How to Make a Succulent Terrarium: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sharing is caring!

If you’re looking for a unique and low-maintenance way to incorporate plants into your home decor, a succulent terrarium might be just what you need. These miniature gardens are easy to make and can be customized to fit any style or space.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of creating your own succulent terrarium, from selecting the right supplies to caring for your plants.

Understanding Succulent Terrariums Succulent terrariums are small, enclosed gardens that are designed to provide a miniature ecosystem for plants to thrive in.

They can be made in a variety of containers, from glass jars to ceramic pots, and are typically filled with a layer of rocks or gravel, a layer of activated charcoal, and a layer of soil.

The plants are then arranged and planted in the soil, and the terrarium is sealed to create a self-sustaining environment.

Choosing the Right Supplies To create a successful succulent terrarium, you’ll need to choose the right supplies. This includes selecting a container that is the right size for your plants, as well as choosing the appropriate rocks, charcoal, and soil.

How to make a succulent terrarium
Succulent Terrarium

You’ll also need to select the right succulents for your terrarium, considering factors such as their size, growth habits, and light requirements.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Succulent terrariums are miniature enclosed gardens that provide a self-sustaining environment for plants to thrive in.
  • Choosing the right supplies, including the container, rocks, charcoal, soil, and succulents, is essential for creating a successful terrarium.
  • Proper preparation, planting, and maintenance are key to keeping your succulent terrarium healthy and beautiful.

Understanding Succulent Terrariums

Succulent terrariums are mini gardens enclosed in glass containers that house various types of succulent plants.

These plants are chosen for their ability to thrive in arid environments and require minimal watering.

Terrariums can be open or closed, and they come in different shapes and sizes. They are ideal for people who want to bring a touch of nature into their homes or offices but do not have a lot of space or time for a full-size garden.

Types of Terrariums

There are two main types of terrariums: open and closed.

Open terrariums have a hole or opening that allows air to circulate freely, while closed terrariums are sealed containers that create a mini greenhouse environment.

Both types of terrariums can be used to grow succulent plants, but closed terrariums require less watering and maintenance due to the high humidity levels that are maintained inside.

Choosing the Right Container

When choosing a container for your succulent terrarium, consider the size and shape of the plants you want to use. Succulents come in different sizes, so it’s important to choose a container that will accommodate their growth.

Glass containers are ideal for succulent terrariums because they allow light to pass through and create a beautiful display.

You can also use other materials like ceramic, metal, or wood, but make sure they have drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating.

Creating the Perfect Environment

Succulent plants thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. When creating a succulent terrarium, use a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite to ensure adequate drainage.

You can also add activated charcoal to the soil to absorb excess moisture and prevent mold growth.

When watering your succulent terrarium, make sure to only water the soil and not the leaves or stem of the plant. Succulents are sensitive to overwatering, so it’s important to let the soil dry out completely between waterings.

Choosing the Right Supplies

When it comes to making a succulent terrarium, choosing the right supplies is crucial.

You want to make sure you have everything you need before you start, so you don’t have to make any unnecessary trips to the store.

Here are some essential supplies you’ll need:


First and foremost, you’ll need a container to house your succulent terrarium. You can use a glass container, a bowl, a vase, a fishbowl, a vessel, or a tray.

The container should have a flat bottom and an open side or top to allow for proper airflow. Make sure the container is clean and free of any dirt or debris before you start.

Gravel or Crushed Stone

Next, you’ll need some gravel or crushed stone to create a drainage layer at the bottom of your container. This layer will prevent water from pooling at the bottom and causing root rot.

The size of the gravel or crushed stone should be small enough to allow for proper drainage but large enough to prevent soil from seeping through.

Filter Layer

After the drainage layer, you’ll need a filter layer to prevent the soil from mixing with the gravel or crushed stone.

You can use a coffee filter, moss, or cheesecloth for this layer. The filter layer should cover the entire bottom of the container and extend up the sides slightly.

Potting Soil

For the soil, you’ll need a potting soil mixture that is specifically designed for succulents.

This type of soil is well-draining and contains a mix of sand, perlite, and peat moss. Make sure you have enough soil to fill your container to the desired level.

Succulent Plants

Of course, you’ll need succulent plants for your terrarium. Choose small succulents that are appropriate for the size of your container.

You can mix and match different varieties to create a visually appealing display.

Decorative Accents

Finally, you can add some decorative accents to your terrarium, such as rocks, hardwood pieces, or other decorative items.

These accents can add visual interest and texture to your terrarium.

Overall, choosing the right supplies for your succulent terrarium is essential for its success. Make sure you have all the necessary materials before you start, and follow the steps carefully to create a beautiful and healthy terrarium.

Selecting the Suitable Succulents

When it comes to selecting succulents for your terrarium, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, choose plants that are small enough to fit comfortably in your container.

