Making your own succulent terrarium is a fun DIY project that can be customized to your personal style. With just a few basic supplies, your creativity, and this step-by-step guide to learn how to make a succulent terrarium, you’ll be able to assemble a beautiful living centerpiece that can be proudly displayed in your home or office.
How to Make a Succulent Terrarium Supplies You’ll Need
Here are the essential items you’ll need to put together your own succulent terrarium:
- Glass container – Look for glass jars, bowls, or other transparent vessels. Make sure it has drainage hole(s) in the bottom.
- Succulents – Choose small, compact succulent varieties that stay under 6 inches tall. Popular picks include echeveria, sedum, sempervivum, jade plant, and dwarf cacti.
- Soil – Use a cactus/succulent potting mix or make your own well-draining blend.
- Sand or perlite – To improve drainage, you can mix in sand or perlite.
- Gravel or pebbles – For a top dressing and bottom drainage layer.
- Activated charcoal – Helps absorb moisture and prevent rotting.
- Moss or decorations (optional) – For visual interest, add preserved reindeer moss or figurines.
|Choose Container||Select glass jar, bowl, or terrarium with drainage holes||Consider size, shape, proportions|
|Add Drainage Layer||Put down gravel, sand, charcoal in bottom||Prevent soil erosion, 1-2 in layer|
|Prepare Soil||Use cactus/succulent mix or make your own blend||Should be gritty, loose, fast-draining|
|Pick Succulents||Choose small varieties <6 in tall||Opt for colorful rosettes, variety|
|Plant Succulents||Gently remove from pots, loosen roots||Space evenly, nestle in soil|
|Add Top Dressing||Lightly cover soil with pebbles, moss||Retains moisture, prevents erosion|
|Water & Display||Water gently to avoid dislodging||Bright indirect light, mist occasionally|
Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Glass Container for Your Succulent Terrarium
The foundation of your terrarium will be the glass vessel that houses it. Look for containers like mason jars, apothecary jars, bowls, or hanging terrarium bubbles. Make sure it has adequate drainage hole(s) in the bottom so that excess water can flow out.
Consider the size and proportions. The container should be big enough to house the roots of your succulent plants but small enough to maintain humidity. For 2-4 small succulents, a 1-2 quart glass container is ideal.
Also think about shape. Round shapes allow you to arrange the succulents in a pleasing circular pattern. Rectangular containers provide more flexibility in design.
Step 2: Add a Drainage Layer to Your Succulent Terrarium
Succulents hate wet feet, so a drainage layer is essential. Start by placing gravel, pebbles, or activated charcoal in the bottom inch or two of the container. This will prevent soil erosion and allow excess moisture to drain out of the soil, preventing root rot.
Spread an even layer of your drainage material like gravel or sand over the bottom surface. Only a thin layer is needed – too much and you lose space for soil and plants. Activated charcoal is especially effective at regulating moisture and preventing mold.
Step 3: Prepare the Soil for Your Succulent Terrarium
Succulents require fast-draining soil that dries out quickly. You can find pre-made cactus and succulent potting soil, or make your own succulent potting mix. A good formula is:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part coarse sand
- 1 part perlite or pumice
Mix the ingredients together thoroughly. To get the right moisture balance, you want the soil to feel gritty and loose, not dense and moisture-retentive.
If needed, stir in additional perlite, sand, or gravel to improve drainage. When squeezed, the soil should clump slightly but crumble easily.
Step 4: Pick Your Succulents for Your Terrarium
Now for the fun part – select 1-4 succulent plants to include in your terrarium. Look for small, compact varieties that grow to less than 6 inches tall. Some popular options include:
- Echeveria – Rosette shapes, ruffled leaves
- Sedum – Colorful, fleshy leaves
- Sempervivum (hens and chicks) – Dense rosettes, easy to grow
- Haworthia – Unique spike-like leaves
- Dwarf cacti – Miniatures like mammillaria stay small
Consider height, colors, and textures that complement each other. Variety makes the terrarium more visually appealing.
