False Bottom Terrarium

hidden compartment for plants

Imagine creating your own miniature ecosystem, where lush greenery thrives and tiny creatures roam. With a false bottom terrarium, you can turn this dream into a reality.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up and maintaining your very own false bottom terrarium. From selecting the perfect plants to troubleshooting common issues, we will provide you with all the knowledge you need to create a healthy and vibrant environment.

Get ready to embark on an exciting journey into the world of terrariums!

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a well-draining substrate like a mixture of potting soil and sand
  • Add natural elements like rocks and branches for a natural habitat
  • Monitor humidity levels and water your terrarium accordingly
  • Incorporate succulents like Echeveria, Haworthia, and Sedum for visual appeal

How to Set Up a False Bottom Terrarium

You should carefully follow these steps to easily set up a false bottom terrarium.

The first step is to choose the right substrate for your terrarium. The substrate is the material that will cover the bottom of your terrarium and provide a foundation for your plants and decorations. It's important to select a substrate that's well-draining and retains moisture, such as a mixture of potting soil and sand. This will ensure that excess water can be properly drained, preventing root rot and other issues.

Once you have selected the substrate, you can start creating a natural looking landscape. Consider adding rocks, branches, and other natural elements to mimic a natural habitat. This will provide hiding spots and climbing opportunities for your reptiles or amphibians.

Choosing the Right Plants for Your False Bottom Terrarium

Once you have determined the size and lighting conditions of your false bottom terrarium, you can begin selecting plants that thrive in those specific environments. Choosing appropriate lighting is crucial for the health and growth of your terrarium plants. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Consider the light requirements of the plants you want to include in your terrarium. Some plants prefer bright, indirect light, while others thrive in low light conditions.
  • Research the different types of lighting options available for terrariums, such as fluorescent lights, LED lights, or natural sunlight. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that suits your terrarium and plant needs best.

Selecting the right substrate is equally important for a successful false bottom terrarium. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Look for a substrate that provides good drainage while retaining moisture. This will prevent waterlogging and root rot.
  • Consider using a mixture of materials, such as peat moss, vermiculite, and sand, to create a well-draining and nutrient-rich substrate.

Maintaining a Healthy Environment in Your False Bottom Terrarium

Make sure to regularly monitor the humidity levels and water your terrarium accordingly to maintain a healthy environment for your plants.

Maintaining optimal humidity levels is crucial in preventing mold growth and ensuring the well-being of your terrarium ecosystem.

To create the ideal humidity, you can mist the terrarium with water using a spray bottle. This will provide a fine mist that settles on the plants and the substrate, increasing the humidity.

However, it's important not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to mold and root rot.

To prevent mold growth, ensure proper air circulation by opening the terrarium for a few minutes each day. Additionally, consider using a ventilation system or a small fan to improve air circulation.

Creative Ideas for Decorating Your False Bottom Terrarium

Try incorporating three different types of succulents and a variety of colorful rocks for a unique and eye-catching design in your false bottom terrarium. By combining these elements, you can create a visually stunning and captivating display.

  • Succulents
  • Echeveria: Known for their rosette-shaped leaves and vibrant colors, these succulents add a touch of elegance to any terrarium.
  • Haworthia: With their distinctive spiky leaves and unique patterns, Haworthia succulents create a captivating focal point.
  • Sedum: These low-growing succulents come in a variety of leaf shapes and colors, making them versatile and easy to incorporate into any design.
  • Colorful Rocks
  • Quartz: Add a touch of sparkle and elegance with quartz rocks in various sizes.
  • Jasper: Choose jasper rocks with their rich, earthy tones to create a warm and natural feel.

Experiment with different combinations to find a unique terrarium theme that reflects your personal style. Don't be afraid to get creative and incorporate DIY terrarium decorations to make it truly one-of-a-kind.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With False Bottom Terrariums

To troubleshoot common issues with false bottom terrariums, you may encounter two main problems: inadequate drainage and excessive moisture.

Inadequate drainage can lead to water pooling at the bottom of the terrarium, causing root rot and mold growth. To prevent this, ensure that your terrarium has sufficient drainage holes and a layer of gravel or pebbles at the bottom to promote water flow.

Excessive moisture, on the other hand, can create a breeding ground for mold. To prevent mold growth, monitor the humidity levels and ensure proper ventilation within the terrarium. Additionally, avoid overwatering your plants and consider using a moisture meter to accurately gauge the moisture levels in the soil.

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your false bottom terrarium will help prevent these common issues and ensure the health and longevity of your plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Water Should I Use When Setting up a False Bottom Terrarium?

When setting up a false bottom terrarium, it's important to consider the watering frequency and the suitable plants.

The amount of water you should use will depend on the specific needs of the plants you choose. It's crucial to avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other issues.

Instead, aim for a balance by watering the terrarium enough to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Remember to monitor the moisture levels regularly to ensure the health of your plants.

Can I Use Any Type of Soil for My Plants in a False Bottom Terrarium?

You can use a variety of soils for your plants in a false bottom terrarium. Different types of plants have different soil preferences, so it's important to choose a soil that suits the specific plants you want to grow.

The benefits of using a false bottom terrarium for plant growth include improved drainage, preventing waterlogged roots, and creating a humid environment. This can promote healthy root growth and prevent plant diseases caused by excess moisture.

How Often Should I Water the Plants in My False Bottom Terrarium?

When caring for plants in a false bottom terrarium, the watering frequency is crucial for their well-being. It's like a delicate dance between providing enough hydration and avoiding drowning them. Finding the balance is key.

Consider factors such as the type of plants, their specific watering needs, and the moisture levels in the terrarium. Regularly check the soil's moisture level and adjust accordingly.

What Types of Decorations Are Recommended for a False Bottom Terrarium?

When it comes to terrarium decorations, there are plenty of DIY ideas that can enhance the beauty and uniqueness of your setup. From miniature figurines to natural stones and driftwood, the options are endless.

Terrarium decorations not only add visual appeal, but they can also create a more natural and realistic environment for your plants. So, get creative and experiment with different elements to create a stunning and personalized false bottom terrarium.

How Can I Prevent Mold or Fungal Growth in My False Bottom Terrarium?

To prevent mold or fungal growth in your false bottom terrarium, there are a couple of key steps you can take.

Firstly, make sure to prevent condensation buildup by ensuring proper ventilation and airflow within the terrarium. This can be achieved by opening the lid occasionally or using a small fan.

Additionally, choose plants that are less prone to fungal infections and require less moisture. Opt for species like succulents or cacti that thrive in drier conditions.

Proper maintenance and care will go a long way in keeping your terrarium mold-free.


In conclusion, a false bottom terrarium provides a unique and visually appealing way to showcase plants in a controlled environment. With proper setup and plant selection, you can create a miniature ecosystem that thrives with minimal maintenance.

By incorporating creative decorations, you can further enhance the aesthetic appeal of your terrarium. Remember to monitor and adjust the moisture levels to ensure the health of your plants.

Ultimately, a false bottom terrarium is a fascinating and rewarding project for any plant enthusiast.


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Author Bio
Emmanuel Orta

Hi, I am Emmanuel, and I love everything about insects, plants and building terrariums.


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