You don’t want them to be too crowded, as this can lead to poor growth and even disease.

Some popular succulent plants for terrariums include:

  • Jade Plant
  • Echeveria
  • Sedum
  • Haworthia
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Burro’s Tail
  • String of Pearls

When selecting your succulents, consider their growth habits and light requirements. For example, jade plants prefer bright, indirect light, while hens and chicks can tolerate more shade.

Make sure to choose plants that have similar light and water requirements, as this will make caring for your terrarium much easier.

Another important factor to consider is the size and shape of your succulents. Look for plants with interesting textures and shapes that will add visual interest to your terrarium.

You can also mix and match different types of succulents to create a unique and varied display.

Finally, make sure to choose plants that are healthy and disease-free. Look for plants with firm, plump leaves and no signs of damage or discoloration. Avoid plants that are wilted or drooping, as they may not recover well in a terrarium environment.

By following these tips, you can select the perfect succulents for your terrarium and create a beautiful and low-maintenance display that will thrive for years to come.

Preparation of the Terrarium

Before you start making your succulent terrarium, it’s important to prepare the container properly. Here are some steps you should follow:

Choose the Right Container

When selecting a container for your terrarium, make sure it has a drainage hole or holes. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to create some by drilling or using a hot nail.

The drainage holes will help prevent water from building up in the bottom of the container, which can cause root rot.

Add a Drainage Layer

After you’ve created drainage holes, add a layer of rocks, gravel, or pebbles to the bottom of the container.

This will help with drainage and prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged. You can also add a layer of activated charcoal to help absorb any excess moisture and keep the soil fresh.

Add Soil

Next, add a layer of succulent soil or potting soil mixed with sand, perlite, pumice, or lava rock.

This will provide your succulents with the nutrients they need to grow. Make sure the soil is level and not too compacted.

Add Succulents

Now it’s time to add your succulents. Make sure they are spaced out evenly and not overcrowded.

You can use decorative rocks or river rocks to fill in any gaps between the plants.

Add Moss

Finally, you can add some moss to the top of the soil. This will help retain moisture and create a natural look.

Sphagnum moss, reindeer moss, or coco coir are all good options. You can also place a coffee filter over the drainage layer to prevent soil from falling through the drainage holes.

By following these steps, you’ll have a beautiful and healthy succulent terrarium.

Planting and Arranging the Succulents

Now that you have your terrarium set up, it’s time to plant your succulents. When choosing your succulents, consider their size, shape, and texture.

Some popular succulent varieties for terrariums include jade plants, echeveria, sedum, Haworthia, hens and chicks, burro’s tail, and string of pearls.

succulents in terrarium

Start by removing the succulents from their pots and gently shaking off any excess soil. If the roots are tightly packed, gently loosen them with your fingers or a small tool. Be careful not to damage the roots or break the stems.

Next, create a small hole in the soil where you want to place your succulent. Place the succulent in the hole and gently fill in the soil around it, pressing down lightly to secure it in place.

Repeat this process for each succulent, spacing them out evenly and arranging them in a visually pleasing way.

When arranging your succulents, consider using accent plants or flowers to add interest and variety. You can also add decorations or create a fairy garden theme for a fun DIY project.

As you plant, be mindful of the root ball size of each succulent and make sure to leave enough space between them to allow for growth. Use different textures and shapes to create a dynamic and interesting display.

Once you have finished planting, use a small brush or cloth to gently remove any soil or debris from the leaves and decorations.

Water your terrarium sparingly, being careful not to overwater and drown your succulents. With proper care, your succulent terrarium will thrive and be a beautiful addition to your home decor.

Terrarium Care and Maintenance

Taking care of your succulent terrarium is quite easy, and with proper care, it can last for a long time. Here are some tips to ensure your terrarium stays healthy and beautiful:


Succulents are drought-tolerant plants, and they do not require frequent watering. Overwatering is a common mistake that can lead to root rot and kill your plants. To avoid overwatering, wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again.

When watering your terrarium, use a watering can or spray bottle to water the soil directly, avoiding the leaves.

Tap water is fine to use, but make sure it is at room temperature and not cold. Avoid standing water in the bottom of the container, as excess water can lead to root rot.

Humidity and Air Flow

Succulents thrive in arid conditions, and high humidity can cause problems. Condensation is a sign of high humidity, and it can lead to mold and other problems. To prevent condensation, ensure that your terrarium has proper air flow.

You can achieve this by opening the lid of the container for a few hours each day or using a fan to circulate the air.


Succulents require bright, indirect light to thrive. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause damage.

Place your terrarium in a location with bright, indirect light. If you notice that your plants are stretching towards the light, it may be an indication that they need more light.