Step 5: Plant the Succulents in Your Terrarium
Once you’ve chosen your succulents, it’s time to transplant them into the terrarium. Gently remove each plant from its nursery pot, loosening any circled roots with your fingers or tweezers so they spread outwards into the new container.
Layer a few inches of prepared soil into the container. Nestle each succulent into the soil, spacing them attractively. Add more soil around the roots and base of each plant. Firm the soil gently around the plants with your fingers.
Leave 1-2 inches between the top of the soil and the rim of the container. This space allows airflow and prevents moisture from building up.
Step 6: Add the Top Dressing to Your Terrarium
To finish your succulent terrarium, add a top dressing of small pebbles, gravel, moss, or other decorative elements. This gives a polished look and helps prevent soil erosion.
Gently spread stones, gravel, or moss over the soil surface around the plants. Keep the top dressing thin – the succulent leaves should still peek through. This helps retain moisture while allowing air to circulate.
Step 7: Water and Display Your Succulent Terrarium Creation
Once assembled, water your terrarium gently, taking care not to wash out the plants. Avoid overwatering, as too much moisture can lead to root rot. The soil should dry out slightly between waterings.
Place your finished terrarium in bright, indirect sunlight. Sunny windowsills are ideal. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the succulent leaves through the glass.
Now sit back and enjoy your mini indoor garden! With proper care, your succulent terrarium will thrive for years to come. Mist occasionally. Trim back plants as needed. Replant if plants overgrow.
Conclusion How to Make a Succulent Terrarium
Creating your own succulent terrarium is an enjoyable way to bring a little nature into your home or office. Follow this step-by-step guide, get creative with the design, and you’ll have a beautiful living centerpiece to brighten your space. The mini succulents are easy to care for succulent plants and their colorful variety will add fresh life wherever they’re displayed.
FAQ How to Make a Succulent Terrarium
Q: How do I make a succulent terrarium?
A: Making a succulent terrarium is easier than you think! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your own little succulent paradise.
Q: What do I need to make a succulent terrarium?
A: To make a succulent terrarium, you’ll need a few key items: a terrarium container, potting mix or succulent soil, succulents suitable for terrariums, river rocks, activated charcoal, and some decorative elements like moss or small stones.
Q: Can I use any kind of pot for my succulent terrarium?
A: While you can get creative with the container for your succulent terrarium, it’s best to choose a pot that has good drainage. This will help prevent overwatering and keep your succulents happy.
Q: Do succulents need special soil?
A: Yes, succulents need well-draining soil to thrive. You can either use potting mix specifically formulated for succulents or make your own by mixing regular potting soil with sand or perlite.
Q: How often should I water my succulent terrarium?
A: Succulents are drought-tolerant plants and they don’t like to be overwatered. Water your terrarium sparingly, only when the soil is completely dry. It’s better to underwater than to overwater succulents.
Q: Can I spray water on my succulents?
A: While misting the leaves of your succulents can provide some moisture, it’s best to avoid directly spraying water on them. Focus on watering the soil instead, as succulents absorb water through their roots.
Q: Can I add other plants to my succulent terrarium?
A: Absolutely! You can get creative and add other types of plants like cacti, moss, or even create a little fairy garden. Just make sure that the plants you choose have similar care requirements to your succulents.
Q: How do I assemble my succulent terrarium?
A: Assembling your terrarium is simple. Start with a layer of river rocks at the bottom of the container for drainage. Next, add a thin layer of activated charcoal to help filter the water. Then, place a layer of succulent soil on top. Finally, arrange your succulents in the soil and add any decorative elements.
Q: How do I care for my succulent terrarium?
A: Caring for your terrarium is easy. Place it in a sunny spot, but away from direct sunlight. Water sparingly and make sure the water drains out of the container. Trim any dead leaves or overgrown succulents, and your terrarium will thrive.
Q: Can I make a succulent terrarium using a closed container?
A: While open terrariums are recommended for succulents due to their low humidity requirements, you can create a closed terrarium with succulents if you choose the right plants and monitor the humidity levels carefully.