DIY Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own Maidenhair Fern Terrarium

Maidenhair ferns are some of the most delicate plants to add in a terrarium. I’ve tried growing maidenhair ferns outside of a terrarium environment and all I have to say about it is that it’s not easy. They need a consistent level of humidity, the right lighting conditions, and easy draining moist soil. For beginners, this plant is probably a hard one to start off with, but given the right conditions, anyone can successfully grow their own.

bunch of terrariumsmaidenhair leavessilver dollar maidenhair fern details

What You’ll Need:

  1. Potting soil
  2. Horticultural charcoal
  3. Perlite
  4. Aquarium gravel
  5. Plants that enjoy constantly moist soil – Like maidenhair ferns!
  6. Glass jar with a top

Step 1: Aquarium Gravel

Fill the bottom of the jar about 3/4 of an inch with aquarium gravel.

aquarium gravel

Step 2 (Optional): Perlite

Perlite If you happen to have a lot of perlite on hand, feel free to layer it on top of the aquarium gravel. You can use about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of perlite on top of the gravel if you want. Perlite is a porous material that is used to help aerate potting soil. I have a ton of this so it doesn’t hurt to add an extra layer if you have too much of it laying around. You can probably imagine what it’s like to live in a small apartment with a giant bag of perlite. I’m basically swimming in it.

Step 3: Horticultural Charcoal

I’ve tried making terrariums without this but having a substantial layer of charcoal certainly helps keep the water palatable for your plants. The charcoal helps keep algae and bacteria at bay so your plants remain healthy.\r\n\r\nhoffman brand horticultural charcoal

Step 4: Potting Soil

Mix about 1 cup of perlite to 2 cups of potting soil. It isn’t an exact science but the perlite helps regulate the moisture in the soil itself. Maidenhair ferns don’t like sitting in soil that is too soggy.

potting soil

Step 5: Add Your Plants

If you are adding a maidenhair fern, try to plant the fern in the middle of the jar. Try to situate the plant in a way where the fronds avoid contact with the sides of the glass jar. If the plant has direct contact with the glass on a constant basis, the condensation from the jar will irritate the fronds causing the edges of the fronds to turn brown.

nerve plant closeupPlants that work well with maidenhair ferns:

  • Nerve Plant (Fittonia verschaffeltii)
  • Parlor Palm (Neanthe bella)
  • Philodendron (there are so many types)
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Ruby Red Club Moss (Selaginella erythropus)
  • Baby Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
  • Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)
  • Peacock Plant (Calathea roseopicta)

Plant Spotlight: Plumosa Fern (Asparagus setaceus)


The plumosa fern has bristle-like, long, layered and arching fronds.



Today I’m presenting some info on the plumosa aka asparagus fern. They are delicate plants that tolerate a variety of conditions, making them very versatile for home interiors. Please note that in some areas, these are known as an invasive species. If you happen to live in an area that does not experience winter frost, you may not want to plant this outside.

As a native species of South Africa, the plumosa fern is actually part of the lily family. Each branch can grow between 18 and 24 inches in length. Overall, this plant is capable of reaching nearly 1 meter tall and wide. Visually, the plumosa fern offers an airy, layered appearance and responds well to pruning, which encourages additional growth. They also flower in the spring and are known to have fragrant white blooms. Plumosa prefers bright indirect light and well-draining soil. The brighter the light, the faster it will grow.

By the way, if you have pets, keep this one out of their reach. This plant is toxic to animals. It’s pretty and makes a lovely filler for floral arrangements, so it’s well worth adding to your home if you’re looking for something unique and easy.