Make a garden in a jar

Don't let the weather stop you gardening – make this terrarium instead.

Make a garden in a jar

Making this terrarium – a garden in a jar – is the perfect anitdote to all that Christmas consumption of recent days.

It's nice to have an activity in hand once the presents have been unwrapped and the batteries have run out on the children's new toys. Plus, it just feels wonderful to get amongst nature and plants after all that slumping in front of the television, one hand in the Quality Street tin. I also like the idea of creating something at the end of one year, and watching it grow and develop into the new year. 

This is an easy craft, but it does mean a trip to your garden centre – where most things should still be at post-Christmas sale prices.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A selection of small plants: I picked succulents and ivy, but be warned that the selection may be limited. You can also use a cactus or two but beware of the prickles. How many you use depends on the size of jar you use but you want plants that won't grow too big (I'll have to trim the ivy I expect)
  • Horticultural grit – you won't need much of this, I bought two small tubs for £1.75 each
  • Compost and charcoal (any left overs from the barbecue will be fine)
  • A jar. You could use one you have at home, it has to be quite large though. I bought a biscuit jar which can sit at an angle for £1.75 from Tesco
  • Chopsticks or a teaspoon to use as digging tools


If you are re-using a jar make sure it is clean then layer the grit and the charcoal on the bottom (the former aids drainage and the latter keeps it all fresh).

Place a small layer of compost on top; remember the layers will be seen so try not to mix them up. You can also add interest by making small hills or dips.

Make holes for the plants in the soil using either your chopsticks, teaspoon. Children's hands are usually small enough too. Place your plants inside, bearing in mind that taller ones will need to go at the back, and firm the soil down around them. 

One plants are in place, mist them a couple of times with water. If you leave the lid on, the terranium should be self-sufficient. If you're using cacti though remember they prefer dry conditions. Don't over water your terrarium and keep it out of direct sunlight.

We made ours with the ivy trailing out which means the lid can't really fit on but that's fine, we'll just have to keep an eye on watering it. A visiting Lego Star Wars figure completed the scene.

For more inspiration on what containers to use, take a look at these terrariums in heavy lidded jars. If you need more information, read up on suitable terrarium plants and more ideas for indoor gardening.

Photo: Debbie Webber


  • Linda


    Linda Jones, Editor

    05 January, 2011

    Such a lovely post! But who's the funny green fella in the middle? :)

  • Cathy


    Cathy James

    05 January, 2011

    I love this too - I think we'll give it a try. I know some little dinosaurs who'd like a winter home.

  • Deb


    Debbie Webber

    06 January, 2011

    The funny green fella is a Star Wars soldier (I think). Santa was visiting too but we all know he's now on his hols...

    I'm loving ours Cathy, think I may make another with different plants in the spring.

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    Ready for Ten admin

    30 December, 2011

    What a gorgeous idea Debbie, I know my kids are itching for something crafty to get stuck into, and they all love gardening, so this is the perfect activity for them.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ready for Ten Team

  • Small_blank

    27 March, 2012

    hi i just signed in today lots to read and learn great for parents and kids

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