Can You Grow Herbs Inside a Terrarium?

Terrariums offer a fun and attractive way to add greenery to your home. Thanks to their enclosed design, terrariums create a miniature environment that is ideal for growing many types of plants. But, can you grow herbs inside a terrarium?

You can grow herbs like basil, thyme, and dill inside a terrarium. The miniature environment provides the perfect amount of humidity and sunlight for herbs to thrive. Place the herbs in a small container with the proper soil mixture and enjoy an abundance of fresh, flavorful herbs all year.

Read on as I outline everything you need to know about growing herbs inside a terrarium, from the benefits of terrarium gardening, how to grow herbs inside a terrarium, and providing proper care for your terrarium garden.

Best Herbs To Grow in a Terrarium

Herbs pack a powerful punch of flavor and aroma, making them an excellent addition to any dish. They also offer many health benefits and can be used to make natural remedies for various ailments. 

Thanks to their compact size and easy-to-grow nature, herbs are the perfect plants to grow inside a terrarium. 

Below are some of the best herbs to grow inside a terrarium:

  • Basil: This is one of the herbs with outstanding culinary contributions. It has a flavorful, distinctive taste that pairs well with salads, pasta dishes, and soups. Basil thrives in warm weather and lots of sunlight, making it an ideal plant to grow inside a terrarium.
  • Dill: Characterized by super thin and fine leaves, dill is a popular herb in European dishes. It has an incredible aroma and goes well with fish, potato salads, and poultry. 
  • Mint: Being an extremely hardy plant, mint is easy to grow. This refreshing herb has a light, minty, warm flavor that adds a sweet aroma to many dishes. 
  • Thyme: It is a strong-scented herb commonly used in French and Mediterranean cuisines. It’s typically paired with other herbs like garlic, rosemary, and oregano to increase the complexity of flavor in dishes.
  • Chamomile: Associated with a wealth of health benefits, including improved heart health, sleep quality, and digestion, chamomile is a popular herbal tea. This lovely herb has a sweet, apple-like flavor that is perfect for making relaxing teas. Its compact size makes it an ideal plant to grow inside a terrarium.

Other excellent herbs to grow inside a terrarium include:

  • Oregano
  • Summer savory
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lavender

Things To Consider When Growing Herbs in a Terrarium

Although many herbs share similar growth requirements, some of them may have unique needs and traits that must be considered to establish a successful herb terrarium. Here are some important things to consider:

The Size of the Herb

Be careful when choosing the herb variety to match the size of your terrarium. They can quickly grow up to a few feet and might outgrow your terrarium in no time. 

In addition, some herbs may have deep roots that may not be suitable for the shallow setup of the terrarium. You can pinch off a few leaves regularly to prevent the roots from growing too deep. Remember, fewer leaves don’t require thicker or longer roots.

The Moisture Requirement of the Herb

Herbs like thyme and oregano are drought-tolerant and prefer well-draining soil with good aeration. In that case, you don’t need to put a lid on your terrarium. Otherwise, the closed environment will keep the soil moist longer than your herbs would like.

However, other herbs like basil prefer evenly moist soil. Covering the container with a lid will allow the water to condense and slide back into the soil for the roots to absorb. Remember to leave the container open for around six hours after watering to promote air circulation and allow the excess water to evaporate in case of overwatering.

You can also remove the lid after sunset when the temperature becomes moderate and the humidity in your room goes above 50%.

Benefits of Growing Herbs in a Terrarium

Here is a low-down of the benefits you can experience by growing herbs inside a terrarium:

Terrariums Offer a Unique, Controlled Environment

The enclosed design of a terrarium creates a controlled environment for plants. This is beneficial for herbs because it provides the perfect amount of humidity and sunlight they need to thrive. And, because a terrarium is enclosed, it helps to protect delicate herbs from pests and diseases.

Terrariums Provide a Compact Growing Space

A terrarium is ideal if you don’t have much gardening space. A small terrarium can fit on a windowsill, tabletop, or any other small room in your home. And, because herbs don’t require a lot of space to grow, you can easily fit a few different kinds inside a terrarium.

It’s Easy and Convenient To Grow Herbs in a Terrarium

Terrariums are incredibly low-maintenance, making them a convenient option for busy gardeners or those with limited time. Since the miniature environment of a terrarium is self-sustaining, you won’t need to water your plants as often. 

However, you will need to check on your terrarium every few weeks to ensure that the plants are healthy and receiving the care they need.

Terrariums Are Aesthetically Appealing

Besides being easy to care for, terrariums are also very aesthetically pleasing. They are incredibly beautiful and make a great addition to any home décor. You can create a centerpiece for your coffee table or dress up a boring bookshelf with a terrarium.

In addition to terrariums, clay pots are a popular choice when it comes to growing plants. But what about herbs? Can you grow herbs in clay pots? Find out the answer in my complete guide on the topic: Is It Safe to Grow Herbs in Clay Pots?

