How to Make a Succulent Terrarium? A Step by Step Guide

I don’t have a green thumb, as frequent readers know. My garden is proof that I have never proven fruitful in growing anything. Succulents are my favorite plants since they are undemanding and need little water. How sweet is that!  

I’m going to teach you how to DIY succulent terrarium and how I kept it as inexpensive as possible. I am sure these detailed instructions will effortlessly guide you through the complete procedure. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

What is a Succulent Terrarium?

Terrariums are tiny, confined environments in which plants are grown. Consider it a miniature nursery. Terrarium gardens are usually housed in transparent enclosures, such as plastic or glass. 

Here’s a fun fact, terrariums come in two varieties: sealed and open. The open terrariums don’t have a detachable lid, but the sealed terrariums do.

The terrarium’s soil and plants emit water vapor, effectively recycling water. The vapor is then gathered on the vessel’s sides and drips into the soil mix. Terrariums are self-sustaining, which means they need little upkeep if kept sealed.  

Since succulents are a category of plants that retain water in their leaves, they’ve been discovered to function well in terrariums. Their compact scale fits nicely in small spaces and makes creating a little landscape in your house a breeze; pretty convenient, right?

a beautiful succulent terrarium

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium?

I first saw succulent terrariums on Instagram over a year ago and decided to make one for myself. The primary reason I started was that ready-made terrariums on the internet appeared too pricey. I have produced hundreds for myself and many more for others ever since.  

Anybody can work with succulents since they are adaptable, and they’ll last for years before you need to replant them. I’ll do my best to walk you through the entire process in straightforward steps. 

We’ll start from square one, plant with me, and follow my instructions!

Terrarium Materials: Gathering Your Resources  

You may find most of the materials required for this project in several lawns and gardens. The following are essential components for terrarium kit:

  • Empty food jar or mason jar: I say use an empty food jar or a mason jar instead of the pre-made glass terrarium. It only has to be transparent and have a ventilation aperture. You can also directly purchase a terrarium. There are many choices online.
  • Gravel: You can collect the gravel from a local beach. 
  • Spoons and tweezers: Look for spoons and tweezers in your kitchen or bathroom.
  • 1-2 good-quality brushes: You can pick the brush from your art materials. 
  • Activated charcoal: Surprisingly, you may even have activated charcoal if you own an aquarium because it is quite often utilized in the water filter.
  • 10-12 tiny succulent stems: These are easily available in exterior pots. If you see some blooming in a playground or other common area, let your temptation get the better of you and take a couple of pieces home with you.

Don’t worry because succulents quickly root, and the tiny quantities you take will not harm the parent stem. I used succulents from the garden center and wild Alpines I found sprouting on the wall outside my house for this project.

DIY Succulent Terrarium

Step 1: Select Your Preferred Assortments 

Take about 10 to 12 tiny succulent stems. You’ll want a couple that can dangle over your container’s side, another few that can be bigger centerpieces, and a couple that will add textural variation.  

Enable your cuttings to rest in a cool, dark spot for a few days after obtaining them. This will permit the damaged ends of the succulents to callus around, which is necessary for the succulent to establish roots. You can move on to step 2 after a few days. 

Step 2: Add in the Charcoal and Gravel 

Someone may worry about the drainage setting for succulents, using charcoal and gravel can solve the issue.

Spread about 1/2 inch of gravel at the bottom of the container, edging up in the rear to make a mound. Sprinkle a fine coating of charcoal over the gravel. 

The gravel helps drain surplus water, while the charcoal prevents mold, fungus, and other unwanted microorganisms from growing and taking over the plant. 

Step 3: Layering the Potting Mix 

I mention this step individually if you want to create your own blend. Cactus potting mixture can be bought online or at a garden store, but you can make it yourself if you have the supplies on board. It’s a concoction of Coconut Husk Chips, Horticultural Grit, washed coco peat, and Perlite.  

Cover the gravel and charcoal with 1/2 inch of this potting combination, mounding it up towards the back like the gravel. 

