cloche, a delicate arrangement of moss in a hanging glass teardrop, a concoction of deer antlers and sea urchins (I’m not kidding!) in an old-fashioned candy jar, a tiny Haworthia succulent nestled in the curve of a nautilus shell in a round crystal vase, and a mind-bending combo of rock plants and rose-like selenite in a bubble bowl.  The imaginative and whimsy of some of these terrariums is astonishing, and they are fantastic inspiration for your own project.

Have you ever made a terrarium?  What materials and plants did you use?

I’m taking part in October’s Garden Book Reviews!  Click on over to Roses and Other Gardening Joys to check out the wonderful reviews by all the participating bloggers!


  1. Very nice review , this is a book I will have to pick up a copy of. I have always enjoyed terrariums, but have never had a lot of success with one. This books sounds like just the thing to help me.
    Thank you

  2. I have often thought of making a terrarium, but I have not yet. However, I think this would be a fun book to get one started, obviously with a lot of different ideas and inspiration! Moss and deer antlers – I’m getting inspired already! Thanks so much for joining in!

    • Thanks tons for hosting the monthly gardening book reviews! 🙂 I would definitely recommend this book as a starting point for terrarium making, there are so many interesting ideas!

  3. A very interesting way to have flowers and decor inside during the winter that you wouldn’t normally be able to nurture because of their gentility and uniqueness. I have seen them before but never have done one myself as of yet. This is quite a good way to find out what would work inside in the winter and what would perhaps be kept for the great outdoors! Well done, again!

    • Thanks, Kathy! This might be a good craft project for you and the kids – they might get a kick out of creating their own miniature world. The plants are really low-maintenance and they might be keen on that, too. Have a great week! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! I really like this book because it gives you all of the basic knowledge you need to start a terrarium, presented in a fun, accessible way. And I think terrariums are perfect projects for children. Kids can really use their imaginations and be creative, plus it gets them involved with growing plants. A fantastic combination! Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. Taking care of a pet is something I am saving for later years. Now I believe I will add a terrarium to my list. My parents were enthusiast about horticulture but it did not seem to rub off on me at all. All my plants live in the mountains and God takes care of them for me. I just visit and admire. One of the fascinating aspects of my hands-off horticultural experience is the appreciation for the tenacity and differential of plants as influenced by temparate zone, elevation and longitude. I have seen plants in places where it seems impossible anything could survive. Somehow it has always intuitively commanded my respect. Thanks for sharing this post. It has piqued my interest and given me another entry on the bucket list.

    I have also figured out why my request for a subscription to your excellent blog does not work and a very capable tech will correct this in the near term.

    • I do hope you get a chance to create a terrarium – I think you would enjoy it! You can draw inspiration from all of the places you’ve been!

      The more hiking I do, the more ogling at plants I do! It’s a wonder I actually arrive at my destination! 🙂 I agree, it’s so exciting to see plants growing where you think they couldn’t possibly. The natural world is truly marvellous.

      Thanks so much once again for commenting. Have a fantastic week! I look forward to reading your next blog post!

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