How To Grow Herbs in a Terrarium

Growing herbs in a terrarium is a relatively easy project that anyone can do. Follow the steps below to grow herbs in a terrarium:

1. Choose a Glass Container for Your Terrarium

Clear glass containers are an excellent option for terrariums with herbs because they allow enough sunlight to pass through and reach your plants. 

You can repurpose old mason jars or fishbowls. Just be sure they are large enough to fit all the plants you want to include. They should also be tall enough to accommodate up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) of the planting medium and 5-10 inches (12.7-25.4 cm) more for the herbs’ shoots.

It also helps to choose a container with a mouth wide enough for your hand or small garden tools for regular maintenance procedures.

2. Clean the Glass Container

Next, you must clean the glass container to remove any dirt or debris. You can do this by hand with a soft cloth and some soapy water. Rinse the container thoroughly to remove any soap residue. 

Cleaning the container thoroughly will ensure that it is free from pathogens that might infect your herbs. You can also use hot water with temperatures between 70 and 80 °C (158 and 176 °F) to rinse the glass. Such temperatures are safe enough to prevent the glass from breaking but high enough to kill harmful microbes.

3. Design the Terrarium’s Layout

Having a clear vision of how you want your herb terrarium to look like will make it easier to construct it. This step will help you determine which plants will go where and how much space you have to work with.

Use small rocks, pebbles, or sand to create different levels and add interest to the terrarium. You can also use these materials to create a drainage layer that will help keep your plant’s roots healthy.

4. Create a Planting Mixture

A planting mixture is necessary for growing plants in a terrarium. It provides plants with the essential nutrients they need for growth. To make a planting mixture, you can use the following materials:

  • Loam soil. Most herbs grow well in loam soil because of its good balance between water retention and drainage. Approximately 40% of your mix should consist of loam.
  • Organic compost. It can improve the soil texture for better aeration, considering that the glass container isn’t breathable. It also provides additional nutrients for your herbs. Allot 25% of the mix for compost.
  • Peat moss or coco coir. A quarter of your mix should contain peat moss or coco coir because they can improve the moisture retention capacity of the soil. If you’re working with alkaline soil, you can use Canadian peat moss to lower the soil pH since most herbs prefer slightly acidic soil. Otherwise, you can use coco coir because it doesn’t affect the soil pH.
  • Perlite. Adding in some perlite can improve soil drainage and aeration. This material can constitute up to 10% of your planting mixture.

Mix the loam soil, organic compost, and perlite evenly and set aside the peat moss or coco coir. You need to place the peat moss or coco coir below the planting mix to prevent the finer materials from sinking to the bottom of the container.

5. Place Sand or Pebbles at the Bottom of the Terrarium

If you have a large enough container, you can add up to three inches (7.5 cm) of sand or small pebbles at the bottom of the terrarium. It will help to improve the drainage of your setup and prevent the roots of your plants from sitting in water.

6. Lay Out Your Planting Medium in the Terrarium

Here’s a sample of how to lay out your planting medium in the terrarium from the bottom up:

  • 1-3 inches (2.5 – 7.5 cm) of sand or pebbles.
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) of peat moss or coco coir.
  • 2-3 inches (5 – 7.5 cm) of loam, compost, and perlite mix.

Add enough water to your mix to moisten it before planting your herb seedlings.

7. Plant the Herbs

Now it’s time to plant the herbs. Poke a hole into the soil deep enough to accommodate the seedling’s tiny roots. Gently cover the roots with the planting mixture. You can secure the plant using decorations like rocks, shells, or figurines. It can also help personalize your terrarium.

Tips for Caring for Your Terrarium Garden

While terrariums are relatively low-maintenance, there are a few things you need to do to keep your plants healthy.

  • Place your terrarium next to an east-facing window with light curtains to provide the herbs with filtered morning light.
  • When watering your herbs, avoid pouring water over the leaves to prevent diseases. Use a small watering can with a long, narrow spout to pour water directly into the soil.
  • Trim the herbs as needed to keep your terrarium neat and tidy. Overcrowding can cause competition for light and space, so be sure to remove any dead or dying leaves or stems. 
  • Remove the lid periodically to allow fresh air to circulate. Otherwise, mold and mildew can build up and kill your plants.
  • Feed the plants every two to four weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer to give them the nutrients they need to grow. Without these nutrients, the plants will become weak and susceptible to disease.
  • Remove mold-covered decorative items from the terrarium, as mold can spread quickly and kill your plants. Clean the ornamental pieces with a vinegar solution and rinse thoroughly before returning them to the terrarium.
  • Keep your terrarium clean to prevent the spread of disease. Wipe down the inside of the glass with a damp cloth and remove any dead leaves or stems.

Final Thoughts

Growing herbs in a terrarium is a convenient, low-maintenance way to enjoy fresh herbs. Terrariums create a self-sustaining environment for the plants, limiting the amount of care they need. 

Choose your herbs carefully and understand their growth requirements to provide the most suitable growing environment for them in your terrarium.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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