Terrariums, whether created with succulents, cacti or tropical plants, are like tiny universes. There is something fascinating and beautiful about a self-contained plant landscape within a glass vessel, and when properly assembled and cared for, these little ecosystems will thrive for years. Terrarium care might seem daunting, but there’s no reason to be worried – with a few easy steps, you’ll get your terrarium happy.
Here’s how to care for a terrarium. We’ll break it down by the three common plant types used in terrariums – succulents, cacti and tropicals.
Before we delve into terrarium care, though, it’s important to identify what type of terrarium you have.
The first type of terrariums — the type we sell in our retail and web shops, and the most common and easy to care for — are “open” terrariums. These are glass vessels with an opening that allows air circulation and through which you’ll care for your plants. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to detail care for open terrariums.
The second type of terrarium – a “closed” terrarium – is a bit more complicated to maintain and less common. That’s because the glass doesn’t have large enough hole through which to provide regular care. These enclosed terrariums act more like self-sustaining universes, and require a bit more precise and specialized knowledge to set up. If you have a closed terrarium, there are all kinds of great resources around the web detailing their care.
- How to Care For a Terrarium with Succulents
- How to Care For a Terrarium with Cacti
- How to Care For a Terrarium with Tropicals
- Fresh from the Blog
- How to Water Succulents
- Succulents Watering Schedule
- The Right Amount of Light
- The Right Amount of Water
- Let’s Talk About Death
- Succulent Garden Bowl
- Advanced care tips for succulents
- How to make a succulent terrarium with sand?
- Succulent arrangements in glass bowls
- Growing plants in glass bowls
- DON’T Make a Succulent Terrarium. Here’s Why.
- 5 Reasons NOT to Make a Succulent Terrarium
- 2. Terraria promote humidity.
- 3. There’s no airflow in a terrarium.
- 4. Terraria are too small for succulent growth.
- 5. Mixed-composition containers are iffy.
- Succulent Terrarium Alternatives
- How to Make a Terrarium
- Follow These Steps
- Our Top Ten Low Light Terrarium Plants
- Succulent terrariums are easy to make
- Learn by doing
- How to make a Succulent Terrarium
- Collecting your Materials
- Step 1: Gather your Assorted Succulents
- Step 2: Layer the Sand and Charcoal
- Step 3: Layer the Cactus potting mix
- Step 4: Plant your Succulent Cuttings
- Terrarium After-care
- The Bee’s Knees
- Air Plants & Succulents
- Air Garden
- Ceramic Planter
- Hanging Dome
- Hanging Pot
- Glass Container
- Flower Pot
- Hanging Jars
How to Care For a Terrarium with Succulents
Succulents — plants with thick, fleshy foliage and stems that store water — are by far the most common plants seen in terrariums. This makes a lot of sense, because succulents are typically comfortable not receiving too much water, and don’t need much root space to thrive, making them perfect for small enclosures. Plus, many species stay small and compact, allowing them to live for years in a terrarium without transplanting.
Here’s how to care for this type of terrarium
- Light: Save for some lower-light tolerant species like Haworthia and Gasteria, most succulents prefer bright, if not direct, light. Place your succulent terrarium in a very bright spot, keeping in mind that glass tends to magnify direct sun, and can potentially burn your plants.
- Water: Succulents are drought tolerant plants, and are highly susceptible to root-rot. Combined with the fact that terrariums do not have drainage holes, you’ll want to water your succulent terrarium very sparingly, when the soil has gone almost completely dry. Water sparingly around the base of each plant using a watering can or a spray bottle. Most succulents will tell you when it’s time to water by puckering slightly in their leaves. This is a great indicator for when it’s time to water your terrarium
- Troubleshooting: Shriveled leaves? Time to water. Mushy, brown or black leaves? You’re watering too much. Remove these plants and replace with comparable specimens, taking care not to water quite as much. Reduce watering during winter.
How to Care For a Terrarium with Cacti
All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. The cacti that most folks are familiar with come from the desert. For a terrarium with cacti, you can follow identical instructions for your succulent terrarium, detailed above, with a few adjustments:
- Cacti tend to be even more susceptible to rot than succulents. Take extra care not to over-water.
- Cacti need very bright light to thrive. They should be fine to receive direct light.
- As always, there are exceptions to the above rules. “Jungle cacti” like Rhipsalis, Hatiora and Epiphyllum, will not like bright light, and prefer more water than most cacti. For best results, plant jungle cacti in their own enclosure, or with other lower-light tolerant succulents.
How to Care For a Terrarium with Tropicals
Tropical terrariums are a whole different ball-game. We recommend choosing easy-going, moisture-loving species like philodendron, fittonia and ferns. Tropicals are going to eventually outgrow their terrarium enclosure, so keep in mind that you’ll eventually need to transplant.
Here’s how to care for a tropical terrarium:
- Light: Most tropicals like medium-bright indirect light. They will burn if they get too much direct sun, especially when the sun is intensified through a glass vessel.
- Water: Though not as drought-tolerant as succulents and cacti, care still needs to be taken not to over-water your tropical terrarium. Allow the top inch or so of the soil to go dry between waterings, and water at the base of each plant using your watering can or spray bottle. Between waterings, feel free to give your terrarium a spritz from a mister to promote a humid environment. Let the leaves tell you when it’s time to water by allowing them to wilt slightly between waterings.
- Troubleshooting: Wilted or crispy brown leaves? Time to water. Mushy stems or lots of yellow? You’re watering too much. Remove damaged or overgrown plants and replace with comparable specimens. Reduce watering during winter.
Any questions about terrarium care? Ask us in the comments and share your stories. We’ll respond with answers as soon as possible! Happy terrarium gardening!
Fresh from the Blog
Whether you are new or old to growing succulents in a terrarium, knowing how to water succulents can be a bit trickier than one may think. There are a few things you need to take into consideration when watering your succulents, for example. If you are feeling a less than confident about your watering skills, we have some useful tips and information to get you on the right track.
How to Water Succulents
If you are serious about growing a gorgeous succulent terrarium, you need to know how to water succulents. Contrary to popular belief, succulents do need some water. While they can survive longer than other household plants with less water, they won’t grow as beautifully as you would hope. In order to keep your succulents happy and healthy, you need to create an appropriate watering schedule.
