What Is A Terrarium? Tips & Helpful Guide (2021)

Since the beginning of COVID-19, people worldwide are discovering new hobbies. One hobby that’ll be constantly mentioned in this article is the terrarium ecosystem. What is a terrarium, you ask?

A terrarium is a miniature ecosystem that is sealed in a glass container/jar in most cases. For certain people, keeping tiny animals and having these containers unsealed can sometimes be the preferable way for their tiny ecosystem.

If you have a general idea, feel free to utilize the table of content below to help you navigate to a specific section of the terrarium.

What Is A Terrarium Ecosystem?

what isa terrarium
AnnaliseArt | Pixabay

A terrarium is a tiny ecosystem filled with plants (succulents, etc.) that are stored inside of a sealed glass container. Occasionally, terrarium enthusiasts sometimes use unsealed terrarium to keep tiny living animals inside of their ecosystem. These are called closed and opened terrariums.

Let’s compare the two.

Closed Terrarium

In a closed terrarium, the jar/glass container is normally sealed with plants that are adaptable to the environment and can sometimes go for months to years without the owner having to add water. This is due to the fact that the water cycle inside of the jar. Normally, from time to time – owners of a closed terrarium would spray the closed terrarium with water to maintain it.

Opened Terrarium

In an opened terrarium, the jar/glass container doesn’t require a lid to seal it. For this type of terrarium, owners will have to maintain it more by adding water on a daily/weekly basis. Sometimes, opened terrarium owners will add small living creatures such as tiny lizards or any other animals that can withstand the environment.

Invention Of The Terrarium

The terrarium didn’t exist until nearly 200 years ago when the first terrarium ecosystem was created by a plant enthusiast, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. The creation of the terrarium happened in 1842 and it happened by accident.

During the time, Ward was studying insect behaviors and eventually lost interest. Ward neglected one of the jars, which eventually led to a fern growing inside of the jar. It grew into a plant, which eventually led to what we call it today – the terrarium. During the time, the terrarium was called the Wardian case.

This discovery eventually became a trend during the Victorian Era.

Vivarium Branch

If you didn’t know, a terrarium is a branch off of a vivarium. The vivarium is the general term that describes an enclosure or a place for keeping living things in an environment similar to their natural habitat.

For example, I wrote an article on the types of vivariums. While there are many more, here are the 12 that’s mentioned in the article:

  • Aquarium
  • Oceanarium
  • Paludarium
  • Riparium
  • Terrarium
  • Insectarium
  • Orchidarium
  • Formicarium
  • Penguinarium
  • Dolphinarium
  • Jarrarium

Basic Terrarium Checklist

For potential/future owners of terrariums, here’s a basic list of what you’ll need to get started on your ecosystem.

  • Jar/Glass Container
  • Substrates (soil, dirt, sand, etc.)
  • Adaptable Plants
  • Water Spray

Lifespan Of A Terrarium

According to terrariumtribe.com, a well-researched blog specifically for terrariums stated that the longest known terrarium survived for about 53 years. The life expectancy of a terrarium depends on the type of plants, substrates, and how much maintenance is required for the ecosystem.

Terrarium FAQs

Below you can find frequently asked questions about the terrarium. If you have any additional questions about this subject and it isn’t listed in this section, please comment below and I’ll be happy to add it to this article to help future readers.

What are some reliable terrarium blogs?

As a blogger myself, I discovered terrariumtribe.com and terrariumquest.com to be quite reliable when it comes to this subject. There are numerous information about terrariums and I highly recommend that you check them out.

What is the purpose of terrariums?

There can be numerous purposes when it comes to maintaining a terrarium. Commonly, people used them as a hobby to grow an ecosystem. Terrariums are also used to study plants and how they interact in certain environments.

Is there a terrarium for kids?

While I haven’t discovered a guide created specifically for kids when it comes to terrariums, but you can find terrarium kits specifically designed for children. Just click here.

From VivariumTips,


Hopefully, this article helped you with the terrarium basics. For any additional questions or info, please comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

To order your premade terrarium kit, be sure to check out this link to find your desired terrarium product!

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