The Key Layers in a Terrarium & Their Functions

Terrariums are self-sustaining (easy to maintain) miniature bottles enclosed in a bottle. In addition to having very low levels of maintenance, they are also great for interior decos. Being DIY friendly, terrariums have also been used often for educational purposes. You might have chanced across a few before on the streets or perhaps even received one as a gift from a friend or kin. But have you ever wondered about the various layers of a terrarium? As well as what functions do the various layers serve? Read on to find out more!

Let us dive deeper into the various layers of a terrarium. A terrarium basically has 4 main layers. They are, in order from the ground up, the gravel, moss, soil and decorative layer.


EcoPonics Closed Terrarium 2 | Ecoponics Singapore | June, 2024

Source: Ecoponics terrarium workshop singapore

Gravel Layer

The gravel layer serves as a water drainage system in your terrarium bottle. It drains away any excess water in your terrarium soil layer. Too much water and there is a risk that the roots of your terrarium plant might rot. Thus this layer is crucial!

dustyrosepeb | Ecoponics Singapore | June, 2024

Source: Gravel (Epic workshops: terrarium workshop singapore)

Moss Layer

This particular layer serves as a barrier between the soil layer (3rd layer) and the gravel layer. In addition it absorbs any excess water from the soil layer.

moss | Ecoponics Singapore | June, 2024

Source: Moss (Epic workshops: terrarium workshop singapore)

Soil Layer

The soil layer serves as the nutrient layer for the plants in your terrarium. The right fertilizer mix must be achieved. And this is dependent on the type of plant you are using in your terrarium.

soil | Ecoponics Singapore | June, 2024

Source: Soil mix (Epic workshops: terrarium workshop singapore)


After establishing a firm foundation ( the first 3 layers), you are free to plant in your plants. But make sure they are firmly rooted to the soil layer. This is crucial as plants will still continue to grow and there is a risk of them toppling if they are not firmly planted initially.

IMG 2713 | Ecoponics Singapore | June, 2024

Source: Terrarium plants, fittonia variety (Epic workshops: terrarium workshop singapore)

Decorative Layer

Though the bulk of the function of the decorative layer is for the purpose of aesthetics, there is actually a secondary function to it. It actually protects any exposed roots of your plant by covering it up from direct sunlight and also acts as another supportive layer for your plants.

tangerine | Ecoponics Singapore | June, 2024

Source: Decorative ingredients (Epic workshops: terrarium workshop singapore)

Interested in designing and making your very own terrarium? We at Ecoponics conduct regular individual and group terrarium workshops for both corporates and schools. Come participate in our terrarium workshop singapore!



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