Succulents Watering Schedule
Knowing how to water succulents is only the first part of succulent watering care. Here are our 4 tips (plus a bonus) for creating the perfect succulent watering schedule:
1. Containers for Succulents
Succulents are happiest in containers with drainage holes, but can also survive in terrarium containers without holes. If you have a terrarium without drainage holes you need to lay a thick layer of stones at the bottom of the container to allow the water to drain away from your plant. You can get beautiful hydrostones that add to the aesthetics of your terrarium while remaining extremely functional. It is important that water isn’t left to pool at the bottom of your plant which will cause the roots to rot.
2. Best Soil for Succulents
Choosing the right soil for your plants is crucial to the survival of them. Succulents need well-draining soil. Regular potting soil is NOT the right choice for your succulents because of its density. You need to use a gritty soil to spread over your stones that will allow excess water to drain away from your plant. We have the perfect terrarium soil for your succulents should you be confused as to which soil to buy.
Depending on your location, you may need to water your succulents more or less frequently. As a general rule of thumb, if your plants are in the correct gritty soil mix and have adequate sunlight, you should water them every 3 to 4 days. If you live in a very dry climate, or perhaps a very humid climate, you will need to adjust how often you water your plants. If your plants are indoors or outdoors, and the amount of sunlight they get also makes a difference in your watering schedule. You have to experiment and see what works for you and your plants. What may work for some, may not work for others. Succulents most commonly die from being over watered rather than under watered, so take care to experiment with less water first.
4. Methods for Watering Succulents
Many people suggest using a spray bottle to water your succulents, which may be very misleading. If you live in a humid climate your plants will absorb moisture from the air, which means you need to get the soil wet so that the roots have water too. Spray bottles can be useful for very large terrariums and dry climates to give extra moisture, but a light spritz does not promote healthy root growth. Using a small watering can is the best method for your succulents as it aims the water directly where you want it to go and won’t leave water marks all over your clear terrarium. If you need some alternatives to a watering can, Bao Vo has some cool ideas for you. These are excellent ways to water smaller terrariums and hanging terrariums that are harder to reach.
TOP TIP FOR WATERING YOUR SUCCULENTS:
If you’re still wondering how to water succulents, here is an easy tip. The best way to water succulents is to soak the soil and allow the plants to soak up all that they need with excess water draining away from the roots. Allow your soil to dry out completely before watering again, this may depend on your location and container as mentioned above. If your terrarium has stones instead of drainage holes, try watering a little every day to avoid over watering. Remember that less is more when it comes to watering your succulents.
It can be difficult finding the right watering schedule for your succulents. But with the right knowledge on how to water succulents, your terrarium will be thriving in no time! Now that you know how to better care for your succulents, build a succulent terrarium of your own: https://www.46spruce.com/collections/terrariums
Caring for your Juicykits.com terrarium is pretty easy, so don’t screw this up! Succulents are very forgiving and that’s why we love them. But you can trust that we’ve killed our share of succulents when we were starting out, by either watering them too much or giving them too much sun. With experience, we learned that succulents don’t live at the same pace as we do – it takes over a week for them to get hungry whereas it takes us only a few hours. So try not to overcompensate when you notice your plants looking less than perfect.
Why are my succulents dying? Probably too much water. How often should I water my succulents? Whenever the soil gets completely dry – so it depends on where your succulents live. Read on! Succulents are desert plants, so they don’t need much water. In fact, they don’t like to sit in wet soil because their roots are sensitive to the bacteria that develop when there’s moisture. There are basically three things to remember about taking care of the succulents in your Juicykits.com terrarium: light, water, and death.
The Right Amount of Light
You already know that succulents need a lot of light, but how will you know how much light is enough? Your plants will tell you when they need more or less light.
Too little light: Plants will grow tall or they’ll bend in one direction in search of light. That’s called “stretching” or etiolation and it won’t hurt your plant, it just looks kind of funny. Too little light can also cause your plants to become pale and lose their color.
What to do: Move your plant to a brighter part of your space. If your succulents haven’t been in direct sunlight, avoid moving them into direct sun for long periods as they’ll burn. Direct sunlight takes a little “training” by giving the plants more and more light each day so they get used to it. Start with an hour or two each day, then leave them for an hour longer the next day. If you live in a part of the world that is dark often, try giving your plant artificial light with some Grow Lights, but remember to keep the light source no more than 12 inches from the plants.
Too much light: Yes, it’s possible to give your succulents too much light, especially when they’re babies. Most smaller succulents will burn if you leave them in hot, direct sunlight for a long time. The leaves get spotty burn marks or they’ll start to dry out from the outside inward. Sometimes the glass from your terrarium can also refract sunlight, magnifying it into an intensely hot beam. So avoid direct sun!
What to do: If some of the leaves on your succulents burn, don’t fret! They’ll grow more leaves and the old ones will die. Just move your terrarium away from the too-bright area. Don’t give it a bunch of water, that’s a common mistake. You can also try to put a piece of thin fabric, plastic grocery bag, or a paper towel over your terrarium during the really sunny part of the day, but make sure there’s plenty of air flow.
Grow Light Basics: Artificial Lighting for Succulents & Cacti >
Check out our grow light products >
The Right Amount of Water
The “perfect” amount of water is a pretty flexible concept for succulents, but we like to say “more water, less often.” The general rule is to thoroughly water the soil, then wait for the soil to completely dry out before watering again. This is because the soil or cactus mix that succulents love drains very quickly. If you dump water into one concentrated spot, it just drains to the bottom without spreading to the rest of your terrarium. This is no good because terrariums, by definition, don’t have an opening for water to drain. For this reason, we recommend watering your succulent terrarium with a low flow of water over a large surface area. You can use a liquor pouring spout like the one that comes as part of our Terrarium Tool Kit to control the flow of water. You can also use one of the DIY watering hacks from our article “3 DIY Tips for Watering Succulents & Terrariums” to make sure you distribute the water over a wide area without getting water spots. Remember, don’t overwater and don’t water too often! You have to keep in mind that changes don’t happen overnight like they do in some house plants. Here’s how to recognize when your plants are trying to tell you something.
What to do: Stay calm. LOL. Don’t give it a ton of water just yet. Dry succulents aren’t so bad as they were made to withstand long periods without water, being desert plants. If your succulents live in a terrarium without any drainage, please be careful about how much water you give your plants. Use one of your low-flow watering spout or one of the methods methods above to water until the soil is moist all over – be patient and go slow so that water doesn’t immediately drain to the bottom. Keep an eye on the plants over the next week and you’ll see them plump up again. Don’t dump a ton of water into your succulents at once, they’ll rot and die. If your succulent lives in a container with a drainage hole, you can water it with a lot of water or even soak the entire pot/planter in water for 5-10 minutes. Then make sure you let the pot or planter drain out afterward.
Too much water: This is the most common mistake that people make with their succulents. When your plants get too much water, the bottom leaves start to die or rot. When they rot, the leaves get all squishy and gross. We don’t like that. Don’t let your plants die a soggy death. Also, “dry” succulent terrariums are not meant to be completely closed, like this insane 53-year-old “wet” terrarium – succulents need to stay pretty dry. Imagine plants in the desert: they are dry most of the time, but enjoy a light mist of water at night and the very occasional rainstorm.
What to do: Just chill. In most cases, just let your terrarium sit without a watering until you see the soil become completely dry. You can tell if the soil is dry when the color gets light and dusty. You can also stick a finger, toothpick, or moisture meter into the soil and test the moisture level, like baking cupcakes. If you’ve already put way too much water into your terrarium and the dirt is soggy or you see water fill up the bottom of the vessel, then you might want to try more desperate measures. Make a trip to the local pharmacy or computer store and buy a large syringe with a long needle, like the ones used to refill ink cartridges. Stick the syringe into the bottom of your vessel and suck out as much water as possible. Now leave your terrarium in a bright place with good air flow, but not in direct sun, and let it dry out. Then start watering your plants again once things have dried – it’s normal that some parts of the plants die, it doesn’t mean the entire plant is dead. They’ll come back with love and time.
3 DIY Tips for Watering Succulents & Terrariums >
Let’s Talk About Death
Get Rid of the Dead Stuff: It’s totally natural for parts of your succulents to die. Some leaves, especially near the bottom will die sometimes as new ones grow from the top. It’s important that you try to remove the dead pieces so they don’t sit around and cause bacteria or rot near the roots. Long tweezers come in handy for this and you can get a really nice pair of tweezers as part of our Terrarium Tool Kit.
A whole plant dies: If an entire plant dies, don’t cry, dry your eye. Be sure you pull that dead plant out promptly. Afterward, you can get replacement plants from our Succulent Threesome or Succulent Six Pack or get single ones at your local garden center. It happens sometimes, don’t be sad. You may also have pests if you see little white fuzzy dots form on your plants. We have a whole post about how to deal with pests called “Pests in Your Succulents? Here’s What You Need to Know.”
All the plants look weak and flimsy: After several months, if you notice your plants looking flimsy and thin, it’s probably because they need more light or more food. Because they’re planted within such a small space, terrarium succulents may use up the nutrients in the soil. We recommend giving them a mild plant food like our Juicykits Plant Food to replenish the soil with goodies. Our plant food formula is gentle on the roots of these small plants, unlike heavy-duty stuff like Miracle Gro, which is made for house and garden plants that need a lot more food and water, as it could cause chemical burns to your succulents’ roots. Feed your plants once a month most of the year and once every two weeks in the summer time, when they’re growing like crazy. Remember this: When you feed your succulents and cacti with plant food, they’ll want to grow faster. And if they have little sunlight, they will grow faster upwards in search of light. If they’re getting plenty of sun from a bright window most of the day, they will remain short and chubby. Our preference is to give plants less food and more sun. This also brings out the color in the leaves – more about that in this post about artificial lighting for succulents.
Other helpful articles on Juicykits.com:
How to Assemble a Juicykits.com Terrarium Kit
3 Tips for Watering Succulents & Terrariums
Pests in Your Succulents? Here’s What You Need to Know
Grow Light Basics: Artificial Lighting for Succulents & Cacti
How To Repot A Succulent In 1 Minute
The Basics of Succulent Bonsai
How to Care for Air Plants
Hopefully this helps you understand how to look after your succulents. If you gave a Juicykits.com terrarium kit to someone as a gift, make sure you send them this article to help them keep their juicies happy. Share the article using the social media links below. Ready to make your own succulent terrarium? Check out our shop for DIY Terrarium Kits.
~ Juicy Team
Succulent Garden Bowl
Now that spring has finally arrived, I have this almost-compulsive desire to start planting and playing in the dirt Because there’s still a chance of frost around these parts until June, I have to pace myself. But how? The answer: create another indoor garden.
When I was in California a few weeks ago, I came across these gorgeous succulent bowls at one of the area shopping centers. I wanted to buy one on the spot, but figured I’d have trouble bringing it home. I didn’t want to be “the guy that held up the security line trying to smuggle a succulent garden to Pennsylvania.” Instead, I snapped a picture with my phone and decided I could DIY one when I returned home. And that’s exactly what I did.
Recreating this little bowl garden was sort of a surreal experience for me because it brought back such wonderful memories of my trip to California. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to visit the West Coast. Who would have thought that, because of this crazy and magical blogging career, that I’d be able to achieve so many dreams?! This little bowl garden is not just about growing plants, it’s about growing so much more than that. My friends at Miracle-Gro couldn’t agree more. Recently, they launched their Gro Something Greater campaign and want to hear from you about the great things that you are growing and why you love to garden. Share your ideas with them with #GroSomethingGreater on Facebook and Twitter.
But before you head off to do that, let me show you how I made this Succulent Garden Bowl.
This is probably one of the coolest gardening projectsI’ve ever put together. Don’t you think?
Here’s what you will need:
large glass bowl (This is where I got mine.)
succulents and cacti
Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Soil
(Stones, succulents, and cacti are from Wal-mart. Both mosses were purchased on Amazon.)
Start by placing a layer of small stones in the bottom of your dish; then add a layer of sphagnum moss. The moss will help prevent the soil from falling in-between the stones.
Once the sphagnum moss is in place, add a layer of soil. You’ll want this to be about 1 – 2 inches from the top of your bowl.
Then, you’ll start filling in your succulents and cacti. Keep your plants close together. That’s one of the reasons this garden looks so interesting. I just tucked my plants about 1/2 inch into the existing layer of soil and then added more soil as I added plants.
Once all of your plants are in and the roots are covered with soil, add a final layer of reindeer moss.
After that, your garden is complete!
With succulents and cacti, I water sporadically and keep the soil relatively dry. Other than that, your garden just needs lots of sunlight.
I ended up making two different sizes and I’m so pleased with how they both turned out.
This was the perfect little project to help satisfy my gardening itch until I can get outside and really start planting. How about you? Are you ready to get your hands in the soil?
Prepare for your home and garden for spring with HGTV. Check out Miracle-Gro for all your gardening inspiration needs including planting, potting, harvesting and growing. Share the reasons why you garden with Miracle-Gro, and your story could be featured.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Scott’s Miracle Go. The opinions and text are all mine.
I went to visit my aunt’s place and saw that she had kept a succulent in a glass bowl. To my curiosity, I asked her about it and came across some conventional methods on how to care for Succulents in a Glass Bowl. I also then researched and tried them. To my surprise, they really work.
So How to care for Succulents in a Glass Bowl? To bring life and greenery indoors through succulent terrariums or glass bowls, you need to follow one prime rule of avoiding overwatering. Glass bowls do not have a drainage outlet, thus watering the plant could be a little tricky. Believe me, effective care for succulents is a must, especially when they are put in a glass bowl. What excites me to have them is their ability to retain water for a long time which thrives them to survive in warm and dry climates too.
For a succulent admirer, it is important to know that your plant is easy to care, it has long-lasting durability and portability. But now the question arises is that how to take care of it when its kept indoors and in a pot which cannot drain excess water itself. Let me answer it for you.
Table of Contents
Advanced care tips for succulents
Succulents kept in glass bowls are the eye-catching elements, circulating positive vibes in the atmosphere. The ones kept in glass bowls are more common and in trend. These are the low maintenance plants. If you go for long vacay they can easily survive for weeks. But neglect of their health may result in the loss of their life. To retain them to a healthy life, feasible care is required.
Since it appears that succulent craze is here to stay and grow, I am putting some valuable care tips
and information to help you cultivate your own succulent sanctuary.
- If you aspire in having in-house succulent then, make sure it is placed in an indirect sunlight area which helps in keeping it nourished.
- For indoor kept succulents, you may sometimes need to deal with the problems of bugs and gnats. To get rid of these annoying bugs spray rubbing alcohol in the glass bowl as per the need.
- Leaves of succulent play a vital role in its mechanism. Care is required for leaves too. In the case of succulents, the fallen leaves can be propagated. Propagating is fun and its amusing to see the tiny new plants growing. I have explained how to propagate later in this article.
- Succulents are used to extreme temperatures. Research reveals that the majority of these plants survive in
temperature ranging from 40–95º F. Depending on the temperature, water the succulent accordingly.
- Specifically, if you wish to grow your succulent in a glass bowl then clean it under the tap and wait for the water to drain. Do not allow any space for water to remain in the bowl.
- Drip water on the leaves when they are kept in a glass bowl. As this does not damp the terrarium soil.
- If you are wondering how to know when my succulent needs to get watered; then there’s a tested tip that I want to share. So, once you are done with setting up the terrarium and watering it, lift it up to observe the weight. Now after a few days, you need to make a comparison in the weight of the planter. If it is significantly lighter, your plant is indicating its thirst. Finally, you get to know it’s time to water!
Hence, the reason for the growing popularity of succulents is their easy care and their aesthetic appeal. Their water intake is enough to be carried for a long period. Their growth is slow but they do not need to be pruned. For further knowledge, know-how does the mechanism of storing water in succulent works.
For the places having a scarcity of water, succulents are the best plantations. Succulents are the distinctive type of plant species. The key difference between others and succulent is their leaves. These desert plants have thick rubbery leaves which can store water for the future use of plants. This water content is not readily available in the soil thus, leaf of the plant plays an important role in its functioning. It stores and supplies water in conditions like scarcity and drought. Thus, keeping the charm of your garden alive even in conditions of no water supply. There soothing shades and colors put glamouring effect, wherever kept. Just a glance to it fosters positivity in us.
To add up in your knowledge, I am providing you with the tip to make a judicious decision while selecting for better succulent. Their size, style, color, natural climate, and most importantly care needs are the vital parameters, guiding your decision. These beautiful plants are available in wide variations of colors and shapes. These deserted plants are a big household name today. No doubt the versatility and ability of these durable desert dwellers make them a great houseplant.
Read also: Are Succulents Good For Bedroom?
How to make a succulent terrarium with sand?
You can create an actual succulent terrarium with sand, or create an optical illusion to these attractive succulent bowls. You can actually use a small container that holds the plant within the cactus soil which is, and cover it up with beautifying elements like colorful multilayered sand and stones. The trickiest part is that there is a smaller pot or container inside the larger glass pot. The smaller pot protects the plant, so it’s just the plant and the soil that is watered and not the decoration made around it.
However, if you wish to grow a succulent terrarium with sand, follow the process:
- Choose an open glass vessel for the moisture to escape that gets created after watering your succulent.
- Choose materials and decoration for the terrarium carefully. Use well-drained soil that’s neither too damp nor too dry. You can easily find these in garden centers or nurseries. Use fine sand that’s suitable for the terrarium, pebbles that are small in size, river rocks and preserved reindeer moss to decorate. You can also use a chopstick to decorate.
- Properly wash the glass bowl and thoroughly and let it dry completely. Then start placing sand at the bottom. You can also use colorful sand to create a mesmerizing design of your planter. Then place drainage rocks or pebbles over the sand layered. You can then place the soil over it. Make sure the quality of the soil is not compromised. Then plant the variety of succulent you wish to use. I prefer planting two-three varieties together, to enhance the look of the terrarium. Once you have planted the roots, top it with another layer of pebbles over it.
- Use chopsticks, crystals, moss to decorate as per your choice.
The best answer on how to care for succulents in a glass bowl would always be appropriate watering. The pebbles and the river rocks actually drain out the excess water to the bottom. Sand is a good absorbent of water. Since the planter is of glass the water doesn’t drain out but gets converted into vapors. Keeps the plant healthy for long. You just have to make sure you do not overwater it. You can lift the planter and observe a significant weight change before watering it again.
Succulent arrangements in glass bowls
The idea of keeping succulents indoor, at my aunt’s house fascinated me. The arrangement of succulent in a transparent glass bowl captivated my attention and put me into the wonder of how it beautifies the glance. I then decided to study in detail on arrangements of succulents in glass bowls.
You can use a fishbowl to create your own terrarium. As far as arrangements and planting are concerned, you can follow this or experiment your own compositions. Succulents are very friendly in nature and thus easily grow with a variety of them. You can use centerpiece as a single rosette or clusters and other two or three categories of filler succulents that can cover the space in your bowl.
You can buy more succulents than you think you will need as they look even prettier when squeezed and planted together. Use stacked crassulas, tricolor stonecrop and haworthia together to get a lush green look for your terrarium. I used paddle plant, stacked crassulas, rosette clusters and stressed stonecrop. This was a colorful arrangement and looked gorgeous with sand and rock marbles at the bottom.
Succulents come with an advantage of aesthetic beauty. They blend really well with each other and are well suited for indoor decors and centerpieces. The container can be chosen in different sizes and shapes. This decides the arrangement or composition of the succulents for your terrarium. Be it a bowl or a glass terrarium, do not forget to water sporadically, so that the soil is relatively dry.
While you deal with the succulent arrangement in a glass bowl you can group plants as per their water needs. The topmost succulents that are prone to rot are cacti, they rarely need watering. Finer leaves succulents need a little more water, so you can club them together. If you are propagating from your existing succulent studio, keep
the following points in mind:
- Do the cutting of a leaf from the mother stem of the succulent. Set it to dry for 2 days unless it gets callused.
- Keep the selected leaves of different succulents on the well-drained soil in the terrarium.
- Sprinkle water twice a week for three weeks.
- And Yay!! The roots are visible.
- You can then plant them in the glass bowl or the planter from the base of the leaf (where it was cut from the stem).
If you want to start afresh then you can follow these steps:
- Take the succulents out of the nursery pots.
- Break up the roots, that help the plant to regrow itself. You can also pawn off the extra soil.
- Remove spent leaves from the plant and then place the plant in the prepared terrarium.
- Be observant when it comes to the soil level of the succulent and then compare it with the height of the bowl’s edge.
- Make sure it’s half an inch below the edge of the bowl. This creates room for the succulent to be watered.
- To maintain the level of soil, remove additional soil from the bottom of the pot and not the top. This disturbs the root of the plant.
- Use a small paintbrush to brush away any potting soil on the edge of the bowl. You may also use it to brush away the soil on succulents.
- Finish the look by dripping water on to the leaves of the succulent. This will give a clean and fresh appeal to your terrarium.
Growing plants in glass bowls
If you have a small budget and wish to have a beautiful garden in your spare time, then planting in a glass bowl sounds like a wonderful idea. It adds a style component to the garden and can double as an accessory in the house or a showpiece.
Greenery suits any kind of atmosphere or ambiance be it contemporary or the modern look of any house or building.
The pot can be of any size that is available to you and plantation can be done as per your budget. You could create one using any of your old jars in your attic which are not in use anymore. Even old glass bottles or some round old lamp covers could be turned into stunning plantations. You could even get some good deals at garage sales.
Plantation could be either in a closed environment (in a bowl with a lid ) or in an open one (without a lid). The open one would require more watering than the closed one as the water will comparatively dry out faster. So you can make your choice as per your convenience for watering the plants. This choice also depends upon the kind of plant that is being planted as every plant needs a different environment, some need dry soil and some need moist one to flourish.
Light and humidity also play an important factor in it. Plants which are short in height and slow-growing need less of light.
Plantation in terrarium comes with a lot of benefits. Following are some advantages of plantations in a glass bowl
- They consume less space and thus are a big boon for those living in small houses and flats that do not have a space for a garden but wish to be close to nature and bring in some greenery into their house.
- The level of humidity in closed glass bowls is high thus you could grow plants that may not be otherwise be grown in low humidity levels.
- They are stress relievers and create a nice ambiance in the house and give peace of mind.
- They are a little ecosystem in their own and are fun planting activity for kids as well as adults.
- Most importantly they need less maintenance and watering, so they are a very good option for those with a tight day schedule.
One of the issue with glass bowl plantation is to keep it at a safe place so that it doesn’t fall and break. Glass is delicate so it needs to be handled with love and care. Another issue is that a glass bowl does not have a drainage system. So the waterlogged soil may happen to hamper the growth of the plant. It could even let it die. So watering needs a little more attention.
All in all, planting succulents and taking care of them is comparatively easier than other plants. It is a low-maintenance task. You get to choose amongst a variety of succulents that come in many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors.
But most importantly they seek less water and also the basic care methods on most varieties are the same. You can create your own terrarium now to decorate your space or you can gift it to a loved one. No wonder why people gift plants to patients.
Plants and especially succulents are the amazing options for gifts. This can bring in beauty and positivity to you. The overall aesthetics of the home or the office can be increased with these self-contained, small scale ecosystems.
Succulents beautifully placed in a transparent glass bowl are the alluring vision; they restore freshness and liveliness in the viewer. To retain the charm of your house with these homo-friendly succulents, try to take their proper care. Neglect in their care may result in the loss of their life.
With this guide, you now have all the essential information needed on how to care for your succulents in a glass bowl. I suggest you follow the simple steps and make a customized refreshing patio planter for yourself. Do not forget, to water only when it’s dry. A little overcare could spoil the entire hard work you did to set this up.
Read also: Choosing Hanging Basket Plants For Each Season
Did you find this post useful? Would you like to get back to it later? Save THIS PIN below to your succulents, cacti or house plant board on Pinterest! Thanks 🙂
DON’T Make a Succulent Terrarium. Here’s Why.
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Terrariums create the worst possible environment for succulents to grow and thrive. If your goal is to have happy and healthy plants, you need to keep them in an appropriate container.
This post is going to draw some ire since it conflicts with contemporary interior design principles. And by “contemporary interior design principles”, I mean Pinterest-flavored minimalism.
Don’t get me wrong – they look great. There’s nothing cooler than having a little ecosystem in your living room. A slice of the austere beauty of the desert is certainly desirable, but succulent terraria (the plural of terrarium) aren’t a sustainable solution. Succulents in a terrarium will eventually die unless they’re given the most meticulous care – even then, they’ll be hanging on by a thread.
These problems are present in both kinds of terraria – both completely sealed and partially open ones. Being in a sealed terrarium exacerbates most of these issues. Only some of these problems are relevant to “dish gardens”.
Table of Contents
5 Reasons NOT to Make a Succulent Terrarium
This is the obvious objection to keeping succulents in a terrarium. A terrarium is defined as a “sealed, transparent container” so, by definition, there won’t be drainage.
The kicker is that everybody already knows succulents need good drainage. Duh! That’s why you put all those layers of colorful sand or gravel at the bottom of the container!
Noooooooo. No no no. This is one of the most pervasive and damaging garden myths of all time. Gravel doesn’t create drainage. Nothing can create drainage other than an actual drain. Just think about it for a second – if all the water drains into the gravel layer, where does it go?
Nowhere. It stays there until that “drainage layer” fills up and soaks the soil above it. Oh, it evaporates? As in, the water turns into water vapor which rises… oh yeah, right back into the soil above it so it can condense into liquid again. Nice.
There’s no substitute for drainage, unfortunately. I hear you say “Well my X survives without drainage!” I’m happy for you. That’s a testament to the hardiness of succulents, not your potting decisions. It would be happier and healthier in a pot with drainage 100% of the time.
Anyway, it’s possible that some terrariums have a removable bottom like a cork or plug or something. If you find one – go for it. Fixing just this problem will drastically increase the viability of your succulent terrarium.
On charcoal: many guides recommend putting a layer of activated charcoal at the bottom to promote drainage. The charcoal is useful, even if they’re attributing its usefulness to the wrong place. While it won’t create drainage, it does help repress potentially harmful fungi and bacteria.
2. Terraria promote humidity.
The thing about sealed containers is that nothing gets in or out of them. Succulents love their water, but they really want it to leave when they’ve had their fill.
Wet soil is obviously bad, but so is wet air. Terraria are inherently humid because of the greenhouse effect. That’s intentional by the way – they were invented for the purpose of transporting jungle plants which require a humid environment.
To be fair, water in the air isn’t directly harmful to succulents. It’s indirectly bad because it encourages mold, mildew, and other fungi to grow. Some of those aren’t harmful to succulents, but others prey on the roots of plants.
Furthermore, humidity slows the rate of evaporation. The air is already full of water, so it takes more energy for water to move into that area of high concentration. This means that soil will stay wet longer, putting your plants in danger of root rot.
Having a partially open terrarium alleviates this somewhat, but humidity is definitely still present.
3. There’s no airflow in a terrarium.
Airflow is definitely related to humidity issues, but it warrants its own bullet because of another, hidden, problem.
It can superheat the air.
Have you ever gotten into your car on a hot summer day and just wilted? Of course you have. Have you ever noticed that large greenhouses almost always have clouded glass instead of being totally transparent? Yup.
The greenhouse effect is real. There’s practically no limit on how real it can get either. The air inside will continue to heat up and it is tempered only by how fast it can leach heat into the surroundings. In a totally sealed glass terrarium, that’s not very fast at all.
Yup, you can burn your succulents to death by keeping them in an environment that is too hot or too arid. Yet, succulents require that full sunlight. Ironic, I know. The actual reason for death is usually that it causes the roots to dry out and die.
The more partially-open your terrarium is, the less of a problem it is.
4. Terraria are too small for succulent growth.
This is true both above ground and below ground.
As a general rule, succulents can get pretty big. Many genera (plural of genus) are shrubby or even tree-sized at full growth. Granted, it takes a long time to get there – often decades.
However, small succulents tend to grow quickly! Who hasn’t seen Kalanchoe infest a pot or a Jade Plant double in size in a few weeks? A terrarium will quickly become crowded and demand a lot of maintenance in the form of pruning.
You’re right – ultimately, pruning and crowding isn’t a huge deal for most succulents. What IS important is the crowding of their roots.
Most terraria aren’t very big at all. The amount that is dedicated to the soil is even smaller. This makes it particularly rough for succulents and cacti which are known to grow extensive root systems. After all, they’re trying to gather every drop of water they can.
Succulent roots tend deep and wide – both are adaptations to maximize the amount of water they get. A terrarium may be deep or wide, but rarely both (and often neither). Stunted growth isn’t the worst thing, but the problem compounds when you have more plants.
Which brings me to…
5. Mixed-composition containers are iffy.
I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of this one too. Succulent arrangements are fun and easy to make and they look great.
The issue is that there can be a fair bit of competition between succulents. Like all problems seem to be, the issues are exaggerated in a terrarium. Because of the intrinsic crowding and the limited resources, competition gets fierce.
It probably won’t start out this way, but a common problem for all terraria (even non-succulent ones) is light competition. Inevitably, the fastest growing plant will grow above every other plant and plaster its leaves to the walls of the terrarium in an effort to hog all of the light.
Succulents, being gentle, sun-loving souls, won’t put up too much of a fight. After all, they need so much light in the first place that even missing a little bit severely handicaps them. The succulents will slowly succumb. Succu-cumb, if you will.
If that sounds bad, know that the competition is even more cutthroat under the surface. While it’s true that plants of the same parentage, same species, or sometimes closely related species will avoid root competition, that is emphatically not true for most plants.
In fact, it’s kinda crazy how serious things get down in the root zone. That’s where most plant fighting takes place. Some plants even produce chemicals that intentionally inhibit the growth of other plants (called allelopathic compounds, and the Mother of Thousands is one such offender).
Succulent Terrarium Alternatives
All that said, yes, it is possible to have a succulent terrarium with living succulents. It’s just not ideal – for you or the plants.
Here are some alternatives you might enjoy instead:
- Learn how to make a fairy garden. You get the same “tiny world” vibe as a terrarium, but you can do it anywhere. Broken pots are a favorite.
- Make a terrarium with tropical plants. Or make a jarrarium – an aquatic terrarium. They can even be self-sustaining if you set it up well!
If you’ve gotta make a terrarium, or put a succulent in a container without drainage, do yourself and follow this guide. It gives you some techniques to mitigate damage and help increase the longevity of your succulents.
How to Make a Terrarium
Follow These Steps
- Start with a medium-sized, clear glass open-top container. You can use anything that strikes your fancy—a vase, a cleaned-out pasta jar, a fish bowl, or a special terrarium bowl.
- Fill the bottom of the vessel with a 1 1/2-inch layer of small rocks to collect the water drainage.
- Add a layer of potting soil made for succulents and cacti. It should be deep enough for the plants to root to, about 2 1/2 inches.
- Remove the largest plant from its container and dust excess soil off the roots. Using the end of a spoon, make a hole in the soil big enough for the roots and nestle the plant inside, tamping the soil down firmly to hold it in place. Plan for approximately 1 plant per inch of container diameter.
Tip: Use a paper towel to transplant prickly cacti to avoid pricking your fingers.
- Continue planting the rest of the succulents, working from largest to smallest. It’s easiest to start at the back of the container and work your way forward.
Tip: Play around with the arrangement—mixing up the types of plants, colors, and sizes to make it more visually pleasing.
- Once the plants are arranged, add about a 1/4-inch layer of white sand around the plants.
- Finish with some landscaping. Place a few additional pebbles here and there to complete the look.
Tip: Succulents like direct sunlight every day. Lightly water the base every two weeks or once the soil dries out.
We love terrariums. They’re like little universes that you can curate and style to your green thumb’s content. After all the work and love that goes into planning, planting, decorating, and admiring a terrarium, nothing feels worse than to have one fail on you.
As those of us who just don’t get great sun in their homes might already know, lack of light is the primary reason that your terrarium plants might croak (next to overwatering, of course). But don’t give up just yet! There are plenty of low light tolerant plants out there–even succulents!–that work wonders in terrariums.
Our Top Ten Low Light Terrarium Plants
Succulents and Cacti:
- Rhipsalis species
Sometimes called “mistletoe cactus,” we love this genus of epiphytic jungle cacti for it’s bright green branches unique structure. Plus there are hundreds of varieties, all of which are well suited for low-medium light.
- Hatiora salicornioides “Drunkard’s bones”
Think of Drunkard’s bones as Rhipsalis’ woodier cousin. More upright growing, we love this plant because in addition to being easy to care for, it creates an uncannily underwater vibe in a terrarium.
- Haworthia species
Our ultimate go-to succulent for low light terrariums, planters and just about everything else, members of the haworthia genus are sometimes striped with white, sometimes jewel-like, and always beautiful and just as hardy. We use a haworthia in just about every low light terrarium we make!
- Gasteria species
A haworthia and aloe relative, gasteria are smoother and less geometric than some other succulents, but easy to care for and producing lots of baby offshoot plants.
- Philodendron species
The quintessential “beginner” houseplant, philodendron (especially darker-leafed, non-variegated varieties) thrive in a tropical terrarium. Given their vining habit, they fare particularly well in hanging vessels.
- Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’
Want variegation? Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’ (and more common golden pothos) have you covered. This plant is nearly indestructible and makes a great low light terrarium plant.
- Fittonia ‘Nerve plant’
Because it’s highly sensitive to drying out, fittonia makes a perfect low light terrarium plant. We love it because it’s starkly patterned leaves provide color and contrast – it makes a great accent plant – just don’t forget to keep it wet.
Sansevieria ‘Snake plant’ (compact varieties)
The ultimate low-maintenance plant, straddling the line between succulent and tropical, sansevieria, especially smaller, more compact species, thrive in a low light terrarium with little care. This plant is a perfect choice for someone who needs low light terrarium plants but doesn’t want to have to remember to water very often!
Sometimes called ‘Earth stars,’ we love cryptanthus because, with their shallow roots, they fit just about anywhere. Plus, they often have deep pink, red and green colors, all on the same plant! A beautiful accent for your low light terrarium.
Hemionitus arifolia / Heart Fern
Though many people swear by ferns as the best low light terrarium plants, we’ve found that the Heart Fern fares the best of them all. Beautifully shaped and slow growing, this bright green beauty makes a fabulous choice for a low light terrarium.
What are your favorite low light terrarium plants? Join the conversation on facebook!
Succulent terrariums are easy to make
Instructions on how to make a Succulent Terrarium. Includes tips on plants, materials, and a video to show how to plant your terrarium at the end
I first spotted The Bees Knees succulent terrariums hanging in the window of a local shop. Multi-textured green leaves spilled out of tear-drop glasses dangling in the sunshine – how lush and beautiful they were! I eventually met the creator, Ashley Bentley, and spoke to her about her pieces of living artwork and what inspires her to make them.
Ashley has been kind enough to share how she makes her succulent terrariums. It’s an easy-to-follow set of directions using succulent cuttings, cactus compost, glass terrarium and a few other materials and tools.
Learn by doing
Ashley first spotted succulent terrariums over a year ago on Pinterest and decided to try making them for herself. The main reason she tried in the first place is that ready-made terrariums she found online seemed so expensive. Since then she’s made dozens for herself and even more for others.
Though she doesn’t consider herself a Green Thumb she says that working with succulents is forgiving and that anyone can do it! Once made, they’re incredibly easy to take care of and will grow for years before needing to be replanted.
How to make a Succulent Terrarium
- Glass terrarium, or any glass container with openings
- Cactus potting mix
- Activated carbon/charcoal
- Sand – beach sand, building sand, Pink sand, Blue sand any non-toxic sand works!
- Assorted Succulents: Jade plant, Hen & Chicks, Alpines
- Long tweezers – for helping place the succulents
- Spoon – for scooping and patting the potting mix, sand, charcoal
- Paint brush – for gently brushing the succulents of any excess dirt
- Spray bottle filled with water
Collecting your Materials
Most of the items you need for this tutorial can be found in many homes and gardens. Instead of the purpose-made glass terrarium you could use a mason jar or empty food jar. It just needs to be clear and with an opening for ventilation. The sand can be taken from a nearby beach, the tweezers and spoon from the bathroom and kitchen, the paint brush from your art supplies, and the succulents from planters outside. If you have an aquarium you might even have the activated charcoal since it will be used in the water filtration system!
Succulents are tough plants that require very little in the way of soil, soil nutrients, or even much water in the winter months. If you spot some growing in a park or other public place you could even be a bit cheeky and nip off a few pieces to take home. They root very easily and the small amounts you take won’t hurt the parent plant. For this project, Ashley used garden centre succulents and wild Alpines she found growing on the stone wall outside her home.
Step 1: Gather your Assorted Succulents
Take about ten to twelve small cuttings of succulents. You’ll want a few that can trail over the edge of your container, a few that can be larger focal points, and others for varying colour and texture. You might think that many succulents will outgrow your terrarium but because of the limited soil they shouldn’t get too large, especially if you trim them as they grow.
Once you have your cuttings, allow them to sit in a cool place out of direct sunlight for a few days. This will allow the broken ends to callus over which is a required step if you want the succulent to form roots. After these few days, you can proceed to step two.
Step 2: Layer the Sand and Charcoal
In the bottom of your glass container, layer about half an inch of sand, pushing it up in the back to form a hill. Over the sand, sprinkle a very fine layer of the charcoal. The sand creates drainage for excess water and the charcoal ensures that mold, moss, and any uninvited micro-organisms do not grow and take over the planter.
Step 3: Layer the Cactus potting mix
I’ve listed this step separately in case you’d like to make your own mix. Cactus potting mix can be purchased online or from a garden centre but it’s possible to create it at home too if you have the materials at hand. It’s a mix of 50% washed cocopeat, 20% 5mm Coco Husk Chips, 20% Perlite, and 10% Horticultural Grit.
Layer about half an inch of this potting mix on top of the sand and charcoal and make sure to mound it up at the back like you did the sand. Spray the potting mix a few times with the spray bottle you filled with ordinary tap water and you’re ready for step four.
Step 4: Plant your Succulent Cuttings
Now is the creative part! Place your cuttings into the potting mix and arrange them so that the composition suits you. Ashley recommends putting taller pieces into the back and pushing them in with the end of a spoon or paintbrush so that the end with the callus is well covered. Next, put any large pieces inside and push them in. It helps to put the trailing pieces in before any of the foreground succulents since it might be difficult to get them in otherwise.
Once all your succulents are in you’re finished! The cuttings may take a few weeks to develop roots so try to keep the terrarium in a bright area where they can form without disturbance. For aftercare, the succulents will generally only need to be sprayed with water once a week or so. Each time you water them, ensure the potting mix is damp but not soaking and allow it to dry almost completely before watering again. For more succulents care, visit .
You might also find that over time, the succulents may become a bit leggy since they’ll be trying to find more space to grow. Just cut these leggy pieces off and re-pot them outside or in new terrariums!
The Bee’s Knees
Ashley retails her bespoke terrariums at very reasonable rates through her Facebook page. If you’re outside the UK or Isle of Man or would just like to try making your own, she’s been gracious enough to show us how to make them.
Tap into your gardening skills with these DIY plant and terrarium projects! We’ve shared several ideas for hanging plants and air plants, how to hang glass containers and fun ways to display your greens. Air plants and succulents have become so popular this past year and are a great item to add to your crafting or creative program. Plan a themed activity for your group related to planting, especially during the Spring season!
Air Plants & Succulents
We have 4 different options for faux succulents. Each is a unique design and perfect for hanging pots, terrariums, home decor and natural crafts. These come in packs of 10 or 12 and some include various colors, like orange or purple.
- Flocked Faux Echeveria
- Faux Echeveria Desert Rose
- Faux Yucca
- Faux Aloe
Create an air plant wreath using our new natural colored jute rope wreaths, an assortment of faux succulents, a paint stick, and some wooden letters. Use a hot glue gun to apply the decorations, then add jute string to match and hang it on display.
Create an air garden that you can hang near a window or place on a bookshelf to add color to any room! Use these plastic containers and add the faux succulents or real air plants to display inside. You can use glitter or sand to hold the plant, and add shells or rocks to complete the look. View our blog on How to Create an Indoor Sand Garden for fun ways to layer sand!
Your group can decorate their own ceramic bisque planter, then show off a favorite air plant, succulent, or small plant! We recommend using acrylic paint to color the planter. Have fun mixing colors and create a two-tone look. You can also create designs or add lettering. The planter is glazed on the inside to hold water. You can also “stitch” cord and beads through holes or create a hanging planter by threading cord through four holes. The pack comes with 12 planters measuring 4 inches. A great project for summer camp!
Our new plastic domes allow you to make a mini decorative scene or terrarium – you cna place so many different items inside, like plants, candles, and shell. You can also tailor these to any theme you are planning for your program. Add superhero props for a Superhero Theme or red, white and blue objects for a USA theme.
The acrylic dome comes with a screw-on base. You can even swirl paint inside, add glue and glitter, and even decorate the outside with bows or feathers. You can hang them up with jute, or keep them on a table. This photo below was submitted by a customer who used the domes for their holiday centerpieces.
We are excited for this new addition to our potted plant collection – a hanging terra cotta pot! Your group can decorate their hanging pots with paint, markers, and craft trims. Then add a succulent or air plant to display. There is a hole at the bottom for drainage. The pack of 12 also includes the jute to hang each pot. Another great project for summer camp or recreational program during the warmer months!
These open glass containers are perfect for fitting in a macramé or woven hanger to hold succulents or other faux and live plants. Make a terrarium style garden with sand as the base. Set up an area at your station with the containers, colorful sand, faux succulents or live plants, and jute for the hanger. You can also include other items like tea lights, votives, driftwood, and glitter. Each member of your group can make their own personalized terrarium.
It’s also a perfect option if you are looking for something for your tabletop or windowsill, since they don’t have the hole at the top for hanging and look super classy!
If you are looking for a Spring craft for kids that makes a nice gift or keepsake and can also go along with a lesson plan, try these Color Me Flower Pots. This project is perfect for large groups- it comes with 48 pots! Kids can color them with our new multi-surface markers.
View our blog on how to incorporate an educational lesson with this type of craft activity.
An alternative to the glass container is these hanging glass jars. They come with a black metal hanger so it’s easy to hang up. Perfect for hanging arrangements, to hold votives and tea lights, or to hold a succulent or plant. You can use our multi-surface markers to draw on the glass too!
View our blog on 5 Creative Cactus Crafts & Art Projects!