Terrarium in a Glass – Lichen & Moss

Mossglass4   Moss1

I had a bit of leftover moss and lichen after putting my larger terraria together, so I thought I’d make something different.  I have a lot of old stemware that never gets used.  The champagne glass on the left is an antiquated style – horrible for champagne because the flat, open area allows the bubbles to dissipate too quickly.  Strangely, these glasses seem to be making a comeback this year, but mine have been wrapped in a box for the last two decades.

The wine glass on the right was my first terrarium in a glass and it’s still my favorite.  Even though the glasses are different shapes, the steps are basically the same.


The bottom of the glass is filled with sand for drainage.  I like to use multiple colors of sand.  In my earlier tutorial, Terrarium in a Glass – Cactus & Succulents, I discuss how to make the designs in the layers.


I’ve added a thin layer of potting mix above the sand.  Mosses are strange – their design is simpler than you would expect.  They don’t have roots or vessels to transport water.  Instead, they absorb water through their foliage.  When gathering moss, it is important to gather not only the foliage but also to get some of whatever the moss is growing on.  For example, if the moss is growing on a fallen log, try to collect some of the bark.

In my case, I ordered my mosses and lichens through Etsy.  Some of the specimens had wood/soil underneath.  However, the fern moss that you see below looks like endless fronds woven together in a giant fern carpet.  The only difference between the top and the bottom is that the top is greener.  The underside, and any fronds that are unraveled from the carpet, are brown instead of green, probably because they are not exposed to light.  So I don’t have any reason to believe the soil is necessary, but possibly the nutrients in the soil are being absorbed by the underside of the moss.  We shall see…

2moss 4moss

The stick has some lichen on it, and I thought it made a nice center and focus point of the garden.  I got these glass pieces as decoration, and now I am trying to arrange the stick, moss and glass rectangles in a semi-stable tableau that I can then build around with other accessories.

5moss 6moss

The variety of rock sizes is important.  Larger rocks will look like boulders, but only when there are tiny pebbles to compare them to.

7moss    8moss

I like to fill in most of the space with rocks and decorations.  This helps the garden to be more solid and stable.  I added a second type of moss along one side and decorated with black and white stones.

10moss  9moss

I finished this garden 2 weeks ago.  Each terrarium is misted daily.  I can tell you the mosses in the more enclosed terrariums are doing better than those in this garden.  Based on this, I would not recommend the open champagne or martini glass for moss, but rather a wine or brandy glass would be better.  I suspect the moisture evaporates too quickly here.

Moss2   moss3

The first moss and lichen garden still looks excellent.  This one has been done for 3 weeks.  The short, grassy moss is the easiest to keep healthy.  It was also the easiest to work with when putting the terraria together.  Every bit of plain grass moss is still a vibrant, deep green.  I’ve noticed that the water does not always evaporate completely from this garden from one day to the next, so I’m using less water in my daily misting.

Mossglass1   Mossglass3



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