Step 4: Potting the Cuttings 

Now it’s time to be innovative! Insert your cuttings in the potting mixture and organize them according to your preferences.  

I suggest putting larger pieces in the rear and pressing them in using the back of a brush or spoon to cover the callus completely. It’s easier to get the trailing chunks in before the frontal succulents because otherwise, it’ll be more difficult. 

How to Water Succulent in a Terrarium? 

When it comes to succulent terrarium care, you must be careful not to overwater them. The glass traps everything inside and acts as a little conservatory. Thus, it will take much longer for all the water to drain into the surrounding atmosphere, as it would with typical indoor plants. 

If you’re using PittMoss as a growing medium, keep in mind that it has an incredible potential for retaining water, so keep it as dry as possible. 

Watering regularly should assist you in remembering when it’s time to water. You’ll generally only need to hydrate your plants once or twice every month, and even then, a mist from a sprayer is the best method to avoid overwatering. 

3 Creative Succulent Terrarium Ideas You’ll Love to Use

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals, I’ll go through some more innovative themes. That’ll help you develop some fresh succulent terrarium designs for your next venture. 

Beach-Themed Terrarium 

Succulents will not be the initial plants that come to mind when thinking of a “beachy feel,” but their arid adaptability is ideal for a beach terrarium’s sandy shoreline. 

Although palm trees are out, you might be amazed at the variety of succulent plants that can be used to create a bright seaside picture.  

Succulents with delicate leaves and plenty of texture can assist generate a feeling of scale and, as a result, a more natural appearance. Air Plants’ prickly character also works nicely in seaside terrariums.

Cacti-Themed Terrarium 

If cactus is your thing, why not go all out? Within the cactus family, there’s still a lot of variety. Cacti can develop as shrubs, tendrils, ferns, and even trees like tropical species.  

Try to pick contrasting patterns and forms for variation, or go with a random mix of miniature cacti and enjoy the ride. 

Dangling Terrarium

Owing to their increased popularity, finding various intriguing and imaginative containers built exclusively for terrariums has been much more straightforward. The hanging container is one of my favorite styles!  

Since these are smaller, you may make a few tiny ones dangle in a large window on varying lengths of rope for a fanciful display that exudes bohemian vibes. 

Dangling Terrarium


1. Are terrariums good for succulents? 

Planting succulents in terrariums offer them a low-maintenance environment in which to grow. Terrariums are ideal for succulents since these plants grow gradually, but if the correct medium isn’t utilized, the moisture that accumulates might harm the plants. 

Mini succulents in terrariums have the added benefit of allowing you to create a small succulent garden by combining many of them. Sedum pachyphyllum, Echeveria, and Jade Plants are popular small succulents for terrariums. 

2. What is needed for a succulent terrarium? 

A glass container with a hole, diverse succulents, sand or gravel, potting mix, and ornamental embellishments like pebbles, moss, or sculptures make up the basic materials needed for a succulent terrarium.  

Begin by thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing your selected container. Towards the bottom of the container, layer 2 inches of sand or gravel. This ensures that water does not remain stagnant and gathers around your plant’s base.  

You should place 1 inch of cactus soil on top of this coating. Place each succulent in the soil. You can patch any gaps with decorative embellishments once you’ve placed them where you want them. 

3. How long do succulent terrarium last? 

In principle, an adequately aligned closed terrarium should survive indefinitely under the right circumstances. The oldest terrarium ever discovered lasted 53 years by itself. On the other hand, the ordinary terrarium can live anywhere from 4 months to 2 years. 

Parting Note 

Imagine how luxuriant and gorgeous your succulent terrariums look, with multi-textured fronds overflowing from tear-drop glassware shimmering in the sunlight!

Designing a terrarium is similar to making a tiered cake or dessert, it’s much fun than only planting succulents in pots. If you carefully follow the instructions I have outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to making your succulent terrarium in no time. Happy gardening!

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