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Ultimate Guide to Building a Closed Terrarium Singapore [2024]

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Closed Terrarium Singapore

Best Closed Terrarium Singapore
Best Closed Terrarium Singapore

Closed terrariums are miniature, self-sustaining ecological systems, boxed into a glass container.

A truly closed terrarium is a charming diorama of nature, an often-isolated, quiet space to house where plants grow, a nurturing, green escape.

The benefits of creating and owning a closed terrarium in a city like Singapore are manifold: from the beauty they bring into your life to the small astronaut ecologists they make out of its keeper.

In this guide, you will learn how a closed terrarium works, and be shown, step-by-step, how to create your own or you can try a terrarium workshops.

What is a Closed Terrarium?

A closed terrarium is essentially a glass vessel that houses plants and soil, creating a humid environment conducive to plant growth. Unlike open terrariums, closed terrariums recycle moisture through condensation and evaporation, making them self-sustaining. They are perfect for plants that thrive in high humidity, such as mosses, ferns, and tropical species.

How Do Closed Terrariums Work?

Closed terrariums operate as miniature greenhouses. The sealed environment traps moisture, which plants release through transpiration. This moisture condenses on the walls of the container and returns to the soil, maintaining a consistent level of humidity. Light enters the terrarium, driving photosynthesis and ensuring a steady supply of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Choosing the Right Plants

Selecting appropriate plants is crucial for a thriving closed terrarium. Ideal choices include:

  • Mosses: These provide lush ground cover and retain moisture well, contributing to the terrarium’s humidity.
  • Ferns: These add height and delicate fronds to the terrarium, creating a layered, natural look.
  • Tropical Plants: Fittonia, Peperomia, and Pilea are excellent options, as they thrive in the humid, warm conditions of a closed terrarium.

Ensure the plants have similar light and humidity needs to thrive together.

Materials Needed

To build your closed terrarium, gather the following:

  • Glass Container: A jar with a lid, fishbowl, or terrarium-specific container. Ensure it is clean to prevent mold growth.
  • Soil: A well-draining potting mix is essential to support plant roots and prevent waterlogging.
  • Activated Charcoal: Helps filter air and water, keeping the terrarium fresh and free of odors.
  • Pebbles or Gravel: These create a drainage layer at the bottom of the container, preventing root rot.
  • Decorative Items: Small figurines, rocks, or driftwood add aesthetic appeal and personal touches to your terrarium.

These materials are readily available at garden centers, craft stores, or online.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Closed Terrarium


  • Clean your glass container thoroughly to prevent mold and ensure a healthy environment for your plants.
  • Add a layer of pebbles or gravel at the bottom for drainage, ensuring that excess water can drain away from plant roots.
  • Sprinkle activated charcoal over the pebbles to keep the environment fresh and reduce odors.
  • Top with a layer of potting soil deep enough to accommodate plant roots, providing a foundation for your plants to grow.


  • Create small holes in the soil for the plants, making sure each plant has enough space to grow.
  • Place larger plants first, then fill gaps with smaller ones to create a balanced, natural look.
  • Press soil firmly around the roots to stabilize the plants and ensure they have good contact with the soil.

Finishing Touches

  • Lightly water the plants to help them settle and establish in their new environment.
  • Seal the container with the lid to create a closed environment, which will help maintain humidity and support plant growth.
  • Place the terrarium in a spot with indirect light to prevent overheating and provide the right amount of light for plant health.

Maintenance and Care

While closed terrariums are low-maintenance, they require some care:

  1. Moisture: Monitor soil moisture. If condensation is absent, add a small amount of water to maintain humidity.
  2. Light: Ensure indirect light to avoid overheating. Too much direct sunlight can stress plants, while too little can hinder growth.
  3. Pruning: Trim dead leaves and overgrown plants to maintain balance and prevent overcrowding, ensuring each plant has enough space to thrive.
  4. Cleaning: Wipe the glass if algae or mold appear to keep the terrarium looking clean and healthy.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overwatering: Leads to mold and root rot. Always check soil moisture before adding water.
  • Inappropriate Plants: Ensure all plants have similar humidity and light requirements to prevent any plant from struggling in the terrarium.
  • Excessive Light: Direct sunlight can overheat the terrarium, causing plant stress. Place it in a spot with indirect light to avoid this issue.

Closed Terrarium Singapore

Creating a closed terrarium in Singapore is a rewarding and educational experience. With the right plants, materials, and care, you can enjoy a beautiful, self-sustaining garden that brings a touch of nature into your home. Happy terrarium building!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you have any questions about closed terrariums in Singapore, you can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the Best Closed Terrariums in Singapore below:

How often should I water my closed terrarium?

Closed terrariums rarely need watering. Check moisture levels by observing the condensation inside. If condensation is absent and the soil feels dry, add a small amount of water.

What if my terrarium gets moldy?

Remove moldy plants and reduce watering to address mold issues. Ensure the container is clean and receiving proper light to prevent mold growth in the future.

Can I use any type of soil?

Use a well-draining potting mix suited for the plants you are using. This helps prevent waterlogging and supports healthy root growth.

Where should I place my closed terrarium?

Place it in an area with indirect light to avoid overheating. This ensures the plants receive enough light without the risk of direct sunlight causing stress or damage.

How does a closed terrarium work?

A closed terrarium operates as a mini-greenhouse inside a glass jar. The water cycle within the terrarium involves plants releasing water vapour, which condenses on the glass and returns to the soil, maintaining the moisture level.

What care instructions should I follow for a closed terrarium?

Closed terrariums require minimal care. Monitor the moisture level, ensure indirect light exposure, and prune overgrown plants. Occasionally, wipe the glass to prevent mold. These terrariums require less attention than an open terrarium.

Are there any terrarium workshops available in Singapore?

Yes, various terrarium workshops in Singapore offer DIY kit and guided sessions for creating both open and closed terrariums, providing hands-on experience and care instructions.