Succulent terrariums are low-maintenance, and they do not require fertilization.

However, if you notice that your plants are not growing or are looking unhealthy, you can use a succulent-specific fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the package, and do not over-fertilize.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Creating a succulent terrarium is a fun and rewarding project that can bring a touch of nature into your home or office.

However, there are some common mistakes that can be made when creating and caring for a succulent terrarium.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid these mistakes and keep your terrarium looking healthy and beautiful.


One of the most common mistakes people make when caring for succulent terrariums is overwatering.

Succulents are adapted to survive in dry conditions, so they do not need to be watered frequently. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can be fatal to your plants.

To avoid overwatering, make sure your terrarium has good drainage and only water your succulents when the soil is completely dry. You can also use a moisture meter to check the moisture level of the soil.

Direct Sunlight

While succulents need bright, indirect light to thrive, direct sunlight can be harmful to them.

Direct sunlight can cause the temperature inside your terrarium to rise quickly, which can damage your plants.

To avoid direct sunlight, place your terrarium in an area that receives bright, indirect light. You can also use a sheer curtain or shade cloth to filter the sunlight.

Standing Water

Standing water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other toxins that can harm your plants. It can also lead to root rot and other problems.

To avoid standing water, make sure your terrarium has good drainage and do not overwater your plants.

You can also use a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom of your terrarium to help with drainage.

Lack of Aeration

Succulent terrariums need good air circulation to thrive. Without proper aeration, your plants may become overwatered and develop root rot.

To ensure good aeration, make sure your terrarium has ventilation. You can also use a fan to circulate air around your plants.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can help your succulent terrarium thrive and bring a touch of nature into your home or office.

Buying Succulent Terrarium Supplies Online

When it comes to creating your own succulent terrarium, you may be wondering where to buy the necessary supplies.

Fortunately, there are many online retailers that offer a wide selection of terrarium supplies, making it easy for you to find everything you need to get started.

One of the most important supplies you’ll need is a container for your succulent terrarium. You can choose from a variety of options, including glass containers, bowls, vases, fish bowls, vessels, and trays.

Glass containers are a popular choice because they allow you to see your plants from all angles and create a beautiful display. You can find glass containers in many shapes and sizes, so you can choose one that fits your style and the size of your plants.

In addition to a container, you’ll also need soil, rocks, and plants. You can find all of these supplies online as well. When buying soil, make sure to choose a well-draining mix that is specifically designed for succulents.

Rocks are important because they help with drainage and also add a decorative touch to your terrarium. You can choose from many different types of rocks, including pebbles, gravel, and decorative stones.

When it comes to buying plants, there are many options available online. You can choose from a variety of succulent species, each with its own unique look and care requirements.

Some popular succulent species for terrariums include echeveria, haworthia, and sedum. Make sure to choose plants that are small enough to fit in your container but also have enough room to grow.

In addition to these supplies, you may also want to consider adding decorative elements to your terrarium, such as figurines, moss, or sand. These items can add a personal touch to your terrarium and make it even more beautiful.

When buying succulent terrarium supplies online, make sure to read product descriptions carefully and check customer reviews to ensure you are getting high-quality products.

You should also compare prices from different retailers to make sure you are getting the best deal. With a little research and careful planning, you can easily create a beautiful succulent terrarium that will bring joy and beauty to your home or office.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best succulents to use in a terrarium?

When choosing succulents for your terrarium, it’s best to select plants that have similar care requirements. Some popular options include Echeveria, Haworthia, Sedum, and Crassula. These plants are all relatively small and thrive in bright, indirect light.

How do you care for a succulent terrarium?

Succulent terrariums require minimal care, but it’s important to keep them in the right conditions. They need bright, indirect light and should be watered sparingly. Only water the plants when the soil is completely dry to the touch. Avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can lead to rot.

What are some tips for making a closed succulent terrarium?

Closed terrariums are a bit more challenging to create, as they require a balance of moisture and air flow. Choose plants that are small and thrive in humid conditions, such as mosses and ferns. Use a well-draining soil mix and add a layer of activated charcoal to help filter the air.

What is the role of activated charcoal in a succulent terrarium?

Activated charcoal is an important component of a succulent terrarium, as it helps to filter the air and prevent odors. It also helps to absorb excess moisture and can prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

What type of soil is best for succulents in a terrarium?

Succulents need well-draining soil, so it’s important to use a mix that contains plenty of perlite, sand, or grit. Avoid using regular potting soil, as this can hold too much moisture and lead to root rot.

How can you keep succulents healthy in a terrarium?

The key to keeping succulents healthy in a terrarium is to provide them with the right conditions. Make sure they have plenty of bright, indirect light and avoid overwatering. If you notice any signs of rot or disease, remove the affected plant immediately to prevent it from spreading to the others.

Was this Page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *