How To Make A Succulent Terrarium? Step By Step Guide

A succulent terrarium can be a living and breathing piece of decor. This will show your creativity and aesthetic sense. The important thing about succulents is that you can easily grow effortlessly. 

In case you don’t have a garden then by creating a succulent terrarium you can show your gardening skills. 

There are thousands of species of succulents. You must use the right species for making a succulent terrarium. You should choose the color scheme according to your house and make a stunning piece of creativity for decorating your house. 

There are two options for you; open and close terrariums. If you choose an open succulent terrarium then it will provide your succulent plants with better airflow. On the other hand, in the closed terrariums, there are fans for airflow. Closed terrariums are self-sufficient and need little maintenance. 

If you are creating a succulent terrarium for the first time then it is suggested that you should choose to make an open succulent terrarium. In this article, we are going to discuss with you how to create an open succulent terrarium. 

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Materials Needed For A Succulent Terrarium

The materials you require for making a succulent terrarium depend upon the type of the terrarium, the variety of the succulents, and the design of the terrarium. Besides the following materials, you can add more according to your requirements.


You can use any shape of the bowl of your choice. 


Succulents are the centerpiece of your terrarium so you should choose different succulent plants. You should keep in mind that the needs of all succulent plants are not the same. 

It means you should be careful while choosing the variety of succulents for your terrarium. As you are placing your succulent terrarium in your house, you should not choose those succulent plants that cannot thrive without sunlight. 

If you choose those succulent plants that need more light then they will stretch themselves to get more light. 

Another important thing is that you should first have your layout in your mind before buying the succulent plants for your terrarium. You can choose succulent plants of different heights, colors, and textures. 


For managing fungus and odors you need perlite or activated charcoal.


For drainage purposes, you can use pebbles.


Peat moss helps to separate the layer of soil from the layer of perlite or charcoal.


The most important material is succulent potting mix. As you know the type of soil is very important for growing any type of plant. Succulents like to grow in well-drained soil and they don’t like standing water. Overwatering can result in root rot so you should avoid it.


As you are making terrariums, that’s why you need shells and rocks for decoration purposes. You should not use too many things to decorate your glass container as it looks too crowded.


For digging the hole in the potting mix of the terrarium, you need a garden trowel. 

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How To Make A Succulent Terrarium?

After gathering all the materials, you can easily create a succulent terrarium by following the simple steps.

  • First, you should clean the glass bowl because this will prevent your plants from fungal infection. Once your plants are infected then it is very difficult to get rid of this problem. 
  • The next step is placing the pebbles at the bottom of the glass bowl. This is the first layer and will help you to improve aeration and drainage. As the glass bowl doesn’t have drainage holes at the bottom that’s why it is essential to spread a layer of pebbles for drainage. A one to two-inch layer of pebbles is enough for the bottom of the glass bowl.
  • Now, you need perlite or charcoal for the next layer. This will help to eliminate the odors, reduce condensation and prevent your terrarium from fungus.
  • Now the next turn is of peat moss, spreading a layer of peat moss on the top of the perlite or charcoal. Peat Moss will help to separate the potting soil from the perlite or charcoal. It will also help to protect the roots of the succulent.
  • The next layer is of succulent potting mix. This is the top layer of the terrarium. Cover the peat moss with a potting mix.  The thickness of the layer should be at least 3 inches. If you are using a large glass bowl then you can use less soil mix. 
  • At this stage, you need all the succulent plants which you bought from any local nursery or gardening store. Take them out from their pots and ruffle up the roots. If you see long roots then trim them. The reason is that the length of the roots should not be more than the depth of the potting mix layer.
  • Take a garden trowel and dig small holes in the potting mix for succulent plants. Now place all the plants in the holes and cover them with more potting mix. You should pack the soil firmly around the plants. It will help to push out air pockets and give your plant proper support one by one. You should do this step for all the succulents in the terrarium.
  • Now your succulent plants need light water to adjust to a new environment. Avoid overwatering because succulents don’t like wet feet. As you know, you have used limited soil in the glass bowl so there is no need to make it wetter.
  • At this stage, you can add shells, rocks, and other decorative materials to make your succulent terrarium more attractive.
  • Now your terrarium is ready, select a location where it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. A window sill is the best place for placing the terrarium. 

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Succulent Terrarium Care

Most people think that succulent terrariums don’t need proper maintenance. But it is not true, especially in the case of an open succulent terrarium. It needs water, feed, and pruning just like other plants. 

The amount of work is less when you grow plants in a terrarium but to make your plants healthy they need proper attention and care. 


The frequency of water depends upon the variety of succulents you choose for growing in the terrarium. As is mentioned above the glass bowl doesn’t have any drainage holes at the bottom. 

For this reason, we spread a layer of pebbles at the bottom. Avoid overwatering because when you grow plants in the terrarium then they need less water as compared to the plants which grow in the garden. 

Excess water will drop to the bottom of the glass bowl where it will provide a favorable environment for fungi and bacteria. It is better to water the succulents when you see the soil is dry.  


The most common problem which you face when you grow plants in the terrarium is dust and condensation. Cleaning and dusting off is very important. The frequency of cleaning depends upon how much does your terrarium gets.


Light is very important for the growth of your plants. The amount of light depends upon the number of plants you grow in the terrarium. Some plants need bright light so you have to place your career where they get plenty of sunlight. 

Your plants will become lanky and ugly if you place them in a dark area. The best place for that area is a window sill where it gets full sun exposure. When you place your terrarium in direct sunlight it is possible that your glass bowl can heat up. 

As you place a terrarium in your house then it is possible that your succulent plants will not get proper sunlight in that case you can use artificial light. 

Read More

  1. 15 Best Plants For Terrariums
  2. Succulents In Containers Ideas
  3. How To Build A Succulent Garden Outdoor In The Backyard?


Room temperature is perfect for your succulent terrarium. It is recommended that you should keep your terrarium in an unheated room even in winters. 

In this way, your succulent plants will follow the natural growth cycle according to the seasons. 

If you place your terrarium in a heated area throughout the year then it is possible that your plants can get confused and you will see the continuous growth during the winter this will cause them to stretch.


You use limited soil so your plants will not get as many nutrients. There is no need for pruning as the plants grow in the garden. Succulents grow very fast and pruning helps to maintain the looks. 

With the help of the pruners, you can trim off unhealthy leaves or stems. If you see flowers and falling debris then remove it from the terrarium so look best.


A thin layer of the potting mix cannot fulfill the requirements of the nutrients of the succulent plant. You can apply fertilizer twice a year to feed the succulent plants in the terrarium. 

Diluted organic fertilizer or manure tea or compost tea is a good option for your succulent plants. Over-fertilizing is also not good just like overwatering it can burn your plant so you should avoid it.

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Common Problems Of Succulent Plants In A Terrarium

Following are the common issues that can destroy your succulent plants.


Water is an important factor but overwatering can become a reason for an unhealthy plant. Watering can cause fungal infection in succulent plants. 


Like overwatering, underwatering is not also good for your plants. As the season changes, the watering requirement of your succulent plants will also change. On hot days your plants need more water as compared to the winter. 


Because the terrarium is made from the glass then it is possible it can heat up very fast. If you place your terrarium in direct sunlight then you will see scar-like sunburn marks on the leaves. Indirect sunlight is good for your succulent plants


If you are growing succulent plants in a terrarium, it doesn’t mean that the pests will not attack your plants. The pests such as aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus gnats can affect your succulents. 

As you are growing plants in a glass bowl so you don’t have easy access to the plants. Take an old toothbrush and dip it in neem oil and scrub the pests to kill them. 

For the prevention of fungal infection, you should clean the inside walls of the terrarium regularly.


As you know succulents are fast growers then it is possible they can start to outgrow. It is not a big problem. You can handle it easily by removing them and putting them in a separate container or pot.

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