DIY Succulent Terrarium

How to Make a DIY Succulent Terrarium


Terrariums are a beautiful way to bring a touch of nature indoors, and they’re very easy to create with succulents! These low-maintenance plants thrive indoors and are perfect for crafting a charming DIY succulent terrarium. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create your own miniature world.

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Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Let’s get started!

Choosing a Container:

For your DIY succulent terrarium, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the container! Glass terrariums with open tops are ideal for succulents, allowing for airflow and mimicking the dry, sunny environment succulents love. You can also get creative and repurpose old fish bowls, vintage cloches, or an apothecary jar.

TIP: Before you get started, thoroughly clean your container with soap and water to remove any chemical residues. Let it dry completely before creating your masterpiece.

I am using an 11-inch clear glass bubble bowl I found at the Crate and Barrel Outlet.

Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Choosing Succulents for Your Terrarium:

Where to purchase succulent plants?

I adore Horrocks in Grand Rapids for plant shopping if you are a Michigan resident. They offer a huge variety of hard-to-find plants of all kinds. Since I now live an hour and a half away, I don’t always have time to make the trip. So, I scope out big box stores like Walmart (which has a decent plant department), Lowes, and Home Depot. Amazon is also an option. The Succulents I am using today were shipped by Amazon in February!

A succulent terrarium uses small plants, so this is a great opportunity to use succulent cuttings.

Now for the fun part – picking the pretty plants! While succulents can thrive in an indoor garden terrarium, selecting the right plants will ensure long-lasting success. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Succulent plants for a DIY Succulent Terrarium.
  • Size matters: Choose slow-growing succulents to prevent overcrowding in your terrarium. I am using 2-inch containers, so my plants are small.
  • Light seekers: Succulents need ample sunlight, so prioritize varieties that flourish in bright, indirect light.
  • Flower power: Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color with flowering succulents like the vibrant Kalanchoe or the festive Christmas Cactus.

Varieties to consider:

  • Jade Plant: A classic and easy-to-care-for succulent, it is known for its symbolic association with good luck and prosperity.
  • String of Pearls: This is a creeping, perennial, succulent vine native to the Cape Provinces of South Africa.
  • Haworthia: These low-growing succulents feature interesting textures and patterns on their leaves, making them conversation starters in any terrarium.
  • Echeveria: With rosettes of plump, spoon-shaped leaves in various colors, Echeveria succulents add a touch of elegance to your terrarium.
  • Bear Paw Succulent (Cotyledon): These fuzzy-leaved succulents resemble little bear paws, adding a touch of whimsy to your miniature world.
  • Lithops (Living Stone): These unique succulents resemble pebbles, adding a touch of the unexpected to your terrarium design.
  • Sempervivum (Hen and Chicks): These clustering succulents form rosettes, with new growth emerging around the mature plant, resembling a mother hen surrounded by her chicks.
  • Dwarf Aloe: This small succulent forms rosettes of fleshy, green to reddish-green leaves heavily mottled with white.
  • Burros’s Tail: Perfect for the novice gardener, the burro’s tail succulent or donkey tail plant is simple to care for and propagates easily.
  • Air Plant: These can be a great option for those of us with a black thumb. Air plants are usually tiny, easy to grow, and they don’t need soil. As the name implies, air plants absorb nutrients and water from the air through scales on their leaves.

Let’s Assemble a Terrarium.

Drainage Layer:

Just like any happy home, your DIY succulent terrarium needs good drainage. Obviously, a glass container won’t have drainage holes, so a layer of gravel or rocks is recommended. This allows excess water to drain away, preventing your succulents from getting soggy roots. A good rule of them here is two inches of gravel or rocks.

Pro tip: While tempting, skip the activated charcoal for your succulent terrarium. Succulents don’t require the odor control that charcoal provides, and they can retain too much moisture, causing root rot.

Instead, consider using a succulent potting mix. These pre-mixed options offer excellent drainage and the perfect nutrients for your succulents to thrive.

Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Tools for Building a Terrarium:

Having the right tools on hand makes creating your DIY succulent terrarium a breeze. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Gloves: Protect your hands while you work.
  • Succulent tool kit (optional but handy) – This can include small trowels, rakes, and brushes.
Terrarium Tools for creating a DIY Succulent Terrarium.
Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

I also love this plant mat. If you do any plant repotting, it keeps things contained and easy to clean up!

DIY instructions for making a succulent terrarium.
Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Adding the Plants:

Now comes the fun part: planting your succulents! Gently remove your chosen succulents from their pots and loosen the roots slightly. Make sure you add enough soil to cover the plants’ roots. Using your fingers or tools, carefully arrange them in your terrarium until you like the way they look, being careful not to crowd them too much. I started with my taller plants in the back.

Step by step instructions for making a DIY succulent terrarium.
Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Once you’re happy with the layout, use your succulent mix to fill in the gaps and secure the plants in place.

DIY Open Glass Succulent Terrarium
Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Finally, add top layer of rocks or a layer of sand to help secure the roots of your plants. Once the last layer is added, I use a brush to remove any dirt particles that have attached to the plants.

Succulents in a terrarium.
Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Here, you could add pieces of wood or small decorative pieces to give your DIY succulent terrarium a personality all its own.

Flowering succulent in an ope glass terrarium.
Photo Credit: A Life Unfolding

Caring for Your Succulents:

Terrariums are pretty low-maintenance, but there are a few key things to keep in mind to keep your succulents thriving:

  • Light: Succulents love bright, indirect sunlight. Place your terrarium in a spot that receives several hours of sunlight each day. Keep out of direct sunlight as it can burn the plants.
  • Watering: Resist the urge to overwater! Succulents store water in their leaves, so underwatering is generally better than overwatering. Water your terrarium deeply (for mine, it’s every couple of weeks) when the top of the soil feels completely dry to the touch, then allow it to dry out completely before watering again. I am not a fan of using a spray bottle to mist succulents. They don’t like their leaves to get wet.
Open Glass DIY Succulent Terrarium.

With proper care, and the right conditions your DIY succulent terrarium will flourish, bringing a touch of nature’s beauty into your home.

That’s it for today!

Until next time,


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