Original Easy Water Terrariums

April 28, 2014Allison Murray

The new version of this post, updated on March 12, 2020 is available here.

A water terrarium is a simple and confined little ecosystem that is very pretty to look at and brings some natural grace to your home decor!

I love the idea of having plants in my home. They bring a certain something to a room that I just can’t explain. Perhaps it is because I like the outdoors so much. When I can, I have my windows open so the outside can come sweeping in. I even made some window screens out of lace so that I could have the day’s breeze and still have something pretty to look at from the outside.

And I’ve tried to bring plants into the home again and again. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails miserably. And since I had been working on terrariums and I had seen where this guy hadn’t watered a plant since 1972 because it was growing in a bottle and I was amazed! So I kept my eyes peeled for a similar bottle (glass with a cork lid) and got excited.

Max the plant eater.

Oh, and there is also this guy. Maxamilion von Fuzzybottom a.k.a. the plant shredder. Bring in an ivy or anything really and he makes quick work of tearing those leaves up! And it doesn’t really help the ambience when you have every plant up on a shelf just a few inches from the ceiling.

But back to the post at hand, I couldn’t find a glass bottle nearly that big. In all of the time I looked all I could find was this little guy at the thrift store. It was $1.72 and didn’t even have a color discount or anything and I STILL bought it, and felt a little irritated at myself that I couldn’t wait for a half off sale. Lawdy I’m cheap.

But I felt bad having a plant grow up in such a small environment. And then I thought about a water plant. Yeah, that’s the ticket! A water terrarium! So I headed up to Petsmart with absolutely no idea what I wanted, needed or how to accomplish it. And so I walked right up to a guy who had recently been scooping up fish and told him my idea. Part of me was worried that he’d be “that’s cruel to the plant!” you crazy person. Go away!

Instead he thought the idea was AWESOME! Then he told me exactly what he’d do. And so I did it. And so far, so good!

A water terrarium is a simple and confined little ecosystem that is very pretty to look at and brings some natural grace to your home decor!

For this project you will need:

  • Water plant
  • Bottle with a lid (mine is a cork)
  • Sand
  • Pebbles
  • Small piece of driftwood (which you will see I don’t have, yet)
  • Distilled water

A water terrarium is a simple and confined little ecosystem that is very pretty to look at and brings some natural grace to your home decor!

So super helpful fish dude showed me all of the plants and then explained in very good detail which ones were for water submersion and which ones you could only have the roots submerged in water. I was really hoping for something that the bottom half was in water, but the top half was free in the air.

He suggested any of the “anubias” types of water plants. These are meant for aquariums and not terrariums which means they can be fully submerged. This particular species, however can also be only partially submerged. PLUS it’s a super hardy little fella’ and is apparently very difficult to kill. Perfect!

A water terrarium is a simple and confined little ecosystem that is very pretty to look at and brings some natural grace to your home decor!

Take your jar and layer your and and pebbles. You don’t need a ton, its mostly ornamental anyway. Place your plant inside of the jar and situate your driftwood around the roots. Unfortunately I haven’t found a piece small enough yet to fit into my jar so I’m still looking for it. But fish guy says that it will give the roots purchase and something to hold on to, plus it will be pretty.

A water terrarium is a simple and confined little ecosystem that is very pretty to look at and brings some natural grace to your home decor!

Fill the bottle with distilled water to the level you’re happy with. Again this anubias can be fully or partially submerged. The sand is going to mix up as you pour the water in and it will be cloudy at first, but never fear… it will clear (poet). Place your lid firmly in place and set wherever you want this guy to hang out and decorate your space.

A water terrarium is a simple and confined little ecosystem that is very pretty to look at and brings some natural grace to your home decor!

And that’s really all there is to that. Now I actually put my bottle together about a month ago because I wanted to test and see if this seemed a viable option. Because I didn’t want to share it just so that everybody had $7 water plants dying on them. But so far, so good. In fact, it’s great really. No cats can destroy the leaves and it’s just a really pretty thing sitting on my dresser. I love it!

What do you think? Will you be making your own water terrarium any time soon?


The new version of this post, updated on March 12, 2020 is available here.

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