Introducing the indoor water garden

Create your own indoor water feature with plants (fish optional)
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

What is a water terrarium?

A regular terrarium is a miniature eco-system of plants housed in a transparent container, which could be anything from a simple globe to a specially designed, multifaceted box or even an old light bulb. The plants are arranged to create the look and feel of a miniature garden, with any combination of sand, soil, moss, gravel and decorative beads as the base.

terrarium is usually created using air plants, which literally survive on air and need little in the way of soil and watering. A water terrarium, on the other hand, uses aquatic plants, which are submerged or float in water.

Is a water terrarium for me? The answer is yes if…

… you want something that will look good with your décor
… you’re often away or have a tendency to forget to water your plants
 … you love plants but don’t like getting your hands dirty
… you’re looking for a fun DIY project to do with your kids.

Which plants work best?

Stick with ‘anubias’ water plants, such as anubias barteri or anubias nana, as these grow slowly, submerged in fresh water. Opt for bonsai varieties as these are smaller and won’t get out of control.

How do I make one?

Water terrariums are simple to make and even easier to maintain…

What you’ll need:

  • Glass container (lid optional)
  • Water plants
  • Sand
  • Pebbles or gravel
  • Distilled water

What to do:

Simply place a layer of sand in the bottom of the container followed by a layer of pebbles or gravel (or both!), push the plant a couple of centimetres into the gravel then carefully pour in the water to the desired level. Don’t be alarmed if the water goes cloudy at first. The water will disturb the sand but this will soon settle back to the bottom.

For a step-by-step guide, visit